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Fundraising schoolboy picked to lead out Ipswich Town team presents hospital playroom with gifts

PUBLISHED: 17:35 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:35 29 November 2017

Bobby Lankester with sister Grace and Ipswich Hospital staff. Picture: LOUISE LANKESTER

Bobby Lankester with sister Grace and Ipswich Hospital staff. Picture: LOUISE LANKESTER

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A kind-hearted Ipswich schoolboy made a community champion by Town captain Luke Chambers for his charity efforts has brightened up an Ipswich Hospital ward with donated toys.

Luke Chambers with Bobby Lankester.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Luke Chambers with Bobby Lankester. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Bobby Lankester spent the summer running 20 miles each month to collect cash for Ipswich Hospital, where his little sister Grace is being treated.

The youngster, who is a huge football fan, was surprised by the Ipswich Town skipper at St John’s Primary School with tickets to the East Anglian derby – where he led out some of his favourite players.

Now the seven-year-old has paid a visit to the playroom at Ipswich Hospital and donated a selection of gifts to staff and patients.

The presents – which include dozens of games, cuddly toys, LEGO sets and fancy dress costumes – were paid for with almost £500 raised by Bobby this summer. His mother Louise, who supported her son’s fundraising alongside husband Graham, said: “We’re so proud of him.

Bobby Lankester in his new ITFC shirt with his friends.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Bobby Lankester in his new ITFC shirt with his friends. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“His little sister Grace spends a lot of time in the play room and she’s really benefitted from the toys they have there, they make her happy and help her through the tough times.

“We picked the gifts with Bobby and brought them to the hospital.

She added: “We bought games, toys, lots of little bits to suit different children.

“They were really grateful to us and it was an opportunity for us to just give something back to them all really.”

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers surprising Bobby Lankester.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers surprising Bobby Lankester. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Bobby was given the chance to meet and chat with Town players at the derby match before leading both teams out onto the pitch. He also took home a signed shirt from his first ever game.

Mrs Lankester added: “He really enjoyed himself, the players were great to him.

“Bless his heart, he was just really excited.

“We were very proud to see him out on the pitch with his favourite players from Town.”

Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

At the time of his visit to the youngster’s school, Luke said: “Once the opportunity to come down to the school and meet Bobby came up, I was one of the first ones with my hand up to come and see him.

“Thankfully he knew who I was and I wasn’t coming in completely unannounced.

“It’s brilliant, seeing his achievement – it’s such a selfless thing to do.”

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