We were excited to welcome Chelsea FC footballer Antonio (Toni) Rüdiger on a surprise visit to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Toni wanted to say thank you and farewell to hospital staff and patients before his departure from the club at the end of the season. Organised by CW+ and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Toni spent a whole afternoon in the hospital and delivered presents, signed autographs and posed for pictures with patients on the wards.
The defender gave a warm-hearted visit, spreading excitement across the hospital as he visited paediatric wards, putting smiles on faces of young patients and their families. Toni also spent time meeting staff from the hospital’s Adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU), who have worked on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a token of his appreciation, he gave gifts to the children which were all gratefully received and donated to the staff Health and Wellbeing Programme.
Toni has regularly supported CW+ during his five years at Chelsea FC, showing thanks and solidarity to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital staff, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, he sent cakes and soft drinks to say thank you to hospital staff on his birthday and allowed CW+ to take over his Instagram for the day in a show of support for the Trust for their work in the pandemic.
During the visit Toni Rüdiger said: “I’ve fully enjoyed visiting Chelsea and Westminster Hospital over the years. It’s always been important to me to come out into the community and show my support, and once again it’s been a real pleasure to meet both patients and staff who are such an inspiration. The hospital and staff are incredible and work tirelessly to deliver the best possible care – thank you for everything you do – I will miss you all!”
Dominic Conlin, Hospital Director at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, added: “We would like to say a big thank you to Toni for his time and for his support and generosity over the years. There has been a real buzz around the hospital and it means so much to the staff to know that Toni has supported them. The visit has especially brightened up the day of our younger patients and their families. It’s such a boost for them to meet one of their heroes and be inspired, and it makes a real difference to their care and experience.”
This special visit saw Toni visit Apollo and Mercury Wards as well as ICU and the hospital’s indoor botanical Sky Garden, which was funded by CW+ and aims to support the cognitive function, wellbeing, and rehabilitation of patients in intensive care.