PARTICK Thistle winger Joe Cardle has led a fundraising effort that saw 600 Easter eggs dropped off for sick kids at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

The project, headed up by the Joe Cardle Academy, follows on from a similar gesture around Christmas time when the 34-year-old coordinated a campaign to drop off presents at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

Parents and kids involved in the academy have been chipping in with donations on their own, and Cardle says he's been delighted with what they've managed to achieve.

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"After the great success of the Christmas present giveaway, we decided to do something similar for Easter," he said. "There’s a family of one of the girls from the academy that were collecting Easter eggs for the local hospital and we jumped at the chance to get involved.

"We set out to get as many as we could and we managed to get 200 ourselves. But we’ve had a lot handed in by children and parents that have brought them along to the sessions. There were about 600 eggs kicking about my spare room!

"We were delighted to hand them in at the hospital. We just felt that it was lovely to give something back over Christmas. We only started the academy 10 months ago and you hear stories about children you work with all the time – about when they’ve been in hospital, how well the hospital staff have treated them.

"For us as an academy, it’s good to give something back and we will carry that tradition on. It’s a great gesture from us and obviously, the community as well. The community spirit, the parents and kids helping out – it’s been a fantastic project."

Cardle added that he has first-hand experience of the facilities at Victoria Hospital and as such, has an appreciation for everything that the staff do there.

He explained: "Because of our previous history with my own daughter, and with the situation being a little closer to home in Kirkcaldy, we decided to give back here. It’s been a difficult year for everyone and obviously the NHS have been fantastic.

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"It’s only a little gesture but if we put a smile on the face of a kid that’s going to be stuck in hospital over Easter, I think we’ve done our job.

"My youngest daughter was 10 weeks premature so we were in there for two months when she was first born, so we know first-hand how difficult it is being stuck in a hospital; how hard the staff, nurses and doctors all work. It’s a difficult time for anyone to be in hospital, especially kids.

"If we can put a smile on a wee boy or a girl’s face then I think we’ve achieved a lot. We’ll carry on doing this every year now."