Footballer Lee Grant with the Croce family
Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata and goalkeeper Lee Grant visited Francis House Children’s Hospice recently to give out Christmas presents.
The football players were visiting children in hospitals around Greater Manchester as well as the hospice.
Juan and Lee met with a group of children, their parents and siblings in the family lounge in Francis House and heard how the hospice supports them with respite care.
Jenny Croce’s five-year-old daughter Florence has a rare genetic disorder. Florence and her brother Ricardo received signed tee shirts and gifts. “It was really nice of the players to give their time at Christmas to come and meet us” Jenny said.
“As the sibling of a poorly child, Ricardo can sometimes get left out, so it was really nice that he had something fun that he could do today. Florence really took to Lee and went to give him a big hug which was lovely” she added.
The players then moved into Francis Lodge, the teenage and young adult wing at the hospice, where they were greeted by more than a dozen young people and hospice staff.
Among then was Josh Slack, who said: “It was lovely to meet the players, they made sure they chatted to everyone and Juan Mata was such a lovely guy.”
After his time at Francis House, Mata said: “I think it is important to give back at any time, but now it’s Christmas and obviously it’s a very important time for a lot of us and our families, so we are grateful to be able to help kids that are not able to have the happy Christmas that we normally have.”
Grant said: “It was an honour to meet the children and families and be part of sharing some time with them today.”
The visit is organised annually by the Manchester United Foundation, and is enjoyed by families and hospice staff alike.
For more information visit Francis House Children’s Hospice