Gareth Southgate met some inspirational children and their families at a children’s hospice in Yorkshire.
The Three Lions manager surprised youngsters at Martin House in Boston Spa when he turned up bearing Christmas gifts in the form of England goody bags supplied by The FA.
Southgate helped get the party in the festive swing of things by spending hours chatting with children, families and staff as well as posing for photos and signing autographs.
Martin House provides family-led care and support for children and young people with life-limiting conditions from the Grove Road facility.
Based near his Yorkshire home, it’s a place that the England boss knows well and he was delighted to help add to the Christmas cheer.
“I think in football we have the opportunity to bring moments of happiness to people when they watch us but also when we spend some time to visit a place like Martin House and remind ourselves how fortunate we are,” said Southgate.
“It certainly puts life into perspective and I’ve been able to make some young people very happy.
“We’re in a privileged position to be able to have an impact away from what we do on the field.
“I’ve been here before and my wife has done some fundraising in the past, it’s an incredible place.
“It provides care for people who really need that attention and that time to allow families to recharge.
“Looking after children with the conditions they have got is really hard and difficult for the families so Martin House is a very special place.”
Martin’s House needs at least £6 million a year to provide vital services to children with life-shortening conditions, the majority of which come from fundraising and voluntary donations.
Martin Warhurst, chief executive of Martin House, said: “Gareth made a huge impression on everyone, he took so much time to talk to our children and families.”