Manchester United stars Romelu Lukaku, Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind brought festive cheer to patients at The Christie’s Palatine Treatment Centre, home to the teenage and young adult unit and haematology and transplant inpatient unit, as part of a surprise Christmas visit.

The players spent time chatting with patients, handing out Christmas presents and even challenged a couple of patients to a game of table football in the social space in the teenage and young adult unit.

Christie patient, Avi Treuhaft, 19 from Salford, was there for the visit. He said: “Meeting the players was such a nice experience. I’m a Manchester United fan and went to the match last week. It was brilliant to be able to give them my feedback on the game! It really brightened up my day.”

The players also gave out presents and signed Manchester United goodies and posed for pictures with patients and their families.

The £12m Palatine Treatment Centre opened at The Christie in 2014 and is a state of the art three storey purpose built centre for teenage and young adults and haematology and transplant patients. Around a third of young patients at The Christie have blood-related cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has been ranked ‘Outstanding’ by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which referred to it as ‘exceptional’ and ‘a leader in its field’. It not only commended the Trust for its effectiveness and care, but highlighted its work in shaping the future of cancer care and noted the reach and influence of its clinical research projects. The CQC also rated The Christie the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.