THERE was an early Christmas present for children at York Hospital when players from York City stopped by to deliver presents.

Two-thirds of the squad visited the children’s ward to meet patients and their parents and to give out goodie bags and teddy bears.

Among the children was 12-year-old Isobel Avey, who plays for the under-12s team at York City’s Centre of Excellence, and has been in hospital since Tuesday with a suspected case of appendicitis. She said she was very excited to meet the players.

Isobel talked to Chris Smith, City’s captain, who said: “We come in every year to give out toys and goodie bags because it’s great to put a smile on the faces of these kids. Some of us have children, I’ve got a 20-month-old, and it’s hard to think of a worse place to be at Christmas than in hospital.”

Two-year-old Tyson Lund, from Acomb, was delighted to play with City mascot Yorkie the Lion as he waited to have blood tests. His mum Vicky said it made the visit a little easier. “It’s a good day to come in,” she said.

Meanwhile, three-year-old Amelia Everall, from Barlby, beamed as players gave her presents. Her parents, Michael and Victoria, said she was waiting for an operation after breaking her arm in three places.

Midfielder Lee Bullock said: “It puts a smile on their little faces. When you get older and have kids yourself, you realise what a happy time for families it is. It’s unfortunate they are in hospital and it’s nice to be able to brighten their days up a bit. I think they give us more of a smile than we do them.”

The teddy bears were provided by Benenden Healthcare Society, City’s sponsor and the new health and wellbeing partner for City’s community arm York City In The Community.

The present drop was just part of City’s Christmas calendar. Last night, the other third of the squad sang at a carol concert at St Luke’s Church in Burton Stone Lane.