The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Children’s plea to sports stars
● Patients hope candidates for BBC awards can find time to pay them a visit
Patients at a hospital in Aberdeen have been writing letters to some of the UK’s biggest sports stars asking them to visit them at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital ahead of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.
More than a dozen children sent letters to their favourite stars, hoping for an early Christmas present when they are in Aberdeen for the awards ceremony at P&J Live on December 15.
One 15-year-old patient said that a visit from people the children “admire and idolise” would brighten their day.
Another letter, signed by Grady, said: “I feel your visit could mean a lot and could put a smile on some of the children’s faces.
“I would hope that you would be able to tell them stories of your sporting achievements.”
Amy, who was in Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital for a check-up, took the time to write a letter asking sports stars to consider visiting the children who haven’t been able to go home yet.
She said: “As I sit here writing and waiting to be seen by my oncology doctor for my yearly checkup, I can hear children screaming as they get their bloods done.
“It makes me remember how I felt when I was in the same position – out of control.
“The reality for me was that I spent most of my time in the hospital, not having fun like most children are.
“I might be better now, but there are still children whose reality is just as I described.
“I know that it would have meant the world to me to see some of my favourite sports heroes and even though this is not my reality now, I write to you to ask you to come and put a smile on their faces and give them a memory from hospital that’s not all about the medical things.”
The hospital has recently been the focus of a BBC Scotland series, with a second series having been confirmed for next year.
Play service manager at the hospital, Heather Beattie, said: “One of the children had the idea to invite some of the sports personality award attendees, and the idea has grown from there.
“Some of the letters are addressed to individual sports stars while others are addressed generally to attendees.
“Most of the children have said they’d love it if Andy Murray or Lewis Hamilton could make time to come and see them.
“Others would love to see athletes, including Katarina Johnson-Thompson, and some of our gymnasts.
“We’ll just have to hope they see the letters and have time to come and say ‘hello’ – we’ve our fingers crossed.”
One letter, addressed to the recently-crowned F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, from a 10-yearold cystic fibrosis patient, said: “I think the children that have to stay in hospital would love you and others sportspeople to come and visit them while you are up in Aberdeen.”