ENGLAND football manager Gareth Southgate has made a special Christmas visit to a children's hospice in West Yorkshire.

He chatted to wheelchair footballers and football fans who use Martin House, near Wetherby, during his visit, as well as posing for pictures and signing football shirts and balls.

During his visit, Gareth posed for photos with Jack Britton, from Bradford, and Kacie-May Jones and Seb Copeland, from the Wakefield district.

About a third of the children and young people at the hospice are from the Bradford district.

Gareth said: “Whenever I come here and see not only the enjoyment on the faces of the young people, but also the enthusiasm and pride of the staff, it is such a special place."

Gareth has been a long-term supporter of Martin House, as a charity local to him.

Martin House cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions from Bradford and across West, North and East Yorkshire, including providing respite stays, support in the community, emergency care, end of life care and bereavement support.

Clair Holdsworth, director of care at Martin House, said: “It’s been a really exciting visit for all of us. We’ve got lots of young people who play football in wheelchairs, and football is a big part of their lives, so for them to have the chance to meet Gareth is amazing.

“He was so interested and engaged in what they were saying, I know this will be a memory they and their families treasure.”

For more information about Martin House, and how to support it, visit www.martinhouse.org.uk.