Exeter Chiefs host surprise story session at local hospice
- Credit: Gallagher
Gallagher Premiership Rugby stars Joe Simmonds, Jack Maunder and Tom O’Flaherty delighted kids and their families from Children’s Hospice South West, as they joined them virtually to read a bedtime story.
The surprise session was hosted by insurance broker, and title partner of Premiership Rugby, Gallagher, as part of its Tackling Tomorrow. Together initiative.
Through Gallagher, Children’s Hospice South West has been paired with Exeter Chiefs to help heighten awareness of the charity’s invaluable community work among new audiences, in recognition of its resilience during the pandemic.
Keen to give back to the local community, the Exeter Chiefs players popped up unexpectedly via Zoom to read bedtime stories to children with life-limiting conditions and their families who are cared for by their local hospice, as well as bereaved families who still have strong links with their hospice.
The children and their families were treated to a reading of Jack Maunder’s motivational kids’ book ‘Bounce Back Jack’, and afterwards chatted about the players’ personal experiences of times when they have overcome setbacks and shown resilience.
A highlight of the session was Joe Simmonds giving a rousing pep talk to a little boy who spoke up about struggling at football. Joe shared his own experience of not being good enough when playing for the Torquay United football academy which led to his transition into rugby.
His words inspired the young boy to tell the group and his family that he did not want to give up – a heart-warming moment for both the families and players, which resonated with the theme of resilience in Jack’s book and Gallagher’s campaign.
Jack Maunder, Exeter Chiefs Scrum-half, commented: “Gallagher’s campaign provided us with a platform to talk about resilience with some of the most resilient families in the country.
Reading my book to those at Children’s Hospice South West was a humbling experience and it was incredibly moving to hear that, after the session, parents heard their children say that they weren’t going to give up, they are going to keep trying - embracing the power of hope.
The ‘Tackling Tomorrow Together’ initiative has allowed us to make a difference during these tough times.”