Members of the Essex first-team and Ability squad visited the Phoenix Ward at Broomfield Hospital earlier today to spread festive cheer ahead of the Christmas period.

Essex stars such as Jamie Porter, Nick Browne, Matt Coles and Sam Cook were all in attendance, whilst Ronnie Jackson and Toby Howe visited on behalf of the Ability team.

The players played the role of Father Christmas for the afternoon, giving out Essex Cricket goody bags and gifts whilst also posing for photos.

Essex opening bowler Jamie Porter was more than happy to make the trip and said: “It’s really rewarding to be here visiting the families at Broomfield Hospital.

“We spoke to a few children who are going to be in the hospital over the Christmas period. It’s heart-breaking stuff, so if we can speak to them, put a smile on their faces, give them some presents and just spread a bit of joy then it makes it all worthwhile.

“Me and my teammates are in very privileged positions to be able to do what we do, so giving back to the local community is something we try to do as frequently as possible.”