Christmas is a time for giving and Fleetwood midfielder Bobby Grant stressed how important it is for footballers to realise how lucky they are and give back to the community.
Grant orchestrated a whip-round before the club’s festive visit to Brian House Children’s Hospice on Tuesday with the players handing over more than £500 to the Low Moor Road charity in Blackpool.
The hospice specialises in palliative care for children and young adults from within the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre areas, who have life-threatening and/or life limiting conditions.
It costs more than £1m a year to run the centre, and without voluntary donations, it could not provide the free care it offers.
And Grant says he can not praise the staff and volunteers enough for the work they do to help the children.
He said: “I just think it is a charity-run business. I don’t have kids of my own but I have nieces and nephews and to see what these people and the staff at Brian House do, to see how happy the kids are, I think it is the least we can do.
“I just went in on Tuesday morning, I just said to the lads ‘I think it is right that we have a whip-round’ and the delight on the staff’s faces when we gave them it was priceless and that is enough for me.
“As long as everyone is happy and I have always said if I can do any more and anything to help then I will.
“We have got a great job, we are lucky, but if I could give everything I had to the kids at this place then I would.
“I said to the lads we need to make Christmas for the children here. We have got a young team which the manager has come in and done a fantastic job with – and they have to learn very quickly.
“That is what I said to them, it is not about taking money off them, it is about the club bringing them here and making them show how lucky they really are.
“When they have kids, even myself when I have kids, it puts it into perspective how lucky we are to do what we do and they should always want to give to places like this.
“The most important thing is that the kids are getting looked after, the staff are happy.
“The work that the staff put in here , I can’t give them enough praise – it is fantastic.”
Back on the pitch Town are preparing to host Bury on Boxing Day.
And Grant is expecting a reaction from Bury as they try to end their eight-match losing streak at Highbury, where Town have won seven in a row.
He said: “It will be a tough game. I have always said our home form has been fantastic this season and the manager will drum that into us again on the training pitch.
“Bury are coming on the back of a really bad run so they will be wanting to put things right and it will be a difficult game.”