Dons play Santa on children’s ward

CHRISTMAS is a traditionally a family time, but not everyone in Milton Keynes will be able to spend it at home this year.

A group of players and staff from MK Dons took time out of their schedules to visit the children’s ward in Milton Keynes Hospital to hand out presents to some of the youngsters who will be spending their time away from the comfort of their own home, and to the parents who will spend Christmas by their bedsides.

MK Dons team members visit the children's ward 'at MK Hopsital to hand out Christmas gifts to youngsters.'20/12/11 with Toby Lock'VIDEO STILLS ONLY Natalee Hazelwood'IN THE PICTURE:'5 year old Emma Gibney is recovering from a chest infection with Dons players.

MK Dons team members visit the children's ward 'at MK Hopsital to hand out Christmas gifts to youngsters.'20/12/11 with Toby Lock'VIDEO STILLS ONLY Natalee Hazelwood'IN THE PICTURE:'5 year old Emma Gibney is recovering from a chest infection with Dons players.

Manager Karl Robinson said: “Our job is to bring happiness to people at this time of year. It’s more important than winning football matches. I was gutted after Saturday, but coming here really puts things into perspective. The players want to come here and do this is great credit to them.

“It’s especially humbling, I’ve got a five-year-old daughter and the thought of not having her by my side on Christmas morning is something I’d find it very hard to come to terms with. A lot of the parents in the ward will have that dreaded feeling of waking up in there on Christmas morning. If we can make them smile for an hour while we’re here, I’d do it every day.

“One or two of the kids have reminded me that we lost on Saturday, but they were happy to see us. We’ve got a commitment to the city and to help improve people’s lives. It’s a pleasure to come here and make children smile and it always goes down well.”

Striker Jabo Ibehre said he hoped he and his team-mates helped brightened up some of the children’s days.

He said: “It really is humbling. You see the really tiny babies, four months old, in the ward and you just want to cuddle them.

“It’s nice to see the positive impact we have on them, and making their day the best we can, for the parents and nurses too who are doing a great job down there.

“There’s one lad in there who has just had his appendix out, and we saw their eyes light up and it’s touching that you can have that effect on people.

“It’s fantastic that the awareness is there and we do our best to get out into the community and it’s the least we can do.”

Video recorded by Natalee Hazelwood.