Tom Edwards has been named Stoke City community champion for 2020 at a time when the club has received wide acclaim for its work away from football.
The 21-year-old right-back retains his PFA title from last season thanks to his desire to help however and whenever he can around the Potteries and Staffordshire.
He was a regular visitor to schools and community groups before the lockdown – and has been trying to find new ways to help those most in need over the last few months too.
But there is one particular place just down the road from the bet365 Stadium which is proving really close to his heart.
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He said: “I enjoy being out in the community and meeting people, hearing their stories and being able to support them in any way I can.
“But, if I was to choose just one, then visiting the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice really sticks out to me.
“They are a fantastic charity and the children have the biggest smiles on their faces when we turn up. They were all incredibly confident, were eager to give us a tour around and show us all the great work the staff involved are doing.
“I knew of the work the Donna Louise did before but to see what they do, that really hit me.
“They work incredibly hard and, despite the reason why children are there, it is such a great place that deserves all the recognition it receives.”
Edwards, the Academy graduate from Stafford, was inspired by teammates Danny Batth and James McClean to get in touch with his local hospital to see how he could make a difference during the coronavirus pandemic.
That saw him turn up armed with dozens of carrier bags of goodies for children at Royal Stoke over Easter.
He said in an interview for the club website: “We have all seen how difficult the situation has been, particularly for those working in care who have gone a long time without seeing family or loved ones because they are in the thick of it all.
“One of my close friends and I came up with the idea that it was a tough time for people to get out and about, so we went to Longton Tesco and brought as many essentials as possible for the staff.
“We purchased many things such as hand creams, face masks and other products that will help them through these tough times.
“We also thought it was a good idea to buy hundreds of Easter eggs for the children at the hospital. It’s not easy being young and in hospital during normal times, so we wanted to make sure they woke up Easter morning with an egg because we didn’t want anybody to miss out.”