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Players spread festive cheer across local hospitals

Manchester United’s men’s and women’s teams have honoured the annual tradition of supporting three local children’s hospitals across Greater Manchester.

| by Rebecca Mee

Unable to deliver gifts in person, Manchester United’s first team filmed video messages and packed gift bags, helping to spread festive joy to patients, staff and families at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Francis House Children’s Hospice and The Christie.


Thanking staff for their continued hard work and sending positive messages to help raise spirits, both teams also sent an array of United-themed presents including shirts, hats and teddies to delight young people facing a tough Christmas period.    


Club captain Harry Maguire said: “Supporting those in our local community is one of the most important things that we do as players and staff at Manchester United, especially around Christmas time. For us, sending well wishes and packing gifts for the hospitals, putting smiles on people’s faces is really important.”


Marcus Rashford added: “It’s obviously something that as a team we enjoy doing, supporting the children and the staff at the hospitals. To put a smile on young people’s faces and seeing them happy gives us a massive boost over Christmas.”


Manchester United Women, including head coach Marc Skinner, captain Katie Zelem and fellow team-mates such as Millie Turner and Alessia Russo, made a special visit to all three hospitals spending time at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Francis House Children’s Hospice and The Christie, signing autographs, posing for selfies and hand-delivering gifts.


Katie, whose mum was a former staff member at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, understood the importance of the visit.


“It’s been amazing for us to put a smile on the children’s faces; it’s something that we really look forward to every year, that we can come and spread our energy and love to the children who hopefully will be getting better soon,” said Katie.


“We know how big of a club Manchester United is, but at the heart of it is always the community.”


Spending time at Francis House in Didsbury, Ella Toone said: “It was nice to spend some time giving gifts to some fans. It was really moving; it’s nice to show our faces and hopefully make some of the families smile.”


Manchester United Foundation leads the Christmas visits each year on behalf of the club, delivering over 2,000 Manchester United items for staff and patients.  


This support coincides with Manchester United Foundation’s winter response campaign, which aims to support young people and families facing hardship over the coming months.


So far this year, over 2,400 items of adidas kit has been donated and distributed to Foundation participants and over 55,000 United-themed hats, gloves and scarves have been delivered to young people to support them through the winter months.