Video: Merry Christmas from Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos

Sporting stars from the world of football and rugby teamed up to provide a welcome tonic to the city's sick children and their families.

Leeds United manager Simon Grayson said that it was important to give back to the community.

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"It makes you realise how fortunate you are to be fit and well," he said.

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"There are going to be a lot of children in hospital over Christmas and into the New Year, but hopefully we will be able to put a few smiles on faces.

"It's also actually quite good for the lads as well. They moan when we are working them hard on a Monday and in training Tuesday and then they see how ill these children are.

"It puts everything into perspective."

Leeds United captain Jonny Howson said after his visit: "If it puts a smile on some faces then we are grateful we were able to do that. It's a bit upsetting when I see children who are so young and so sick. It's good to be able to do something for them."

Rhinos fan Harry Clague, 12, who was diagnosed with a rare blood condition in May, said it was great to meet the Super League champions having only ever seen them on television.

The Tingley schoolboy – at hospital for his weekly blood tests – compared notes with captain Kevin Sinfield on training sessions in the children's day centre.

He said: "I used to play rugby but I can't play contact sports anymore – not even swimming. Things are a lot better now as I was off school for five months."

Leeds Rhinos also visited The Sick Children's Trust's Eckersley House, as supporters of the free residential home for families with sick children which was moved from St James's Hospital to LGI earlier this year.

Captain Sinfield said: "This trip is one of those that all the squad looks forward to every year. It is tough this time of year for families not to be together, which is why the great work of The Sick Children's Trust is so invaluable."

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