A very special present

Holding little George Bond-Upton is Billy Sharp, along with James Coppinger, Martin Woods and John Oster. Picture: Glenn Ashley

Holding little George Bond-Upton is Billy Sharp, along with James Coppinger, Martin Woods and John Oster. Picture: Glenn Ashley

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ROVERS striker Billy Sharp put aside his own grief to cuddle a baby boy during the club’s annual Doncaster Royal Infirmary Christmas visit.

Despite the recent death of son Luey Jacob at just two days old, brave Billy cradled Angela Bond’s newborn.

The Hatfield mum was overcome with emotion after hearing of Billy’s recent bereavement during the visit to 22-week-old George Bond-Upton’s bed.

“I thought it was brilliant that they should come and Billy was lovely holding George, I just didn’t realise how significant it was.

“It’s really good of him to do that because it must have made him think about his little boy,” said Angela, who was also visited by Rovers stars Martin Woods, Simon Gillett and John Oster who came with Christmas presents.

The event was even more special as almost the entire Rovers squad turned up to meet the young patients and their parents before giving each child a present.

Sprotbrough mum Claire Carey, whose five-year-old son Owen was being treated for pneumonia, said she had showed him YouTube clips of the Rovers stars because he was not old enough to see them play at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“His dad Dan is waiting until he is a bit older to take him to see a Rovers match,” said Mrs Carey, 29, of Folder Lane.

“Brian Stock was really nice to Owen, he really made an effort to talk to him.

“Owen loves to play football, he’s always doing it during play-time at his school Orchard Infant with his best friend Patrick.

“He was so happy to see the players and he loved his present, it’s called Pop ‘n’ Hop - he keeps beating his grandma when they play it, he’s been laughing because we keep catching him cheating.”

Little Kalem Greaves was too young at five-weeks-old to know about the visit, but mum Emma was delighted to see the Championship footballing stars.

“Kalem’s got bronchiolitis so it has been a really awful time and quite stressful especially at Christmas, but to have the players visit was really nice,” said 28-year-old Emma, of Market Street, Highfields.

Lucy Travis, 11, a pupil at Wath’s Saint Pius X Catholic High School, also received a pep talk during the visit.

Brian Stock, who has three children aged seven, three and five-months said: “It means a lot to the players because many of us have children so we can relate to what they are going through.

“If it means our visit puts a smile on a child’s face then it is worth it. We want to do as much as we can for the children and parents.

“Although I’ve luckily not been in the same position as some of these parents, it’s something every parent thinks about and we hope that as many as possible will all be home in time for Christmas.”

Rovers full-back Sam Hird, who has a one-year-old son, added: “It’s really nice to visit the children and show them our support.”