Photo Gallery: Everton stars don blue Santa hats to give gifts and spread Christmas cheer to children

Seamus Coleman and Amadou Onana were among a number of senior Everton players to visit Claire House and Zoe’s Place.

Club captain Seamus Coleman and World Cup midfielder Amadou Onana were among a number of senior Everton players that headed out into Merseyside to bring some Christmas cheers to seriously ill children anf their families this week.

Onana and Asmir Begovic headed to Claire House’s West Derby site where they were able to chat to the children, give out Everton gifts and join in family photos. At the same time, Coleman and Academy graduate Tom Davies were guests at Zoe’s Place, only a short distance away.

Claire House helps seriously and terminally ill children live life to the full by creating wonderful experiences and bringing a sense of normality back to their family life.

Begovic, sporting a blue Everton Christmas hat to mark the occasion, said: “It’s always a special experience. If we can play our part in creating a positive experience for the children, their families and the staff and spread a bit of festive cheer then it’s something we do with great pleasure.

“When you come here and see the families, what they are going through and how strong and positive they are, it’s very humbling for us. It’s a great thing to do and it’s really good to see smiles on faces, especially the kids.”

Coleman and Davies were able to learn more about the support offered at Zoe’s Place, while speaking to parents, who shared their stories.

Zoe’s Place is the only hospice in the UK that caters specifically for babies. Staff provide palliative and respite services to support families with children aged between zero and five with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses.

Coleman said: “For as long as I’ve been at Everton, visits like this have been a big part of what we do around Christmas time.

“Doing it online because of the COVID-19 pandemic was great because it needed to be done, but you don’t get that same emotion that you feel and connection that you can make when you’re actually with the people, so being here in person has made a massive difference.”

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