Youngsters taking part in a Bath Rugby Foundation programme have teamed up with Bath Rugby stars to put smiles on the faces of children stuck in hospital this Christmas.

The group of teenagers who are taking part in the National Citizenship Service (NCS) programme decided to set up a Christmas toy collection – The Joy of Giving – and donate the toys to children who are spending the festive period in Bath’s RUH.

And the NCS group had some extra help from Bath Rugby’s players and coaches in handing over the gifts in the Children’s Ward after Bath Rugby Foundation teamed up with the Forever Friends Appeal, the RUH’s official charity.

The NCS programme has been led by Bath Rugby Foundation Senior Coach, Becks Toan. She said: “The NCS course has seen the teenagers take on a number a challenges over the past few months, including a challenge to create a community of charity event. 

“They chose to help children who are having a tough time at Christmas, which just shows what a generous group of young adults they are.

“Once the Joy of Giving was created and word spread we had wonderful support from the public in Bath, with many members of the public arriving at our office with gifts, events company Cow Parsley who turned up with a large haul of toys and city businesses The Entertainer and M&S who invited us into their stores to collect incredibly generous donations.”

Bath Rugby players and coaches played the role of Santa’s elves and handed over the presents at the RUH.

Bath Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Stuart Hooper, said: “We were delighted to be able to help Bath Rugby Foundation deliver the gifts and it was lovely to see so many happy faces.

"It’s tough to be in hospital during the festive season and hopefully Bath Rugby and Bath Rugby Foundation have spread a little extra Christmas joy.”

Club captain, Charlie Ewels, said: “As a club we are very proud of the life-changing work Bath Rugby Foundation do in our city. It is wonderful that this idea came from the young people themselves and as a club we are delighted to be involved.”

RUH Play Specialist Jo Powell said: “We’re really grateful to Bath Rugby Foundation for their generous gifts and to the players who gave their time to visit the children.

"Entertainment and play is a crucial part of the care we offer our young patients, helping them during their time in hospital and in their recovery.

"Thank you for brightening their day.”

Learn more about the NCS programme here