Fulham FC football players with young boy in front of Christmas tree

Fulham FC stars bring festive cheer to children and families

Published on: 14/12/23

General Press release

Stars from Fulham FC’s men’s and women’s first teams brought festive cheer to the children, young people and families we support yesterday with a special Christmas visit to our Tadworth site.

Fulham FC men’s first team defender Antonee Robinson and goalkeeper Steven Benda were joined by women’s first team goalkeeper Libby Stratton and staff from Fulham FC Foundation, including CEO Mike McSweeney, Office Manager Sarah Adams and Player Pathway Lead Adam Wing.

They took photos with excited children and families and gifted signed photocards.

Footie fan Ralph leads the way

On arrival, the players and staff met eight-year-old football fanatic Ralph, who has just this week completed an eight-week residential rehabilitation placement at The Children’s Trust after being involved in a road traffic accident in August this year.

Following his rehabilitation with us, Ralph is now able to walk, run and jump with the support of an ankle foot orthosis (AFO).

Ralph asked the players lots of fun questions, including who the toughest players they’ve come up against are and how many pairs of football boots they own, and then took them on a tour of our New Cheyne rehabilitation centre and The Children’s Trust School.

Ralph said:

It was great to meet the players. They were really cool – and really tall! I love it at The Children’s Trust and I hope they did too.

Ralph’s mum, Tanya, said:

Ralph loved meeting Antonee, Steven and Libby. Getting to take them on a walking – and running! – tour of The Children’s Trust’s grounds wasn’t something he could have done before coming here, so it was a big moment for us all.

Ralph has made such incredible progress with his rehabilitation thanks to The Children’s Trust and has now set his sights on playing football again. Meeting the players has certainly given him extra inspiration. Having

Ralph home for Christmas is the best gift our family could have asked for, and yesterday’s visit was the icing on the cake.

Delivering festive cheer

Fulham FC football players posing for photo with two young boys

The Fulham players and staff visited our state-of-the-art New Cheyne paediatric brain injury rehabilitation centre, the largest service of its kind in the UK.

Here they met lots of excited children and young people, including Marlon (pictured above, cheering), who are being supported by our specialist staff to restore lost skills and develop alternative skills. Families got in on the action too!

As part of the visit, the club also generously donated a voucher which will help us buy new sports equipment to aid children’s physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Eyes on the prize

Antonee Robinson trialling an eye-communication device

The players and staff then went on to visit The Children’s Trust School, which has recently been rated as outstanding by Ofsted.

Here, Robinson, Benda and Stratton each had the opportunity to give the charity’s Eyegaze device a try. This world-leading technology enables children who are unable to speak to communicate using eye movements. With a bit of practice, the players were able to communicate a few words and short sentences.

A special thank you

Our Chief Executive, Mike Thiedke, thanked the club and Foundation for its support:

We would like to thank Fulham FC and the Fulham FC Foundation for their continued support of The Children’s Trust. For more than a decade, the club has brought magical moments to the children, young people and families we support.

We are grateful to the players and staff for being so generous with their time and for their donation, which will enable us to buy vital sports equipment to support the children’s rehabilitation.

Reflecting on the visit, Mike McSweeney, Chief Executive of Fulham FC Foundation, added:

We were delighted to be welcomed back to The Children’s Trust to meet so many incredible children and families and hear from their dedicated staff about the activities, therapies and technologies that make such a difference to the children’s lives. We hope our visit brought some festive cheer and that our donation will have a lasting impact and play a role in building better lives through sport.

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