Kent players and staff make their annual visit to two Kent hospitals

Thursday 17th December 2009

Players and staff from Kent County Cricket Club put smiles on the faces of a number of local children when they visited two Kent hospitals earlier today.

Team director Paul Farbrace, wicketkeeper Paul Dixey, all-rounder Matt Coles and high performance director Simon Willis all went along to the Kent and Canterbury hospital in Canterbury. Acting chief executive officer Jamie Clifford and academy director Phil Relf were also on hand for the visits to the K&C and the QEQM hospital in Margate.

During the annual trip, the players chatted with children, and their families, who will spend the festive season in hospital due to ill health.

The players were armed with a variety of selection boxes, kindly provided by Tesco, plus gifts from Marks & Spencer in Canterbury, The Book People, Hornby Hobbies Ltd and Blooming Marvellous. They also took along children“s books, kindly donated by former Kent and England all-rounder Chris Cowdrey and Linda O“Mallan from Kent Reliance Building Society (KRBS).

The players spent time posing for photographs and signing autographs, while distributing a whole host of gifts.

Some of the kids were dressed up in Kent colours to meet their heroes.

Team director Paul Farbrace said: "It is really nice to see all the smiles on the children“s faces.

"It is a great opportunity to cheer them up during their stay in hospital at Christmas time."

Acting chief executive officer Jamie Clifford added: "As a club this is something that we believe is important to do. I would like to thank the players and coaching staff for willingly giving up their time. A lot of us have young children and it really puts things into perspective.

“The support we get is fantastic and it is good to be able to give something back. We even had a few coaching tips from one of the children – he was clearly a big Kent fan.

Earlier this month, captain Rob Key, all-rounder Darren Stevens and Bomber the Spitfire went along to Bexley to give out presents at the Demelza House children“s party.

Photo (Sarah Ansell): From left to right – wicketkeeper Paul Dixey, academy director Phil Relf, all-rounder Matt Coles, high performance director Simon Willis and team director Paul Farbrace with children at the Kent and Canterbury hospital in Canterbury.