Manchester United midfielder, Juan Mata surprised children in Oldham yesterday as he delivered toys that he has personally donated to Manchester United Foundation for a fourth consecutive year.
Beever Primary School, Royton Hall Primary School and The Royal Oldham Hospital were delighted to receive a personal visit from the United star who took time out to meet young fans.
Stunned pupils at Beever Primary School gasped in excitement as the Reds midfielder walked into their school assembly before handing out gifts to a year 2 class and having a kick-about with the school’s year 6 football team.
Mata then made the short journey to Royton Primary School, dropping in on a Spanish lesson before heading over to The Royal Oldham Hospital where he visited young fans and families on the children’s ward.
Speaking about his fourth consecutive year of giving back to the Greater Manchester community Mata said: “It’s been another great day coming to schools around Manchester and especially today in Oldham with some gifts. It’s great, it’s one of the best things that football gives you, the chance to give back and speak about your sport and your life to so many kids and try to put a smile on their faces.”
Commenting on the reaction from the children, he added: “It’s fantastic, we saw a little girl coming out of one of the schools with one of her gifts and she was very happy. These are little things for us, but to them it means a lot, and they can remember this day as a happy day.”
Aaliyah, a patient on the children’s ward at The Royal Oldham Hospital, is a big United fan and was thrilled to meet Mata: “I was very, very excited, he signed my shirt which was amazing!”
The Royal Oldham Hospital’s Divisional Director of Nursing, Women and Children’s, Kathryn Kinks, was grateful for the boost it has given the children’s ward and said: “On behalf of all the children, parents and staff at The Royal Oldham Hospital we’d like to pass on our sincere thanks to Juan Mata for taking the time to come and visit the children and distribute gifts.”
She added: “The children were overjoyed to see him and receive presents and have their photograph taken. Juan demonstrated a very caring and compassionate approach and spent time with each and every child on the ward, a real credit to his football club.”