Santa Claus is not normally known as an especially competent footballer, but for the patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital their present bringers certainly were.

That is because the football stars from Charlton and Millwall visited the patients at the Woolwich hospital in their annual Christmas visit.

Sick children, elderly and cancer patients all received gifts from the footballers, who turned up with sacks full of presents playing as Santa rather than as a holding midfielder.

Taran Virdi, a young patient at UHL’s children’s ward said: “I am over the moon. Seeing Millwall was like having an early Christmas present.”

Tony Craig, Millwall captain, said: “It’s very important for the club to be recognised in the local community. For some of the boys to come down here today to put a smile on people’s faces is worth every moment.”

Charlton manager Karl Robinson said: “Christmas is a time when family and loved ones spend a lot of time together so it’s so sad that due to illness people don’t get the opportunity to spend it at home but have to be in hospital.

“I’m very proud of the players today. The way they conducted themselves was exceptional. It’s something they’ve all embraced – the fact you can put a smile on young people’s faces.

Diane McGowan, a paediatric secretary at the Trust, was in the hospital with her daughter and baby granddaughter Harley.

She said: “They really are great bunch of guys, a very community spirited team. It's lovely to see them interact with the children and also the staff.

“Harley will be told about his meeting with the Charlton team and as his granddad is an avid Charlton fan and season ticket holder, I'm sure he will be encouraged to support them as team when he is older.”