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Everton squad spread some Christmas cheer

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Roberto Martinez and his players visit the new Alder Hey hospital.

Steve Bardens/Getty Images

The Everton squad took a break from training this week to visit Alder Hey children's hospital, spreading some Christmas cheer to young people and their families.

Roberto Martinez and his players gave out Everton-related gifts to the children and their families, many of whom will be spending Christmas in hospital.

Everton have made the annual Christmas visit to Alder Hey for several years but this was the first time they had been to the new £250m campus opened earlier this year.

The club has strong ties with the facility through its charity 'Everton in the Community'.

Tony Hibbert and club ambassador Graeme Sharp then visited Claire House children's hospice in Wirral, while the rest of the squad went to the annual Junior Blues' Christmas Party at Goodison Park.

Everton's first-team players have been handing out gifts to patients at Alder Hey children's hospital this afternoon. Read more here: http://www.evertonfc.com/news/2015/12/15/blues-visit-alder-hey #EFC

Posted by Everton Football Club on Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The previous day Sharp, Graham Stuart and Ian Snodin visited three other local hospitals; Woodlands Hospice in Aintree, the children’s wards at Whiston Hospital and the stroke rehabilitation ward at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

Leighton Baines is an official patron of the Alder Hey Children's Charity and was given a guided tour of the new hospital when it was opened last year.

Speaking on his visit on Tuesday, Baines said:

"It's a fantastic facility and even though I've been here a few times now I'm still blown away by what they have achieved. To be able to come here with the rest of the lads today and see so many smiles on the kids' faces is a privilege.
"There's never a nice time for children to be poorly but this is a particularly difficult time for them and their families, so if us being here can just brighten their afternoon for a few hours then it's important we do that.
"As a patron of the hospital's charity I would like to send all the patients, staff and families my best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."