Dons heroes bring festive cheer to young patients at children’s hospital

Aberdeen Football Club players with some of the young patients at the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital yesterday.

CHRISTMAS came early for young patients at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital (RACH) as 12 Aberdeen Football Club players paid them a special festive visit. 

The Dons first team players visited the wards to bring some festive cheer to the children and young people who are spending time in RACH in the run up to Christmas, and hand out gifts.  Graeme Shinnie, Jonny Hayes, Nicky Devlin, Kelle Roos, Connor Barron, Angus MacDonald, Richard Jensen, Stefan Gartenmann, Jamie McGrath, Leighton Clarkson, Bojan Miovski and Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes took time out from training yesterday (Thursday, December 7) to visit RACH as part of The Archie Foundation’s Advent Calendar campaign.   The Archie Foundation’s Advent Calendar began on December 1 and will see the children, families and staff at the hospital benefit from a huge range of special treats and exciting activities and experiences.   The charity’s Christmas initiative will run right up until Christmas Day, when it culminates with the delivery of Mackie’s ice cream for all patients and staff.   Paula Cormack, chief executive of The Archie Foundation, said: “The Archie Foundation Advent Calendar is a key part of our celebrations in the run up to Christmas. It is a chance to deliver activities, gifts and experiences which will benefit the children who find themselves in hospital during the festive season. There are also treats for their families and for the staff too.  “The footballers’ visit on Thursday was a real highlight and the children were delighted to see some of the players from AFC on the wards. They brought a smile to the faces of patients and staff alike and we are so grateful to the team for coming to the hospital and spending time with everyone.”  Dons captain Graeme Shinnie said it was humbling experience for the players to meet patients and staff at the hospital.    “Our annual visit to the hospital is always a really important day for the players. Spending time with the children and their families really puts into perspective the difficulties which so many face. Hopefully, our visit can help to spread a little happiness and raise their spirits, especially at this special time of year,” he said. “It’s also great to meet the hard-working staff at the hospital who go above and beyond to make a positive difference to the lives of these children and they deserve huge praise for the fantastic work they do throughout the year.     “Everyone at AFC wishes all the children at the hospital and the staff a very Merry Christmas.”  Local businesses have sponsored activities as well as funding services as part of the advent calendar campaign.  This year, 14 companies and organisations have funded activities and vital services the charity offer, ensuring they can continue in 2024.   According to Paula, the value of these contributions is immeasurable.  “The big items, like the Aberdeen players coming into the hospital and the upcoming visit from the Sleeping Beauty cast are incredibly popular. Things like this play an important role in bringing something different to the day. They can really lift the mood and give patients, families, and staff what is often a much-needed boost during what can be an exceedingly difficult time.  “We are truly grateful to those who have got behind our 2023 Advent Calendar. Regardless of whether they have funded an activity, or provided goods or services, they have played a part in bringing festive cheer to the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital this Christmas.   “There is something extremely special about seeing the joy on a child’s face when something out of the ordinary happens – whether it’s finding a new toy in the Archie Toy Box on their ward, or hearing carols being sung in the hospital. Little changes to the day make a significant difference to those who find themselves in hospital at this time of year.”  The Archie Foundation exists to transform experiences and outcomes in healthcare and bereavement for babies, children and families across North Scotland, including Aberdeen, Elgin, Inverness and Dundee.   The charity’s vision is that all children in the region will have equal access to world-class healthcare and bereavement support, delivered in a child-appropriate environment and manner.  To find out how you can support The Archie Foundation this festive season, visit  Visit for more information about the practical, financial and emotional support available from The Archie Foundation.   

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