Fulham stars Richardson, Karagounis and Riise visit St Helier and Epsom patients
A football mad young hospital patient was thrilled to get a visit from three Fulham FC players - but she still didn't take off her Crystal Palace shirt.
Premiership stars including former England player Kieran Richardson paid a special visit to St Mary's Hospital for Children at St Helier Hospital to visit patients admitted over the Christmas period and give them presents they bought themselves.
Courtney Merrett was in hospital for cystic fibrosis treatment when Richardson, Greek midfielder Giorgos Karagounis and Ireland defender Chris Baird popped in bearing gifts on Tuesday, December 18.
Despite the stars all playing for Fulham, they were still happy to pose for pictures while the youngster was wearing her Crystal Palace shirt.
Courtney's mum Mandy Merrett said: "Courtney is absolutely football mad, and all through her time in hospital, she’s been desperate to get out and have a game. The visit from Fulham FC really brightened her day – it was a really lovely thing to do."
Patients at Epsom Hospital also got a visit from Premiership stars with Fulham's Champions League winner Jon Arne Riise and Irish defender Stephen Kelly dropping by with gifts.
Full back Riise said: "I have three children myself and it is always heartbreaking when you see small children who are sick and in hospital. When you can put something back into the community like this it is good. When you see the little children smile and the look in their eyes, it makes me feel humble.
Carolyn Croucher, clinical director of women and children's services at St Helier Hospital, said: "On behalf of our patients, their families and the staff at the Queen Mary’s and Epsom hospitals, we would like to say a big thank you to Fulham Football Club.
"Their visit showed commitment to the local community and a great generosity. The players gave up their time and money to buy and deliver these gifts and we are all very grateful."
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