Rovers superstars: Grieving Billy Sharp cuddles hospital baby

Star players: Holding little George Bond Upton is Billy Sharp, along with James Coppinger, Martin Woods and Jon Oster. Picture: Glenn Ashley.

Star players: Holding little George Bond Upton is Billy Sharp, along with James Coppinger, Martin Woods and Jon Oster. Picture: Glenn Ashley.

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A MUM was overcome with emotion after grieving Doncaster Rovers player Billy Sharp cuddled her baby son at the annual Children’s Hospital Christmas visit by the footballers.

Angela Bond had to wipe away tears when she realised the team’s top scorer had lost his first child Luey Jacob when he was only two days old, a few weeks ago.

Little George Bond-Upton, aged 22 weeks, from Hatfield, is in the Children’s Hospital with a chest viral infection but was well enough to be held by Billy.

George was in a ward on his own and the family were thrilled when four Rovers players – Billy, Martin Woods, Simon Gillett and John Oster – popped in to meet the family and hand out Christmas parcels.

But it was not until after they had moved on to the next bed that Angela, who had not recognised him, was made aware of Billy’s recent bereavement.

“I thought it was brilliant that they should come and Billy was lovely holding George, I just didn’t realise how significant it was. It’s really good of him to do that because it must have made him think about his little boy,” she said.

Angela said her older son, six-year-old Edward, was at school yesterday and would be upset at having missed seeing his Rovers hero close-up.

There were lots more smiles on other wards as almost the entire Rovers squad turned up to meet the sick children and their parents before giving each child a present.

Sprotbrough mum Claire Carey, whose five-year-old son Owen, is being treated for pneumonia, said she had been showing him YouTube film of the Rovers players because he is not old enough to have seen them at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“He likes to play football but his dad, Daniel, was waiting until he is a bit older before taking him to see a match. “I think it’s very nice that the players have come in and Brian Stock was really nice to Owen, he really made an effort to talk to him,” said Mrs Carey.

Club captain Brian said the Rovers players had given up their day off yesterday and nearly all the squad had decided to visit the hospital.

“You can see how much it means to the players by the number that are here because we know what it means to put a smile on a child’s face.”

The father of three children, aged seven, three and five months, said it was unfortunate for any family to have youngsters in hospital around Christmas.

“Luckily none of my kids have ever been in that position but it’s something that every parent thinks about. The effort the lads have put in to come today show what an honest bunch they are.”

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