Leeds Rhinos stars make Christmas dreams come true
Leeds Rhinos stars Kieran Hudson and Corey Johnson surprised over 20 Leeds Rhinos mega fans with a special visit to a Christmas party hosted by Community Integrated Care.
Alongside club mascot Ronnie the Rhino and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation charity team, the players took the short trip from AMT Headingley Stadium to Broad Lane supported living service, where they were given a warm, festive welcome by a host of Rhinos superfans keen to meet the Super League stars.
With Christmas anthems and party food flowing, Kieran, Corey and Ronnie met and took photos with people supported by the charity and colleagues, playing rugby ball in the garden and signing the shirts of the delighted partygoers.
Hosted to celebrate people in the local community benefitting from a unique connection between the Leeds Rhinos and our charity.
Through inclusion programmes delivered in collaboration with the Rugby League giants over many years, including the award-winning Inclusive Volunteering Programme and Learning Disability Super League team, people accessing care are being supported to explore their talents, get active in their communities, make new friends, develop life skills, and find confidence.
William Stapleton, who is supported by Community Integrated Care shared how special this experience was for him.
“That was amazing! I can’t believe the Leeds Rhinos players came to our Christmas party. It was so exciting to meet them both and to see Ronnie the Rhino too.
“Kieran and Corey signed my Leeds Rhinos shirt too and we took a photo together. I told them about my volunteering on Leeds Rhinos matchdays and they were very impressed.
“It was a dream come true. I can’t wait to tell my friends and family all about it.”
Corey Johnson, Leeds Rhinos Hooker said this about the experience: “It’s really good for us as players, and important for us to give back to our community and support brilliant charity’s like Community Integrated Care.
“The people I’ve met today are the heart and soul of Leeds, I’ve met some wonderful people and enjoyed hearing about their fantastic work supporting people with learning disabilities.
“We know that Christmas can often be a tough time for some people, so it was great for me and Kieran to represent the club and bring some festive cheer for all.”
Lewis Webster, Sports Inclusion Communications Manager at Community Integrated Care, said that having the support of Leeds Rhinos and their players makes a life changing impact. He explained, “The people we support and our colleagues from across our Leeds services were absolutely delighted to welcome both Kieran and Corey to this special festive party at Broad Lane.
“Both celebrating this immense partnership we’ve developed with the club, and the positive impact this is having on the lives of so many in the region, we were thrilled to have the support of two Super League stars, with their surprise appearance going down a hit!
“Kieran and Corey were exceptional in their support and generous with their time, chatting with everyone, taking photos, signing shirts, and even gifting a Leeds Rhinos first team signed squad shirt to the service’s residents as special festive gift.
“We would like to thank the club, players, and Leeds Rhinos Foundation team for making this magical moment possible, and for their continued support. These memories will be treasured forever.”