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Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers and fiance Charlotte spend Christmas morning with NI Hospice patients

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers spent Christmas Day morning visiting hospice patients and staff.

The former Liverpool boss called in to the Northern Ireland Hospice in Belfast with his fiancee Charlotte Searle.

The Co Antrim-born coach is a high-profile supporter of hospice services in his homeland, having experienced first-hand the care they provided his father Malachy as he battled cancer.

Rodgers, a hospice ambassador, donated the proceeds of his late parents' house sale to the charity earlier this year and also ran the Belfast marathon to raise further funds.

During his Christmas visit he handed over a £26,000 donation for the children's hospice in Belfast from himself and Celtic first team players.

"Visiting patients, families and staff today at Hospice has once again been a humbling experience for me - but on today of all days, the visit serves as a poignant reminder to me and hopefully everyone out there, of the importance of spending quality time with family and loved ones," he said.

"The memory of my time spent at Hospice today will stay with me for a very long time and I would like to wish all those families who I met today, and families everywhere, a peaceful and merry Christmas.

"I would also take this opportunity to acknowledge the incredible staff and volunteers here at Hospice who are working extremely hard to make this day extra special for the patients and families."

NI Hospice president and Ulster Television anchor Paul Clark accompanied the Celtic manager on his visit.

In a tradition dating back many years, Mr Clark and his family spend time at the hospice each Christmas Day.

Claire Bradshaw, head of communications at NI Hospice, said: "Since becoming an ambassador earlier this year, Brendan has given his time selflessly to support the work of NI Hospice and of course his generosity in terms of funding has been of huge help to us here at Hospice."

To support the work of NI Hospice and NI Children's Hospice this Christmas, please donate online at https://www.justgiving.com/nihc.

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