Palace players took time out from training to visit children and elderly patients at Croydon University Hospital on Thursday afternoon.
Led by First Team Coach Kevin Keen, players from the first team squad Yohan Cabaye, Martin Kelly, Chung-yong Lee, Kwesi Appiah and Luke Dreher spread the festive cheer by posing for pictures and giving out Eagles inspired gifts to those in care.
Amongst the patients at the hospital was eighty-five-year-old Palace fan Robert Manzi, who was visibly overwhelmed at meeting the players. Robert, a local man from Upper Norwood said, “I have been a fan of Crystal Palace since I was five years old, meeting the players has made me feel really emotional.”
Reflecting on the players’ afternoon away from footballing matters, midfield star Cabaye said they were all heartened by the impact the visit made on both patients and staff at the hospital.
“It’s never a nice time for anyone to be in hospital, so if us being here has brightened their afternoon and lifted their spirits then it’s important we do that. With the staff as well, there’s a lot here who are big fans of the club and you can see it means a lot to them too.”
John Goulston, Chief Executive of Croydon Health Services, added: “We are so thrilled that Kevin Keen and the players gave up their time to visit us and brought Christmas presents for the patients. It really gave everyone such a boost to meet the players and chat with them. As Crystal Palace is our local football club, many of us are also big fans so their arrival on the wards definitely created a buzz on the wards.”