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.

Month: November 2019