MEMBERS of Gloucester's first team squad delivered a little Christmas spirit to local children last week when they visited the Battledown Children's Ward at Cheltenham General Hospital to deliver presents to patients.
Organised by Duncan McRae, the Gloucester stand-off, a number of the Kingsholm stars took time out to deliver a sack-load of goodwill to children who will be in hospital over the festive period.
McRae organised a donation from every player in the Gloucester squad and management team and went on a spending spree at Toys 'R' Us.
The result was a huge number of gifts for local children and McRae told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "I had seen in the past that football teams often pay a visit to hospitals at Christmas and I just thought it was a great opportunity for us to put something back into the community.
"Some of these kids put a lot of effort into supporting us and I wanted the club to put a little bit back when they are not very fortunate.
"When you see and hear that some of the children will be in hospital over Christmas, it puts everything else in your life into perspective and to pay a visit and drop off some presents was the least we could do."
McRae was joined by team-mates Olly Morgan, James Parkes, Jon Goodridge, Rob Thirlby and Brad Davies for an hour or so last week.
Claire Hunt, who is the ward manager on Battledown, said: "We certainly had some very excited children during the visit and we would like to thank Gloucester Rugby and the players very much for their generosity. It really was fantastic to see them."
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Speaking to the local media after the 35-22 loss at Wasps, lock Tom Savage spoke of his disappointment at the result, with Gloucester left to rue a number of missed opportunities against a clinical home side.
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.