St Nicholas Hospice Care was buzzing on Tuesday when four tractor boys visited to spend time with patients, staff and volunteers.
Ipswich Town Football Club players Michael Chopra, Scott Loach, Josh Carson and Jack Ainsley were accompanied by ex-player Simon Milton for the festive visit.
The players spent time with Orchard Day Therapy patients and handed out gifts bought by the team, including warm fleece blankets and confectionery.
Patient Leslie Miller, of Haverhill, said: “I’m overwhelmed. This is my first time at the day centre and I can’t believe this has happened.”
Patients Edna Tamsett, of Sudbury, and Janet Johnson, of Haverhill, were especially keen to get up close and personal with the players, insisting on cuddles and kisses.
After leaving the Orchard Centre Michael, Scott, Josh, Jack and Simon visited the Hospice’s inpatient Sylvan Ward, where they were greeted by enthusiastic nurses and nursing assistants wearing ‘Tractor Girls’ badges made for the occasion.
The players signed autographs and programmes and handed a calendar signed by the entire squad to the ward, before chatting to inpatients Joseph Arastey [corr] and Stan Sims.
Hospice spokeswoman Laura Beardsell-Moore said: “We were delighted the players gave up their time to visit the Hospice and that they generously spent their own money on gifts.
“Seeing the looks on patients’ faces as the players walked in was incredible. Christmas can be tough if you are not feeling well, but this visit lifted everybody’s spirits.”
The players also gave the Hospice £100 in vouchers, which will be used to help complete the refurbishment of the Hospice’s family room.