Bolton footballers spread Christmas joy at children’s hospice

Footballers from Bolton Wanderers were greeted with big smiles when they dropped into Derian House Children’s Hospice on a festive toy run this afternoon (Tuesday, 17 December, 2019).

Club captain Jason Lowe, who is an ambassador for the Chorley-based charity, brought along his team-mates to give out gifts and visit the seriously ill children.

After spending time with the children and chatting to staff, the players even made a surprise visit to the retirement party of Clinical Educator Trish Clarkson who was leaving the hospice after 20 years’ service.

The players – whose personal donations had paid for the gifts – also took a tour of the refurbished hospice, played games with the children and posed for pictures with staff.  

Jason Lowe, who got involved with the charity after being humbled by its work during the visit last Christmas, said: “I feel so proud to come back to Derian this year as ambassador and to see the refurbished hospice which looks wonderful.

“For the players, this is such a privilege, and an experience that we all enjoy. It’s our pleasure to come along and put a smile on the kids’ faces and give something back to our community.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice looks after more than 400 children and young people with life-limiting conditions throughout the North West.

Miriam Payne, Events and Promotions Manager at Derian House, said: “We’re really grateful to the Bolton players for bringing some festive cheer into Derian. The children were absolutely thrilled with their gifts and it means a lot to us to have their support, especially from our ambassador Jason Lowe who always goes above and beyond to get behind the work we do.”

Poignant candle-lit service to remember loved ones

Twinkling Christmas tree lights – each one symbolising the life of a loved one lost – were lit at the annual Lights of Love service held at Blackburn Cathedral on Friday evening.

Hundreds of people attended the event, organised by Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Abigail Orme, 12, who comes to the Chorley-based hospice, did the honours of turning on the lights as part of the moving service.

Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP performed a reading of Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

And he was joined by TV actor and Derian House supporter Ben Batt and Radio Lancashire presenter John Gillmore, who also took part in the festive service.

Music was provided by the Rawstorne Singers, a choir established for more than 30 years with members from across Lancashire.

The charity’s very own choir made up of staff and volunteers, the Derian Voices, also performed ‘Remember Me’ from Disney Pixar film Coco and ‘Make your Own Kind of Music’.

And the crowd joined in with a poignant candle-lit rendition of Silent Night.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Lights of Love is always a very moving evening where we celebrate the lives of family and friends no longer with us.

“It’s also a wonderful chance for us to look back at what we have achieved over the year, and a time to celebrate all the wonderful memories we’ve been able to give to our families thanks to the kind donations of our supporters.”

Visit to help a child at Derian House Children’s Hospice this Christmas.

Santa bikers bring festive joy to children’s hospice

More than 150 kind-hearted bikers made a special delivery of toys and gifts to seriously ill children this weekend.

The generous Rivington Barn Bikers travelled in convoy to deliver a sleigh-load of presents from their base in Rivington to Derian House Children’s Hospice on Sunday.

Dressed in festive dress, and with many of the bikes decorated for Christmas, the bikers flooded down the driveway of the hospice to the delight of the children staying there, who watched with delight from the front steps.

The bikers then formed a chain gang and passed presents down the length of the car park and into the hospice building.

The extraordinary gesture was in memory of biker Craig Hayward’s son James who was cared for at Derian House before he died on Boxing Day in 2005, aged seven.

Craig Hayward said: “We started this three years ago with 30 bikers and it’s just got bigger and better every year since. It’s overwhelming to see how everyone pulls together and I want to thank each and every person who came out today. This means more to me than just about anything.

“Derian House will always have a place in my heart. My lad came here and a few of my lad’s friends came here too. It’s a fantastic place that helps relieve the stress for parents and I hope by doing this I can do that too. I just wanted to give something back and put a smile on the kids’ faces.”

Caroline Taylor, Communications and Marketing Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We were absolutely overwhelmed by this generous gesture from the Rivington Barn Bikers. The children staying at the hospice were so excited to see them – it was joyous to watch their faces as the bikes pulled into the driveway.

“We will make good use of the gifts donated, making sure that each of the 450 children and young people we care for, and many of their siblings too, get a special present this year. On behalf of everyone at Derian House we’d like to say a huge thank you to Craig and his fellow bikers.”

Visit to help a child at Derian House Children’s Hospice this Christmas.

Saying a big THANKS on International Volunteer Day

Generous volunteers who saved a local children’s charity more than £80,000 in wages this year are being celebrated on International Volunteer Day (December 5, 2019).

Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley has 100 regular volunteers who donated almost 10,000 of their time to help run services for children and young people with life-limiting conditions this year.

The kind-hearted helpers do everything from cooking meals for families, counting money in collection buckets, working at the charity shops, driving the delivery van, answering phones, helping at playgroup, and manning events.

Together they help the charity care for more than 400 children and young people with life-limiting illnesses across the North West, making precious memories with their families.

Former teacher Julie Nolan, who volunteers at Derian House with husband Tony twice a week, recently raised £830 for the hospice after asking friends and family to donate cash instead of buying gifts for her 60th birthday.

Julie, who helps in the kitchen, in the fundraising team, at events and on trips, said: “People sometimes ask me why I volunteer at a children’s hospice and comment that it must be a sad place. But it’s not. It’s a wonderful, happy place where you hear children laughing. It’s ace!”

Katie McNally, Wellbeing Services Lead at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Julie helps us take children on trips out during the school holiday and they love her being part of the day because her kindness and generosity shines through. We would be lost without her.”

The charity also has a loyal band of corporate supporters who often visit for team building days spent tidying the gardens and doing seasonal jobs such as wrapping Christmas gifts.

Frances Lees, Volunteer Services Co-ordinator at Derian House, said: “Every single one of our wonderful volunteers deserves a special thank you today. Their commitment to the hospice always amazes me. They bring skills, laughter and so much love we would be lost without their support on a daily basis.”

To find out more about becoming a volunteer at Derian House Children’s Hospice, visit or call Frances Lees on 01257 233 300.

Hat’s the way to do it! Margaret’s stitch in time raises thousands for sick children

When it comes to raising money for her local children’s charity, Chorley grandma Margaret Barton is a woolly wonder!

The 87-year-old knitting sensation has raised more than £8,000 for Derian House Children’s Hospice since 2011 with her children’s jumpers and hats.

On any given day of the year, Margaret can be found at her home in Berkley Close, Chorley, surrounded by balls of yarn, needles clacking.

Taught to knit by her mother as a child, talented Margaret can now rustle-up a jumper and bobble hat set for a baby in just two days.

So far this year, Margaret has knitted 87 jumper and hat sets, which sell for £12.50 each, to raise money for children with life-limiting illnesses from across the North West.

The sets are snapped-up at Derian House fundraising events, with Margaret’s goodies raising more than £1,000 at the recent Winter Sparkle event held at Astley Park earlier in November.

It’s a labour of love for Margaret, who says knitting keeps her mind occupied.

“Knitting makes me happy,” said Margaret, who also crochets and sews.

“It gives me something to think about – I’m always thinking about what colours I’m going to be doing next.

“I feel that God has given me this talent and that I should use it for something good, for the benefit of others.

“I buy all of my wool from Poundland in Chorley where they do 15 balls for £10 when I can get out, otherwise I send for it off the computer.”

Margaret, who has been married to husband Wulstan for 60 years, was a former mill worker and knitted baby clothes for her two sons, Paul (57) and Michael (60), her five grandchildren, friends and neighbours too.

She has even turning her hand to doggie jackets after her daughter-in-law requested one for her pet pooch.

On a rare night off Margaret enjoys flower arranging and completing jigsaws.

Caroline Taylor, Communications Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Margaret is one of our most dedicated supporters and we truly value her amazing efforts. For the past eight years she has devoted all of her free time to knitting, which has in turn raised thousands of pounds for the charity. On top of that, she is just an absolutely lovely, genuine lady.

“It’s amazing to think that Margaret’s knitting has allowed us to help the lives of families going through unimaginably difficult times, just that little bit easier. On behalf of all of our children and young people, we just want to say a big thank you.”

Order! Order! Sir Lindsay comes home for festive fun

He may have just bagged one of the top jobs in politics, but new Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle returned to Chorley to support a charity close to his heart this weekend.

Loyal Sir Lindsay, the former Chorley MP who was elected Speaker of the House of Commons last week, undoubtedly had a packed diary.

But he stuck to his promise and returned home on Saturday to officially kick-off Jingle All the Way – a sponsored walk which saw more than 500 Santas trek 15-miles through the streets of Chorley.

Sir Lindsay joined in the warm-up on the starting line before officially setting-off the Santas, with the help of Leo, one of the young people who comes to Derian House.

The swarm of Santas travelled through the town centre, through Adlington and up Rivington Pike.

