Arsenal stars bring festive cheer to sick children

Arsenal stars swapped their footballs for Christmas presents as they visited sick children at the Whittington Hospital.

Alex Eckersley (pictured) was one of the young patients on the Ifor Ward to get a gift from footballers Van Persie, Theo Walcott, Tomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said: “It was clear from all the smiling faces that the surprise visit was a success among the children, with plenty of new toys to play with and the chance for many to meet their heroes.”