The Accrington Stanley squad paid a visit to the children’s ward at the Royal Blackburn Hospital yesterday to try to spread a bit of Christmas cheer.

The whole team made the trip after training to hand out Christmas cards, presents and signed Stanley merchandise to young patients and their parents.

The players spent an hour touring the wards, handing out gifts and chatting to children, parents and staff.

“It’s mixed emotions every time you come to the children’s ward really,” said assistant manager Jimmy Bell. “You try to come and cheer the kids and their parents up and hopefully that helps but it’s hard to see them in here, especially during this festive period.

“We’ve always said we’ve got a fantastic squad of players. They love their jobs and it’s nice to spread the name Accrington Stanley around by doing things like this but the first and most important thing here is to spread a bit of Christmas spirit and show these youngsters what it’s all about.”

Long serving Stanley midfielder Andy Procter was one of the players on the visit.

“This is something we try to do every year and it doesn’t get any easier to see these youngsters in hospital at this time of year.

“Hopefully a surprise visit, a bit of a laugh with the lads and a little gift can help to brighten up their stay a little.”

Everyone at Accrington Stanley would like to thank the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust for their help organising the visit and the Stanley Community Trust for providing the presents