Now in its fourth year, the festive walk has so far raised £65,000 for Derian House Children’s Hospice, which offers respite and end-of-life care to 450 families from across the North West. Cash is still being counted, but it is hoped this year’s event will raise another £20,000.

The unusual sight caught the attention of passers-by with one motorist’s video of the event attracting thousands of views on Twitter alongside the caption: “For anyone who said it was too early for me to wear my Christmas jumper to the pub on Thursday, I’m not sure all these people would agree. Just seen in Horwich…”

Mick Croskery, Community Fundraiser at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We were thrilled to welcome Sir Lindsay on Saturday, making his first Chorley appearance as Speaker of the House. He has been a loyal supporter of the children and young people at Derian House for many years and he’s always a good sport, getting stuck into whatever we throw at him!

“Big thanks to Neil Hailwood and all the Jingle All the Way team. They pull out all the stops every year to make this event one of the most successful, and definitely one of the most fun, in our fundraising calendar.”

Neil Hailwood, event organiser and Community Ambassador for Derian House, said: “We say it every year but the team who get behind this event is simply incredible. Our volunteers give up their time each year and we couldn’t do it without them.

“To every Santa who took part – thank you for joining in and making a difference to this wonderful charity.”

It costs more than £4.3million to run services at Derian House Children’s Hospice every year, and yet the charity receives less than 10 per cent of this from the government. For the rest it must rely on the generosity of its supporters.

Record-breaking numbers support charity winter wonderland

Thousands of people got into the Christmas spirit this weekend when Derian House Children’s Hospice Winter Sparkle event came to town.

The sun shone down on Astley Park in Chorley as more than 15,000 people flooded through the gates to buy Christmas goodies and enjoy some good old-fashioned festive fun.

Shoppers stocked up on charity Christmas cards, festive gifts, and food and drink from local producers.

Children enjoyed visits to Santa and his real reindeer, fairground attractions and even unicorn rides.

And – new for this year – the event featured a full day of entertainment including music from Chorley Silver Band and Skylarks Choir, Punch and Judy, magic, and a specially-written production of Cinderella performed by Sparkle Productions.

Historical performers The Extraordinary Victorians were also on hand to provide entertainment with a difference with their singing and living history re-enactments.

Event organiser Miriam Payne, said: “We are absolutely over the moon at how well the event went, with the local community really coming out in force to show their support for Derian House.

“The feedback we’ve had so far has been brilliant, with people saying they loved the family-friendly entertainment and how much they enjoyed the improvements we made this year to add even more stalls and spread the event out throughout the park.

“We’re still busy counting the money collected on the day, but we already know we’ve raised significantly more than last year, which is just fantastic.

“Thank you so much to everybody who came to Winter Sparkle, and also to all of the staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to pull off this huge event, and without whom Winter Sparkle simply wouldn’t have been possible.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice cares for more than 400 children with life-limiting conditions and their families from across Lancashire and Greater Manchester. It costs more than £4.3 million every year to provide the vital services, and yet less than 10 per cent of this comes from the government. For the remainder, the charity must rely on the generosity of its supporters.

Derian House wins national Charity of the Year award

A hospice which helps children with life-limiting conditions to make the most of every moment, has won a national award.

Derian House Children’s Hospice was named Charity of the Year 2019 at the prestigious JustGiving Awards, held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London last night (Tuesday, 22 October).

The Chorley-based charity looks after more than 400 children, young people and their families from across the North West, offering respite and end-of-life care.

The hospice beat off competition from more than 50,000 other charities to scoop the top award.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House, said: “We are really overwhelmed to have been named Charity of the Year in the JustGiving Awards 2019 – we didn’t expect to win and this national accolade will really help us to reach out to more families and help put Derian House on the map.

“We get very little money from the government and JustGiving is a fundamental part of helping us to raise the cash we need to keep the hospice running.

“The ceremony was inspirational and humbling in equal measures. To hear the wonderful stories of people from across the UK was a real privilege. I’d like to thank our fellow nominees, Breast Cancer Haven and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – both really worthy charities.

“Big thanks to everyone who voted for us. We are thrilled.”

It costs more than £4.3 million to run services at Derian House Children’s Hospice every year. The charity receives less than 10 per cent of this through statutory funding. For the remainder, it must rely on the generosity of its supporters.

