Mayor takes flight for Derian

IS IT a bird?

Is it a plane?

No, it’s Mayor of Chorley Councillor Margaret Lees!

When adventure-loving Mayor Councillor Lees chose Derian House Children’s Hospice as one of the charities for her year in office, she pledged to go above and beyond.

But we never expected her to take the phrase so literally!

For 70-year-old Margaret is going up in a microlight airplane to raise money for the children and young people of Derian.

Councillor Lees is not only terrified of flying – normally needing medication from the doctor to even consider boarding a flight – but she is also petrified of heights.

“When I was approached about raising money for my charities by taking a microlight flight, I was struck dumb,” said Councillor Lees.

“Then out of my mouth came the sound ‘yes, go on then’. I couldn’t believe I had agreed as I also have a real fear of heights. I must be totally insane. But if this can raise funds for Derian House – a fantastic local charity – then as the First Citizen of Chorley, I will do it!”

The flight had been pencilled-in for a number of months, but Councillor Lees received a surprise phone call yesterday (Tuesday, 26 Feb) to say the flight would have to take place today (Wednesday, 27 Feb) before the perfect weather conditions change.

The Mayor will fly from St Michael’s airfield near Garstang and will be airborne at 1,500ft for around 40 minutes.

Pilot Terry Cook said: “We will spend some time admiring the Lancashire countryside and if the Mayor wants, she can ‘have a go’ at the controls. The XAir is docile and stable and there is nothing the Mayor could do from which I cannot recover.”

The Mayor’s fundraising total currently stands at £645 and she really wants to make it to £1,000 to fly.

Can you help? Visit

Celebrities paint birthday bouquet for Derian House

MORE than 25 celebrities have got out their paintbrushes to create unique works of art for Derian House.

Stars including Geri “Ginger Spice” Horner, Joanna Lumley, Jeremy Vine and Timmy Mallett have drawn and painted flowers to make up a birthday bouquet to mark the 25th anniversary of Derian.

The flowers will be auctioned to raise money, and the artwork will be unveiled at a glamorous exhibition at Hepplestone Fine Art Gallery in Heskin on Friday, March 1. Everyone is invited to come along, to view the paintings and place a bid.

The flowers will then go on display at Derian’s new charity shop in Chorley town centre, and auctioned on eBay throughout the month of March.

Actor Helen Lederer, Grease star Didi Conn, adventurer Steve Backshall and Apprentice contestant Kayode Damali also put their creative talents to good use for the charity’s Flower Power campaign.

Seven-year-old Kayla, whose sister uses Derian’s services, has also created a flower as part of the project.

Fans will get the chance to own an exclusive piece of art created by their favourite star, along with a certificate of authenticity.

Take a look at the selection of pictures here.

Kevin Bedford, Fundraising Manager at Derian House, said: “We’ve not only been overwhelmed by the creativity and generosity of the celebrities who have got involved in our Flower Power campaign, but also by the sheer number of people who have been keen to help us out. It’s been absolutely fantastic.

“Many of our flowers aren’t just pretty pictures drawn by celebrities, but fantastic pieces of art in their own right. With every penny raised going towards the care of our children and young people, I’d urge everyone to bid generously!”

Everybody is invited to come along to the launch exhibition at Hepplestone Fine Art Gallery, Heskin Hall shopping village, Chorley, on Friday, 1 March from 5pm to 7.30pm.


Here’s a full list of celebrities who have created flowers for Derian House Flower Power campaign:

Geri Horner

Joanna Lumley

Steve Backshall

Helen Lederer

Timmy Mallett

Ferne Corrigan

Kayode Damali

Jeremy Vine

Bolton Wanderers Football Club

Arabella Weir

Saara Alto and her Dancing On Ice partner Hamish Gaman

Didi Conn and her Dancing On Ice partner Lukasz Roszycki

Melody Thornton and her Dancing On Ice partner Alexander Demetriou

Mark Hanretty – Dancing on Ice professional

Curtis Johns from The Band Musical

Rob Beckett

Jack Catterall

Kiki DeVille

Helen Glover

Elizabeth Grant

Lucy Meacock

Judy Robbins

Molly Robbins

Ted Robbins

Superhero invasion at Chorley store

SHOPPERS in Chorley town centre were in for a surprise when a superhero came to town.

Captain America visited the new Derian House Children’s Hospice charity shop – which was officially opened last Monday (18 Feb) – and even picked up a few bargains while he was there!

The Avengers hero was joined by a Stormtrooper to greet kids and have photographs taken.

The pair were promoting Stars and Cars – a spectacular movie and TV-themed event to raise money for the Chorley-based children’s hospice, in which people can come and interact with their favourite movie replica vehicles and characters.

The event takes place at Bolton Arena in Horwich on April 14, 2019. For tickets visit

Derian House opens flagship new store in Chorley

BARGAIN hunters gathered at the grand opening of Derian’s new flagship charity shop in Chorley town centre this morning (Monday).

Mayor of Chorley, Councillor Margaret Lees, cut the ribbon to declare the new store, in Cleveland Street, officially open.

First through the door was shopper Cherie Draper, from Chorley, who snapped up a dining table and chairs.

“I’ve been keeping my eye on the table in the shop window for over a week now and I’m over the moon I got it,” she said. “The new shop is beautiful – there’s plenty of space and lots of variety.”

