World champ’s hospital visit at Christmas

Katarina Johnson Thompson with 10-year-old Morgan Masson
Katarina Johnson Thompson with 10-year-old Morgan Masson

World champion heptathlete Katarina Johnson Thompson has paid a surprise visit to Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.

She met youngsters ahead of her appearance on the red carpet at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, where she was a nominee.

It came after more than a dozen patients wrote to their sporting heroes to invite them to visit ahead of the awards.

In a letter to Katarina, one patient said: “Please come to RACH. The staff here are wonderful and welcoming.

“I feel at peace and looked after whenever I am here.

“It would be such a delight and re-energising for everyone to have you visit as you are an inspiring heptathlete.”

Katarina has represented Great Britain at Olympics, claimed gold and set a new British record in the heptathlon in this year’s IAAF World Championships to add to the gold medals she won at the 2019 European Indoor Championships, 2018 World Indoor Championships and last year’s Commonwealth games.

She said: “After receiving the lovely invites from the children at the hospital I really wanted to come and say ‘hello’.

“The staff here do a wonderful job and it’s great to be able to help bring a smile to the faces of the children who are having to spend a bit of time here.

“All the people I’ve met have been really nice and welcoming and I’m glad I had the opportunity to come.”

Tracey Mackinnon, staff nurse on RACH’s surgical ward, added: “We are delighted and grateful that Katarina has been able to take the time to come and visit the patients, families and staff at RACH.

“The patients are thrilled that the letters they wrote has resulted in her coming in to see them.”