Agbonlahor Week: Strudley - Gabby is a community champion
Acorns Hospice chief executive David Strudley had paid tribute to Gabby Agbonlahor this week, hailing him as a "community champion."
Strudley has watched Agbonlahor wow kids at charity events as player ambassador for the past two years.
He's been struck by the forward's gentle manner and keen interest in all activities surrounding the partnership between Acorns and Villa.
He told us: "We were delighted when Gabby agreed to be the player ambassador for Acorns in 2011 and have watched with great pride as he has championed the charity over the past two seasons.
"He always takes a keen interest in our work and freely gives his time, privately with the children and families and publicly with raising awareness and funds.
"He is just a great role model for our supporters and the community.
"Villa fans have huge respect for his performances on the pitch and his work with the charity off it too. This respect he has fully earned.
"His active involvement has made a huge difference on so many levels.
"We are extremely grateful for all his support and look forward to continuing to work with him next season."
Agbonlahor leads campaigns for the charity and visits its three hospices during the festive season too.
But his latest involvement was a bit different as he invited young fans to design the front cover of the Villa v QPR match programme, the game designated Acorns Day.
Agbonlahor then picked a winner - 10-year-old Archie Hall - and his design adorned the Rangers issue.
In total, Acorns Day raised a gobsmacking total of £195,463.44 - enough to run a hospice for one month.
This groundbreaking work is important to Agbonlahor.
He said: "When you visit the hospices you see the work that the staff do, the nurses and the volunteers that come in and help. It's a great credit to them the way they help the kids, look after them and keep them occupied and even let them have a little bit of fun during the day.
"As footballers, we're fortunate and there are things we can do off the field to help other people. As a club, it's part of our ethos and we genuinely seek to do some good in the community.
"Whether that's raising money or going on the visits, that's all a big thing to me.
"For us, as players, to have responsibilities within our community is good and it shows us that there's more to life than football."
Acorns are currently bringing history to life as they celebrate 25 years of providing care and support to life limited children and their families.
An online timeline - www.acorns.org.uk/ourhistory - hosting photographs, press cuttings, films, audio and personal memories from families, staff, volunteers and supporters has been created to tell the story of the club's charity partner.
To find out more about the work of Acorns and how you can help raise vital funds call 0845 120 6892.
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