The store is big, bright, and will focus on selling quality furniture, designer menswear, plus toys, games and accessories.

Shoppers were treated to glasses of fizz, balloons and Derian cupcakes at the opening event, on Monday morning at 10am.

Mayor, Councillor Lees, told the crowd that Derian House was close to her heart as one of her chosen charities during her year in office.

She said: “Derian needs to raise £4million every year to stay open, and yet less than 10% come from the government so the amount they need to raise is phenomenal.

“I’ve visited Derian and it’s such a tremendous deserving charity. This new shop is in a prime location close to the market so I hope it does very well.”

Derian House staff were on hand to sign-up new volunteers, with three people committing to helping out at the new shop in just a couple of hours.

The first new volunteer to sign up was retired hotel manager Maureen Sumner, 76, whose neighbours’ children come to Derian for respite.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to meeting new friends and getting involved. I retired two years ago and now feels like the right time to start something new.”

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “The grand opening was a huge success. The shop was absolutely packed with big queues of people waiting to get in.

“Our vision was that this wouldn’t be your usual charity shop. We wanted to put our flagship store in the town centre in a great location and make it big, with bright colours and uncluttered. We’ve got lots of good quality furniture, because that always sells well and we’ve got some new goods in there too, as well as some designer clothing.

“I’d say to everyone, please come down and have a look and spend some money. All of our profits go to help the children and young people of Derian House.”

Bolton Wanderers ace signs for Derian House

PROFESSIONAL footballer Jason Lowe has today put pen to paper to announce his new position as ambassador for Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Leigh-born Jason, who plays midfield for Bolton Wanderers, is the latest signing for the charity.

Today he visited the hospice to meet the children and young people and officially kick-off his ambassadorship, which will see him using his platform to raise the profile of the charity which offers respite and end-of-life care to children from across the North West.

Jason will focus on the charity’s Derian on Holiday project, which in 2019 will give almost 1,000 people in its care a free holiday at Ribby Hall village to help them create memories to last a lifetime.

Dad-of-two Jason, said: “I was one of a group of players who visited Derian just before Christmas to deliver some presents to bring a smile to the children’s faces. Visiting a place like Derian puts your own life into perspective and I felt honoured to be asked to be an ambassador.

“I’ll be focussing on the Derian on Holiday project because as a family man myself I know that holidays are so important. It’s where a lot of special memories are made and during times when it’s not going so great you can look back at holidays and they perk you up a little bit.”

The league-leading project is the only one of its this kind in the UK and helps families enjoy time away together from the stresses and strains of everyday life, to just be a family.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of the hospice said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have Jason on board. Not only does his high profile as a professional footballer mean we can tell more people about our good work, as a local lad he really cares about making a difference here in his community.”

Jason Lowe came up through the ranks at Blackburn Rovers. The former England under-21 international joined Bolton Wanderers in 2018.

Alongside his work on the field, he is also instrumental off the pitch supporting the club on various community appearances.

Finance Director to run Manchester Marathon for Derian

Local business, HFE backs its Finance Director, Louise Ormrod to complete the Manchester Marathon to raise valuable funds for Derian House.

The company has pledged to match fund every penny Louise raises, effectively doubling her fund-raising efforts.

Buckshaw Village-based HFE, which is a training provider to the health, fitness and wellbeing sector deliver fitness instructor and personal trainer courses across the UK. They qualify over 3,000 exercise professionals every year across a variety of qualifications, including personal training, Pilates, yoga, G.P Referral and sports massage.

Louise has decided to run the marathon to support Derian House, a cause that is extremely close to her heart. However, her motivations are not entirely altruistic because she is actually using the marathon as a warm-up event to help her prepare for the Bolton Ironman which takes place in July.

As if running the marathon isn’t enough, along with several members of the Rivington Triathlon Club, she’ll be cycling from Chorley to and from the marathon.

Lee Cain, Managing Director of HFE Lee Cain praised Louise for her commitment, training and fundraising ambitions. “We’re delighted that she is running the marathon for such a great cause and we’re equally pleased that we are all able to help her and others in the process. It’s so important for staff to feel that their hard work makes a difference, not just within the business but also outside of the company. This is a win-win solution in which the whole team to get behind Louise and the cause to show their support”.

Louise is no stranger to extreme endurance events. She’s completed multiple half and full marathons and in June 2016 she ran 100 km continuously across the Yorkshire moors and placed 6th, passing the finish line in just 15 hours.

When talking about Louise and her commitment to training, Lee went on to say “she’s one of the few people in the business without a fitness-based qualification and yet she’s fitter than anyone. In fact, she’s probably fitter than all of us put together”.

Louise’s gruelling training regime includes around 14 hours of exercise per week. She performs around 8-9 hours of cycling, 2-3 hours of running and around 3 and half hours swimming. By the time she’s ready for Ironman, this will increase to somewhere between 18-20 hours per week.

Louise is overjoyed with the support that she has received from friends, family, co-workers and the business. Without their support she said “it wouldn’t be possible for me to run this marathon for such a worthy cause.

After visiting Derian House this month, Lee went on to say that he was “amazed at the broad range of services offered at the hospice. It has completely changed my perception of what a children’s hospice is and the type of things the staff and volunteers would be doing. It’s so inspiring to see it with your own eyes. I cannot praise everyone at Derian House enough”.

Month: February 2019