Everton forward Wayne Rooney was the special guest during this year’s Christmas visit to Claire House Children’s Hospice.
Fanatic Evertonian families from across the north west, who attend the Bebington-based hospice for respite and support throughout the year, turned up to meet the Blues star along with Club Ambassador Graeme Sharp, to pose for photos, spend one-on-one time with Rooney, get autographs and receive an early Everton Christmas present from the Toffees’ top scorer.
During his time at the hospice, Rooney also visited one of the interactive play rooms at the children’s hospice, had a kickabout with some of the children and their siblings, while learning more about the work the Claire House staff do around the clock for the children and the families they work with.
“It’s been really nice to come and try to put a few smiles on the kids and their families faces, especially around Christmas,” said Rooney, who returned to his boyhood club in the summer. “It’s always great if we can do that, meet them and hopefully make them smile.”
England’s top goalscorer added: “I’ve seen the work they do here, it’s incredible, not just for the kids but the parents and the brothers and sisters, too. They really do make a massive difference so it’s important that I give my support and that we also keep trying to raise money because the work they do needs funding.”
The hospice provides daily care for children who are seriously and terminally ill, and the Claire House staff work hard to make sure children can live life to the full by creating wonderful experiences and memories.
The staff, which includes nurses, physiotherapists, play specialists, counsellors and dedicated doctors, try to bring back a sense of normality to the families’ lives, helping them to smile through the toughest of times by providing not only specialist nursing care but emotional support as well.
Rebecca Flood is mum to Sophia, one of the young patients who uses the children’s hospice.
She suffers from Cockayne syndrome, a premature ageing disorder with a shortened life expectancy.
Rebecca spoke to evertontv about what the children’s hospice means to their family. She said: “Claire House do everything for us as a family, they give us a break and we just have so much fun when we’re here.
“They do so much for our boys as well, I think the main thing is they just make everything a lot easier for us and we’re able to make special memories together with days like this.”
Lauren Luxton, Marketing and Communications Officer for the hospice, thanked Everton for their continued support, helping to make memories for the families they work with.
She said: “Year on year, Everton continue to give their support to the local community and nowhere more so than Claire House Children’s Hospice. This is always a visit we look forward to here at Claire House and our Evertonian families couldn’t believe it was Wayne who they were going to meet. I can’t express how much it would have meant to the children to get to spend one-on-one time with someone like Wayne.
“We are always so grateful to Everton for helping us to raise awareness of the work we do, so we have a better chance of being able to care for every family on Merseyside that needs us.”
Everton has been supporting Claire House for a number of years now with regular visits from first-team players and our Club Ambassadors, giving them the chance to learn about the work that goes on at Claire House, as well as being able to meet the special children and their siblings who use its services throughout the year.
To learn more about Claire House Children’s Hospice and to see how you could make a donation to support their work, please click here.