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.”

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.

Volunteers needed to make festive family fun day sparkle

Volunteers are needed to help make Derian House Children’s Hospice’s festive fundraising event a success – can you help?

The Christmas spectacular, taking place at Chorley’s Astley Park on Sunday, November 3 from 10am to 4pm, will see the park transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with real reindeer, unicorn rides and visits from Santa.

The free event is one of the charity’s biggest fundraising drives of the year, with every penny raised going towards the care of more than 400 children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across the North West.

Volunteers are needed to help set-up on the Saturday; for the day itself (Sunday) to work as entrance greeters, gift wrappers and parking marshals; and to help clean up on the Monday.

The annual event will see visitors getting the chance to stock up on Christmas gifts and trinkets from Austrian-style market stalls and there will be an array of delicious food and drinks stalls, including traditional bratwurst, hot chocolate and mulled wine.

Kids will love the open-air pantomime, a ride on the unicorns and all the fun of the fairground.

There will also be live music and performances, as well as – new for this year – a Tipi bar where visitors can relax with a drink and soak up the atmosphere.

Miriam Payne, Events and Promotions Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “After the huge popularity of last year’s Winter Sparkle, we listened closely to the feedback we received and worked with Chorley Council to expand the 2019 event, making it bigger and better with double the amount of stalls this year.

“The Walled Garden will now play host to our food, drink and entertainment zone and we will be expanding the range of foods offered as well as showcasing old favourites. This year we will showcase a range of top entertainment with performances throughout the day for all ages.

“But we still really need volunteers to help us out on the day to make sure that we make as much money as possible for the care of our children and young people and would really value the help of our community.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice costs £4.3million to run every year, and yet less than 10 per cent of this comes from statutory funding. For the remainder, the charity has to rely on the generous support of the community.

There will be a park and ride service running from Runshaw College and Woodlands/Ackhurst Car Park with fully-accessible shuttle buses running every 10 minutes to the park entrance.

Entry to Winter Sparkle is free but some rides and attractions charge a fee.

Visit  to find out more.

Fundraising superstars honoured at glittering ceremony

Businesses from across the North West raised almost £36,000 for children with life-limiting conditions, as part of the first-ever Derian House £50 Corporate Challenge.

A total of 22 firms were honoured for their fantastic fundraising efforts at an awards night held at the Sales Geek Bunker in Altham, East Lancashire, on Friday night.

The challenge, launched in February, saw each business given £50 and set the task of turning it into as much money as possible.

The enterprising companies certainly lived up to their promises, with a total of £35,816 raised for the hospice which offers respite and end-of-life care for more than 400 children and young people from across the North West.

The challenge has seen chests waxed, heads shaved and mountains scaled. One company even set a Guinness World Record when friends Fiona May Beaty and Katie Simpson ran the London Marathon while dressed as a tooth and toothpaste (fastest marathon dressed as a toiletry item – female)!

Overall winners of the night were staff from Chameleon Financial Planning, who raised an impressive £7,021 with their Spring Fayre, Easter Egg hunt and corporate golf day.

Gurdit Singh, Director of Chameleon, said: “The corporate challenge was fantastic for team-building. Getting everybody involved in events in the community has really given them a sense of fulfilment and pride.

“We’re thrilled to win and see that all our hard work paid off. Now we’re busy coming up with new ideas to try to win it again next year!”

The Corporate Challenge Awards saw businesses coming together for a celebration of their efforts, with beer, a barbecue and networking.

It was also a chance to watch videos of the weird and wonderful ways in which each firm raised cash for the hospice.

Abi Williamson, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We were absolutely overwhelmed at how the businesses took the idea and ran with it. The variety of different ways they have got behind the challenge has been wonderful to watch and we’re over the moon at the total raised. This will make a real difference to our families at Derian House.”

Richard Few, Founder and Chief Geek at Sales Geek, said: “We decided to get involved after visiting Derian House. I don’t think you can walk around the hospice and not feel compelled afterwards to want to help in some way. It was fantastic to see the number of people who have got involved and the amount of money raised. It’s been great for the businesses themselves and all for a great cause.”


