Be a star this Christmas with Villa and Acorns
Be a star this Christmas with Villa and Acorns.
The claret and blues are helping make this festive season a special one for Acorns children and their families.
And you can lend a hand too by making a donation to Villa's official charity.
Stephen Ireland made Christmas 2010 a memorable one for eight-year-old Joel from Birmingham as part of the 'Be a Star' campaign.
The midfielder spent time with Joel, who is one of only two children in the world with proteus-like syndrome, and really got stuck in with festive fun.
Joel and Stephen spent over an hour creating the card and tree decoration which will be available exclusively to Villa fans as a thank-you from all the children at Acorns for any donations to the Christmas appeal.
Football and Villa mad Joel and his parents Julian and Lisa have been using the services of Acorns for the last four years. Proteus-like syndrome is an extremely complex condition that causes accelerated overgrowth and abnormal vascular structure, along with a long list of other health problems.
Joel has spent several long periods of time in hospital since he was born. This includes a stay of seven months earlier this year when Joel underwent an operation to amputate his right leg.
Despite the setbacks in his life, Joel had a fantastic time with Villa ace Stephen.
"It was a wonderful day for all of us," said Joel's dad Julian. "Joel was so excited to be asked to design the card for Acorns and it was made extra special by the fact that he got to do it with a player.
"He loves arts and crafts and really got into the activity, using his imagination to incorporate reindeers and presents. It's amazing to think that something he's made with Stephen will be used to say thank-you to other Aston Villa fans.
"Through Acorns, he was chosen to be a mascot at a game two seasons ago. As a huge Aston Villa fan, it's probably not surprising to hear that he still describes it as 'the best day ever'."
"I really enjoyed making the card with Joel," said Stephen. "He has got a great imagination - I'm really impressed with his card making skills. He was better than me."
Since 2006 Villa have been supporting the local children's hospice to help them provide specialist care for youngsters who have life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.
Around 600 children and their families use Acorns services but there are many more out there that need help and support.
You can donate in the following ways:
Phone - call 01922 422508
Post - send a cheque made payable to 'Acorns Children's Hospice' to: Villa Christmas, Acorns Children's Hospice, Drakes Court, Alcester Road, Wythall, B47 6JR.