Eagles delight children at North Tyneside hospital
Youngsters at North Tyneside General Hospital enjoyed a taste of the razzmatazz of top-flight basketball today (Wednesday) when players from Newcastle Eagles swooped in.
Just two days from their opening game of the season on Friday, stars visited the Children’s Ward and brought along giant foam hands for the youngsters to cheer the side to glory.
Team players Fabulous Flournoy, Charles Smith, Rahmon Fletcher and Ricky Taylor met young patients and their families and showed them the British Basketball League (BBL) trophy they won last season.
It is part of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s partnership with the basketball club to deliver its ‘Hoops for Health’ community programme working with youngsters across Northumberland and North Tyneside.
For the past year, the basketball players have been working with hundreds of schoolchildren to support both Northumbria Healthcare’s health improvement activity and help develop artwork ideas for the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital.
The art competition attracted 1,000 entries of drawings and poetry and the trust plans to incorporate the work in a specially-designed display for the children’s unit in the new hospital. This year’s project will be launched in the near future.
It was the first time Newcastle Eagles have visited the ward and it went down a treat with young patients, their families and staff.
Carole Clayton, ward manager on the Children’s Ward, said: “It was fantastic to welcome the Newcastle Eagles players to the ward and for the young patients to experience a flavour of a basketball match while they are in hospital.
“The youngsters were so pleased to see them and we are so grateful that the players took the time to come to visit us so close to their opening game of the season.
“Our trust’s partnership with the Eagles has been a great success so far and we have received some extremely positive feedback from the schools. We look forward to continuing to work with them.”
Fabulous Flournoy, player coach at Newcastle Eagles, said: “It has been a pleasure working with Northumbria Healthcare over the last 12 months and we were only too pleased to come into the hospital to see the young patients.
“This partnership has allowed us to expand our ‘Hoops for Health’ programme as an arts project and we have been overwhelmed by its success. We hope to continue to work together this coming season to provide even more opportunities for us to engage with our communities.”
Newcastle Eagles’ opening games of the season is against Worcester Wolves at home on Friday (26 September).