England manager Gareth Southgate visits Leeds children's hospice

A children's hospice in Leeds enjoyed a special Christmas visit from Gareth Southgate last week.

By Abbey Maclure
Friday, 20th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Gareth Southgate with Kacie-May Jones
Gareth Southgate with Kacie-May Jones

Children and young people at Martin House Hospice, in Boston Spa, were excited to meet the England manager and pose for pictures.

Gareth chatted to wheelchair footballers and football fans who use Martin House during his visit, as well as posing for pictures and signing football shirts and balls.

Mr Southgate said: “Whenever I come here and see not only the enjoyment on the faces of the young people, but also the enthusiasm and pride of the staff, it is such a special place.

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Gareth with Jack Britton (left) and Seb Copeland

“It was nice to hear the young people talking about their experiences of being able to play wheelchair football, because you might think that with some of their disabilities they might not be able to play, but that’s not the case.”

Gareth has been a long-term supporter of Martin House, as he now lives near the charity.

Martin House cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across Yorkshire, including providing respite stays, support in the community, emergency care, end of life care and bereavement support.

Clair Holdsworth, director of care at Martin House, said: “It’s been a really exciting visit for all of us. We’ve got lots of young people who play football in wheelchairs, and football is a big part of their lives, so for them to have the chance to meet Gareth is amazing.

“He was so interested and engaged in what they were saying, I know this will be a memory they and their families treasure.”