United stars visit children's hospice and take on patients at FIFA 14
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic delivered three PlayStation 4s, along with games and controllers Francis House Children’s Hospice
Manchester United footballers Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand with youngsters at Francis House Children's Hospice
Manchester United stars Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic displayed the kind of form their team has been lacking when they visited sick patients at Francis House Children’s Hospice.
The defensive duo dropped in to deliver three PlayStation 4s, along with games and controllers, and ended up with a win and a draw after challenging some of the youngsters to FIFA 14.
The visit allowed sick young children to mingle with the players and pose for photographs as they battled it out on the football game.
Rio, 35, said: “The club has a close relationship with the hospice and the lads enjoy seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces as well as meeting the families who receive such great support and care.”
Francis House provides care for many terminally ill children who suffer from diseases including cancer and degenerative neuromuscular conditions.
The club works with the hospice through Manchester United Foundation, who organised the event, and together they have raised nearly £700,000 in the last seven years.
Next month, the Didsbury site will open a new £3.5 million seven-bedroom extension, allowing the hospice to care for more youngsters.
Reds fan Patrick Kelly, nine, from Sale, has been coming to Francis House since he was three and was quick to get an autograph from Rio, before the two played FIFA 14.
“It’s all been really fun and exciting and I got to play a game even though sadly I lost,” said Patrick.
“I can now say I’ve played a game of football for Manchester United against Rio Ferdinand.”
Paul, Patrick’s father, added: “Days like this are superb as Patrick can just be himself. Next time we’ll have to challenge Rio to a game of power chair football.”
Christian Darlington, 16, from Milnrow, Rochdale, matched up against United captain, Vidic, and held the 32-year-old Serb to a draw.
He said: “It was a special treat to meet the players and it was great to play Vidic on the PlayStation.”
Francis House chief executive, David Ireland, said visits like these mean the world to the children.
He said: “There was real excitement when Rio and Nemanja came through the doors. Francis House is all about making the most of life and cramming in as many great experiences into as short a time as possible.”
The charity is now seeking daredevils to raise funds by abseiling from the roof of Old Trafford on March 22.