Gallery: ITFC players visit children’s ward at Ipswich Hospital to launch charity partnership

ITFC's Tommy Smith and young fan Max Hindle with the picture they painted on Bergholt Ward at Ipswic

ITFC's Tommy Smith and young fan Max Hindle with the picture they painted on Bergholt Ward at Ipswich Hospital.

Ipswich Town players took time out from preparing for the start of the new football season by visiting sick children yesterday.

The stars were at Ipswich Hospital to launch a new partnership between the club and the hospital’s charity.

The Blues will be working with The Ipswich Hospital Charity, which has recently undergone a re-branding and redoubled focus.

Tommy Smith, Daryl Murphy and Jonathan Parr surprised youngsters at the Bergholt Ward yesterday in support of the charity’s first official campaign – The Sunrise Appeal – which is raising £100,000 for specialised equipment and home comforts for very sick babies and children in hospital.

Jade Cole, ITFC PR manager who is responsible for charity liaison at the club, said: “Most of us have been to Ipswich Hospital at some point in our lives and have either required treatment or know someone who has.

“With this in mind we felt supporting the hospital’s charity was the most effective way we, as a football club, can support our local community.”

All of the first team players have signed a ITFC shirt, which will be auctioned off.

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A collection will also be held at Portman Road prior to town’s first home game of the 2015/16 season against Sheffield Wednesday on August 15.

Kate Ashton, head of The Ipswich Hospital Charity, said they were delighted to be working with ITFC and looked forward to reaching out to fans and inspiring them to support The Sunrise Appeal.

She added: “Today is the start of an exciting new partnership that will help us to deliver even better care to sick children and babies in hospital.”

Every year the neonatal unit cares for more than 500 premature and sick babies and their families. While the paediatric team cared for more than 3,500 inpatients and almost 10,000 outpatients aged from one day to 16 years last year.

The paediatric team sees children with every type of illness and injury including common but potentially fatal chest infections, heart disorders and cancers.

To donate to The Sunrise Appeal, text RISE88 £3 to 70070 or visit www.ipswichhospital.nhs.uk/sunriseappeal