“Visits like this are always enjoyable and, as players, it gives us a real buzz and sense of fulfilment” – Canaries heroes meet children and families while delivering presents at The Nook

Norwich City footballers put smiles on faces and sprinkled some Christmas magic while delivering presents to youngsters at The Nook.

Angus Gunn, Jonathan Rowe, Kenny McLean and Adam Forshaw, along with first-team coach Andrew Hughes, met children and families receiving care and support at the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) base.

Donning Santa hats, they signed autographs and posed for photos, as well as presenting a hamper of festive goodies to EACH staff.

The players also handed over a PlayStation 5 for children and young people to enjoy during their time at The Nook.

Goalkeeper Angus said: “It’s a lovely feeling, seeing the children’s smiling faces and being in a position to make people happy.

“Visits like this are always enjoyable and, as players, it gives us a real buzz and sense of fulfilment.

“It’s humbling and a lot of us are dads ourselves, so coming to such a special place brings it home and definitely strikes a chord.”

Midfielder Adam agreed and described it as an important part of his job, as a professional footballer.

“We always want to give back as much as we can and enjoy being in a position to put smiles on faces and help people feel positive,” he said.

“I have children and coming here definitely puts things in perspective. It’s a reminder that life is so precious.”

Among those to meet his Canaries heroes was William Hagg, 15, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and was there with dad Gary and eight-year-old sister Ellie.

“The players were great and so easy to talk to,” he said.

“They’re just normal people and it’s great having an opportunity to chat with them.”

Harry Brown, nine, said the visit had come as a complete surprise. Sister Grace, who had metachromatic leukodystrophy, died last August.

“Mum and dad didn’t tell me until we were on our way, after school, and I was really pleased,” he said.

“The players were great and very friendly.”

The Norwich stars also met the Gulliver family – parents Chris and Claire and children Isaac, 12, Louis, nine, and Emma, seven. They were there with the boys’ friend, Sam Ayres, 11.

Emma has congenital central hypoventilation syndrome – a rare neurological condition that affects her breathing. She spends a day a month at The Nook.

“She loves coming here and always has a great time, enjoying lots of arts and crafts,” said Claire.

“It gives her a sense of independence and it’s great from our point of view, because it’s somewhere we know she’s completely safe and looked after.

“We always make the most of the opportunities EACH provides. This is definitely one of them and it’s especially exciting for the boys to meet their Norwich heroes.”

As well as chatting to families, winger Jonathan recorded a video message for one child unable to attend.

“It’s always important for us to connect with fans, be it at matches or special events and visits like this,” he said.

“As players, we love it and enjoy seeing things from a different perspective. The hospice is an incredible place.”

Caroline Allen, EACH’s Corporate Fundraising Manager, said: “This event is a highlight of our year and we’re so grateful to Norwich City.

“As ever, the players were brilliant. They had time for everyone and couldn’t have done more in terms of chatting to families, signing autographs and posing for photos.

“It makes such a difference and that’s reflected by all those magical smiles. It’s a joy to be involved.”

Pictures: Karen Self/EACH

Notes to Editors

“EACH has made us all feel part of an extended family and, thanks to staff and fellow families, we’re not alone with problems. We always leave The Treehouse feeling positive, stronger and thankful.”

  • We care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and support their families.
  • We offer families flexibility and control over where they receive their care and support, including where their child dies – at home, in hospital or at one of three hospices at Milton (Cambridge), The Nook (Norfolk) and The Treehouse (Ipswich).
  • Our family-centred approach includes specialist nursing care, symptom management support, short breaks, wellbeing activities, therapies and counselling, all meeting the individual needs of the child, young person and whole family.
  • We are recognised as leaders in our field, with a reputation for excellence and commitment to pioneering development and innovation.
  • We rely on voluntary donations for the majority of our income and this year need to raise £5.8 million from fundraising and £6.5 million in income from our shops. The year before the pandemic we received just 16% of our total income from statutory sources.
  • EACH Royal Patron –Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales.
  • For more information about EACH, including forthcoming events and how you can help raise funds,visit each.org.uk or call our Suffolk fundraisers on 01473 917965.

Keep in touch:


For further information about this release please contact:

Matt Plummer | Media and PR Manager | 07738 328058 | Matt.Plummer@each.org.uk

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