Stevenage football community raise nearly £4,000 for Lister Hospital’s sick children
PUBLISHED: 11:28 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:28 11 December 2019
Stevenage senior and junior football teams have joined forces this Christmas in a huge fundraising bid for Lister Hospital’s children’s ward.
Nearly £4,000 has been raised by the Stevenage Boro U12's team, with the money set to go towards a new safe space for children with complex emotional and physical needs.
Simon Leadbetter - coach of the U12's - originally planned for his team to visit the ward at Lister over Christmas and deliver presents to sick children.
This soon developed into something far bigger however, with Stevenage FC throwing their support behind the youngsters. First team players Joel Byrom, Arthur Lontton, Ben Nugent and Luther James-Wildin visited the ward on Saturday, and helped present a cheque for £3,786.
Coach Simon said: "The time spent with the Boro lads, the hospital staff, my own team and everybody else, was truly golden.
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"It has been a humbling experience, and some of the kindness I have seen has reinforced my belief that there are more good people about than we're led to believe. We are very honoured to have been involved in such a good cause."
For Simon, the stand-out moment of the day was when he heard one of the Lister nurses say how much she is looking forward to Christmas Day this year - because she is working on the ward. "The lady was telling me that although Christmas day will be emotional, she is really looking forward to it", Simon said. "Compassion, commitment and care like that just cannot be bought. We are so glad to have done what we could for the ward, and wish them all the best for the future."
After meeting the youngsters, Stevenage FC also bought tickets for the U12's to watch Boro play against Crawley Town that afternoon, with Simon calling the players "a credit to their club".
Rachael Corser, director of nursing and patient experience at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust said: "We would like to say a huge thank you to Simon Leadbetter and the Stevenage Juniors U12s, and also to Stevenage FC for attending the cheque presentation.
"The money will be used on our Children's Emergency Department SafeSpace project, which is raising funds so we can create a new safe space specifically for children and young people with complex emotional and physical needs.
"This will make a real difference to the experience these children have when they have to come to hospital."
To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/lister-hospital-sick-children-fund