Academy trio spread community cheer

Three of Liverpool’s promising young players spent a day bringing cheer to children in the community recently when they paid a visit to the Royal School for the Blind and Alder Hey hospital.

Academy trio Henoc Mukendi, Yusuf Mersin and Villyan Bijev were a credit to the club as they firstly visited the pupils at the school in Wavertree before moving on to Alder Hey to hand out some presents to the children on the wards.

The visit to Alder Hey is part of a new ongoing initiative, which will see Academy starlets visit the hospital each month.

Clive Cook, Academy education and welfare officer, told “It’s important for the players to come to initiatives like this, it helps them to put things into perspective because a setback for them can just be a loss of form, whereas a setbacks for these children happen every day.

“Its very inspirational for the players and what they can learn is that despite the unfortunate circumstances, these children are still really happy.”

Christine Done, head of fundraising at Alder Hey, said: “I think what Liverpool are trying to do with the Academy players is a really good thing – it’s really given them a grounding and shown them there is something outside of football.

“It can be very difficult for the children when they’re in hospital, so it’s fantastic that the players have come in, brightened up their day, cheered them up and given out some lovely gifts.”

During the visit, the players saw a number of children going through rehabilitation following serious injuries.

Villyan Bijev said: “As a professional football player we live with the fear of injuries, and to see how these kids deal with it is very inspiring.

“We brought some presents and when we handed it to the children they just lit up. It was great to see.”

Earlier in the day the players had visited the children at the Royal School for the Blind – the oldest blind school in the country.

All of the schools pupils are blind or visually impaired, but also have various particular needs as well.

The players, accompanied by the European Cup and League Cup trophies, joined in with a sing-along with the help of club chaplain Bill Bygroves, much to the delight of all the children.

Bygroves said: “You could see today the pick-me-up it brought to the whole school.

“These young people are inspirational – and it’s a privilege for our club to be associated with the school.”

Joseph Byrne OBE, the school’s headmaster, also spoke of his delight at the players visit, adding: “We are coming towards the end of term and I’ve been promising the children something special the day before we finish. The Liverpool players turned up, their promise and everyone had a lovely time.”

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