Owls stars put smiles on faces of hospice children

Sheffield Wednesday players  Anthony Gardner (captain), Mickail Antonio and David Prutton visited the Bluebell Wood Childrens Hospice on Tuesday to meet with the children and families and presented the hospice with a signed first team shirt
Sheffield Wednesday players Anthony Gardner (captain), Mickail Antonio and David Prutton visited the Bluebell Wood Childrens Hospice on Tuesday to meet with the children and families and presented the hospice with a signed first team shirt
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An exciting treat was in store for youngsters at South Yorkshire’s Bluebell Wood children’s hospice when Owls stars dropped by for a special visit.

Sheffield Wednesday captain Anthony Gardner, plus midfielders Michail Antonio and David Prutton, met children, staff and volunteers at the hospice in North Anston, handing out gifts and enjoying the afternoon sunshine in the gardens.

Among the hospice visitors who got to meet the footballers was 12-year-old Oliver Rains, from Gleadless Townend, Sheffield, who has spinal muscular atrophy.

Oliver’s mum Helen said: “It was such a thrill for Olly to meet the players in person, he’s had a tough few weeks and has just today been discharged from hospital after being really ill so this was just the boost he needed.”

Set in a six-and-a-half acre site, the hospice provides bedrooms for terminally-ill children from across the region.

Fun games and activities are on offer for residents, as well as a music room, ball pool and cinema.

Bluebell Wood is a charity partner of Sheffield Wednesday, and the club has carried out various fundraisers over the last two years including bucket collections at matches and a car parking scheme which raised £2,000.

Loyal Wednesdayites also raised more than £5,000 for the charity on a sponsored bike ride.

Owls captain Anthony said: “Everyone at Sheffield Wednesday is immensely proud of the club’s association with Bluebell Wood.

“If we can help put a smile on the faces of the youngsters then everything we do is all the more worthwhile - visiting puts football into perspective.”

The players spent yesterday afternoon chatting with the children, siblings, parents and staff and also gave out club merchandise.

Julie Hampson, corporate fundraiser at Bluebell Wood, said: “It’s fantastic to have the players come to the hospice and visit us, it was a really special day for our children and their families.

“We’re thrilled to have the support of Sheffield Wednesday in their initiatives which are vital to help us to continue to offer our services to local children with a shortened life expectancy.

“We’re really excited to continue working with the club in the future.”