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."
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After a long, hard battle to return to fitness, Henry Trinder made his long awaited comeback in the second half of the 23-10 win over Zebre on Saturday and admitted he was taken aback by the reception he got from the Kingsholm crowd.
21 year old number eight Lewis Ludlow formed part of a physical back row effort in the 23-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup over Zebre on Saturday. Speaking to GRTV after the game, he spoke of making the most of his chances and being happy to contribute to the Gloucester win.
Gloucester United kick off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Monday evening (kick off 7pm) and have named a side which features lots of first team experience.