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Players Make Hospital and Hospice Visits
Wednesday, 20th Dec 2023 16:58

The Town squad have been taking part in their annual hospital and hospice visits this week, among them The Treehouse, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice’s base in Ipswich.

Skipper Sam Morsy, Christian Walton, Harry Clarke, Luke Woolfenden, Leif Davis and Dominic Ball were joined by Sophie Peskett and Kyra Robertson from the women’s team.

The players handed out presents, signed autographs, posed for photos and spent time chatting to children, young people and families receiving care and support at The Treehouse.

They also had the chance to get creative by taking part in a festive craft activity.

Twelve families were present, among them mum Hannah Gizatullin, who brought daughter Emmie, six, and son Adam, 15 (pictured below). Emmie has a rare disorder of bone growth called Kniest Dysplasia.

“It was a fantastic afternoon,” she said. “The players were so friendly and easy to talk to. They were genuinely interested in Emmie.

“They weren’t just going through the motions or doing it because they had to. They were doing it because they cared.”

Another mum, Jess Warburg, was equally impressed after bringing along her “unique little lady”, three-year-old daughter Cleo (pictured below).

After numerous tests, Cleo does not have a condition or diagnosis yet – despite not growing for 18 months. She needs a tracheostomy to breathe and feeds via a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube.

“It was wonderful to meet the players and for them to find out more about our children and the work EACH does,” she said.

“They were genuinely intrigued and had lots of time for everyone. It was lovely to watch them forming bonds with the kids.”

Ball, who also visited the hospice last year, believes taking time to engage with the community is an integral part of the players’ responsibilities.

He said: “Doing things like this are so important, especially at a community club like Ipswich.

“As footballers, we appreciate the position we’re in and having the opportunity to make a difference. It’s something we’re very grateful for and, to me, it’s the most important part of our job.

“It doesn’t cost us anything and it’s lovely being able to say hello, show our support and hopefully put smiles on faces. It’s also a privilege meeting some of the staff and spending time at The Treehouse.

“The work being done here to support families is incredible and we appreciate it very much.”

Defender Davis said it was an “honour” to spread some Christmas cheer: “I always enjoy doing things like this and jump at any opportunity to get out in the community, especially at this time of year.

“People tell us we’ve made their day but the truth is they’ve made ours, too. We’re very grateful for the opportunity and it’s an honour.”

EACH’s senior corporate fundraiser, Billie Nugent, said she was grateful to Town: “We had such a lovely afternoon and it was an absolute joy seeing all those smiling faces.

“The players were brilliant, had time for everyone and took a genuine interest in the families.

“We’re very thankful for our relationship with the club and the support we receive, and look forward to working together again in 2024.”

In addition to The Treehouse, members of the squad and staff have also visited St Elizabeth Hospice and Ipswich Hospital this week, while presents were also handed to participants in some of the Ipswich Town Foundation’s programmes.


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Miaow added 17:18 - Dec 20
So lovely to see.

Churchman added 18:08 - Dec 20
In St Elizabeth Hospice 20 odd days ago now, I put an ITFC hat next to one of my dad’s photos in case he saw it and a staff member and another patient mentioned that the players were due to visit. I also heard it talked about in the cafeteria area.

This sort of thing really does make a big difference. Well done Ipswich Town for doing this. My front room is a little dusty writing this.

midastouch added 19:33 - Dec 20
I feel humbled looking at those touching pictures. A huge well done to all concerned.

It's so nice to see some genuine joy and happiness being shared among those going through difficult times.

"Football is more than just a game. It can bring hope and joy to people's lives." - Didier Drogba

"Football is the only thing that can bring together an entire country, regardless of political or religious differences." - Zinedine Zidane

"I think football is more than a game; it is a passion. It is something that comes from inside and touches people's hearts." - Yaya Touré

"Football is a universal language. It brings people together, irrespective of their nationalities, cultures or beliefs." - George Weah

"Football is the most important of the less important things in the world." - Carlo Ancelotti

KiwiBlue2 added 23:24 - Dec 20
Great that this is done. Credit to the club and players who participate. Seeing some of the patients must give them a lift and bring it home to the players how fortunate they are. The great range of quotes added by midastouch above further emphasises this.... coyb

Linkboy13 added 15:13 - Dec 21
I donate every Christmas to EACH and they always send me a hand written Christmas card which is nice they do a fantastic job.

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