Yorkshire players and staff visited the Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary late last week, handing out Christmas presents and talking to patients, parents and hospital staff.
The Children’s Congenital Heart Unit are supported by the club’s former charity partner, The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), with Dickie Bird MBE an ambassador for the latter.
Dickie led the contingent of White Rose players – Ben Coad, Jordan Thompson, Will Fraine, Ed Barnes and Katie Levick – on Thursday afternoon.
This was Coad’s second successive Christmas visit to hand out gifts which had been paid for by Yorkshire’s players and staff.
“It’s obviously not somewhere the kids and parents want to be, especially at Christmas,” said the new ball seamer. “So it’s nice to give a couple of presents and put a smile on someone’s face.
“You can give them a break from what they are going through. It’s a tough time for the parents as well, and it is very humbling to come here.
“It’s good to see so many of our lads down here.
“I came last year and wanted to come back to give something back for the great work they do.”
White Rose women’s leg-spinner Levick echoed Coad’s thoughts on the annual festive visit, something which is replicated by many sporting teams up and down the country.
She said: “It’s an eye-opening experience, but it’s lovely to get around and see some of the kids at this time of year. Hopefully we brought them a smile or two.
“It’s hard to put into words how brilliant the staff are here and the work they do. Some of the babies are only 28 days old, so you can only imagine the skill that goes into surgery on such small hearts.
“It’s a fantastic facility here.”
Levick, Yorkshire women’s all-time leading wicket-taker, went on: “You get given a platform like this, and it’s important to give back to the community that supports you through the season.
“It’s just so nice to have had all of us here.”
Sharon Milner, chief executive of CHSF, added: “It’s just great. I’ve been saying that it lifts the spirits of the families, but it also lifts the spirits of the staff.
“All of our families are from this region, so it means a lot to have Yorkshire County Cricket Club here visiting us.
“It breaks the days up, and it’s a talking point for everyone here. They tell their families that Yorkshire players have been here to visit us. It’s really meaningful.
“Having Dickie here, a Yorkshire legend helps. Our nurses love that. There’s a lot of photos!
“It’s very positive all round, and we’re very grateful.”