Young Tameside Hospital patients surprised by Manchester United star
Friday 6th January 2017 @ 14:59 by Adam Higgins
Ashton Community Health News

Young patients at Tameside Hospital were left stunned when they were paid a surprise visit by a popular Premier League footballer.

Children staying in the Ashton hospital’s paediatric department couldn’t believe their eyes when Manchester United’s Juan Mata dropped by to spread some New Year cheer.

The Spanish midfielder handed out some presents and had pictures taken with the young patients and their parents.

Juan took time out of his busy schedule to visit the hospital today (Friday) as part of the Three Kings Day celebrations on Epiphany, which officially marks the end of the Christmas period.

He met children in the hospital’s inpatient ward as well as children who were visiting the hospital for outpatient appointments.

Support: Juan came bearing gifts for the young patients who couldn’t wait to meet their football hero  

When asked about the visit, Juan said: “I think today has been great. The work the staff do for the children to get better, in difficult situations, especially during Christmas can be a difficult period, so I’m very happy that I came and met the staff and the kids.

“Hopefully I helped to put a smile on some faces; it’s been a great day.”

Karen James, chief executive at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted when we heard Juan had chosen Tameside Hospital to visit.

“The children, parents and staff were all delighted to see him. He spent lots of time chatting to the children, handing out gifts and having pictures taken.

“It was a real treat for everybody and I am delighted we were able to host such a special event.”

Welcome: The staff in the paediatric department were also just as thrilled as the children to meet the United player