A JustGiving Awards spokesperson said: “We can’t believe that the JustGiving Awards are over for another year! It was an incredible evening which celebrated the dedication, generosity and unimaginable feats of fundraisers and charities from across the JustGiving community. This year we received the record number of 50,000 public nominations, and after weeks of deliberation we managed to whittle this down to 24 finalists. We were honoured to have the opportunity to share each of the finalists’ stories, and we finished the evening feeling inspired, and just a little bit emotional.

“We want to thank everyone who took the time out of their day to nominate and vote for this year’s winners.”

Boost for donated sofas

Cash generated by second-hand sofas is set for a boost with Derian House being added to a national database for those wishing to donate their furniture.

North West furniture maker Sofas by Saxon has compiled listings from across the UK to make donating a sofa as easy as possible, on the UK sofa donation database.

It is hoped this will reduce landfill and provide valuable income for charities, such as Derian House Children’s Hospice, which must raise £4.3million every year to continue supporting 450 families of children with life-limiting conditions from across the North West.

Those wishing to donate their old sofas have been given some top-tips by Sofas by Saxon:

• Make sure your sofa is in a good saleable condition with no stains or tears to fabric.

• Take a moment to check that your fire safety labels are still attached to the sofa. By law, these are needed for re-sale. Not sure what a fire safety label looks like? Have a look at the regulations here.

Derian House offers a free collection service for donated sofas. Call 01257 485 823 to arrange a pickup.

Derian House shines a light on hospice care to mark Hospice Care Week 2019

Derian House Children’s Hospice is celebrating Hospice Care Week 2019 (Oct 7-13) by shining a light on the behind-the-scenes work that goes into providing world-class end-of-life care.

Every year, Hospice UK – the national charity for hospice and palliative care – organises the event to help raise awareness of the incredible work carried out by hospice staff and volunteers across the UK.

This year’s theme – This is What it Takes – takes a look at the statistics behind providing hospice care, from the number of cups of tea made in one year to the money our volunteers save us on wages.

Did you know that every year…

  • Our gardener Gareth mows the equivalent of 43 football pitches to keep our gardens looking great.
  • Jeff the chef makes 12,035 meals to feed children, families and volunteers.
  • We wash 736 windows.
  • Our children enjoy 420 hours of hydrotherapy pool fun.
  • Families come for 840 hours-worth of play visits.
  • 92 families are given a free week’s holiday at our holiday lodge at Ribby Hall to make happy memories.
  • Our Derian at Home team make 1,180 visits out in the community.
  • Rachel our music teacher delivers 34 hours of music sessions.
  • We go through 456 bathtubs of tea to fuel our families (that’s nearly 200,000 cups!).
  • We enjoy 90 ‘pawsome’ visits from our Pets as Therapy dogs Shuna, Charlie and Paddy. (See below for more stats)

Fun activities for families are being held throughout the week, with everyone dressing in yellow on Wednesday to mark the occasion.

Derian House Children’s Hospice looks after more than 400 children, young people and their families from across the North West offering respite and end-of-life-care.

The charity’s aim is to help children whose lives are too short to make happy memories in an environment of fun, respect and high quality care.

The care provided to families is free, but it costs £4.3 million every year. Less than 10 per cent of this comes from statutory funding, with the charity reliant on the generosity of donations for the remainder.

As well as 140 staff, there is a team of around 100 active volunteers helping to provide services at Derian House. If volunteers were paid, it would cost more than £75,000 a year.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice said: “Hospice Care Week is all about celebrating the work we do at Derian House. For this year’s theme we are taking a look at the less obvious things we do that makes hospice care so very special – everything from keeping our gardens lovely to the time we spend making our siblings feel valued.

“This week is also a chance for us to say a big thank you to our amazing staff and volunteers. We simply couldn’t do what we do without them.

“But as wonderful as the care we offer at Derian House is, it’s important that people realise it comes at a price. The services we provide for our families is completely free, but it costs £4.3million every year. Less than 10 per cent of this comes from statutory funding and for the rest we rely on donations. We don’t think it’s right that our care is reliant on bucket collections and bake sales.”

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said: “Hospice care is free, but it’s not cheap. It’s important and demanding.

“And most of all, it’s very special. Join us this October and play your part in showing what it takes to give people and their families the care they need and deserve.”

To find out more about the work of Derian House or to volunteer please go to or call 01257 233 300.

Check out what we’re up to for Hospice Care Week on social media using #WhatItTakes hashtag.

Year: 2019