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 https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/DHChristmas19 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 https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/DHChristmas19 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 www.derianhouse.co.uk/volunteer-for-us or call Frances Lees on 01257 233 300.

Month: December 2019