WINNERS: Corporate Challenge Awards 2019


£50 Challenge Winner – Chameleon Financial Planning
Raised more than £7,000 with their Spring Fayre, Easter egg hunt and gigantic raffle. They also held a corporate golf day.


Above and Beyond Award – Jets GPS
Went the extra mile when two of the team ran the London Marathon dressed as a tooth and toothbrush and managed to bag a Guinness World Record in the process! They also recruited other local businesses to take part in their netball tournament.


Most Entrepreneurial – System Hygiene
Used their £50 to buy a pitch at a local car boot sale and also dabbled with football cards across the office and got colleagues to fill Smarties tubes with £1 coins.


LOL Award – Media Village
For employee Ross’s hilarious video “braving the shave”


Most Creative – Bind Studio
Bind held two auctions of stunning artwork by celebrated artists, including Great British Bake Off’s Noel Fielding.


Social Media Superstars – fulfilmentcrowd
The team at fulfilmentcrowd plastered their social media with comedy pictures videos to tell the world about their fundraising FIFA tournaments, raffles and a sponge-throw.


Commitment to the Cause – K J Fire Safety
There was nothing these guys wouldn’t tackle. They held a fantastic midsummer party with live music and food, scaled the Lake District three peaks, took part in the Morecambe Bay Walk, and one person even took on a 10k hike in Sydney, Australia! And they’ve not finished yet, with a five-day trek up the Andes mountains in Peru planned.


Endurance Award – Nybble
Nybble scored a blinder with their 12-hour football challenge and family fun day in Blackburn.


Derian House Special Recognition Award – Service Care Solutions
The loyal supporters of Derian House held a barbecue, bake sale and staff took part in the three peaks challenge.


Sales Geek Special Recognition Award – Findel Education
Findel stood out for both the amount of events they held and their unique fundraising ideas, including a charity car wash, sponsored silence, duvet day auction, £1 parking for the day, takeaway lunch for everyone and office raffles.

Peter’s wheely good challenge for Derian House

A New Longton truck driver is planning to cycle across Cuba to raise money for children with life-limiting conditions.

Peter Boulton, 67, will undertake the gruelling challenge next month in aid of Derian House Children’s Hospice, which helps more than 400 children and their families from across Lancashire.

The self-funded challenge is nothing new for thrill-seeking Peter, who has previously raised £50,000 for charities with six international fundraising events, including a dog sled expedition across Lapland, scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, travelling to Everest Base Camp, cycling from Vietnam to Cambodia and also across Rajasthan in India.

Peter, who has already raised £4,000 of his £10,000 target, with an afternoon tea event organised with the help of wife Valerie, said: “It’s been a wonderful experience taking on these challenges over the past 10 years. It keeps me fit and active and also gives back to my local community.

“This is my first fundraising challenge for Derian House and I am looking forward to raising money and helping local children and their families.”

To help boost funds, is hosting a bingo night on Friday, 4 October, at Longton VM Bowling Club. Doors open at 7pm. Entry is free and all are welcome.

Kevin Bedford, Fundraising Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Peter’s challenge for Derian House is really inspiring and the money he raises will make a real difference to the children and young people we care for.

“Derian House Children’s Hospice supports more than 400 children with life limiting conditions across Lancashire, with respite and end-of-life care. Our aim is to give children the very best care, and help families create happy memories together to last a lifetime.”

You can sponsor Peter by visiting:

New hospice service gives young adults a helping hand

Helping young adults with life-limiting conditions to build a network of friends is the focus of a new service at Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Derian House has joined forces with charity LifeNoW for the new project that aims to smooth the transition from children’s to adult services.

A member of staff will dedicate their time to making sure young adults can enjoy an active social life and get the support they need to lead a fulfilling life in the outside world.

“When a young adult reaches their 26th birthday, they are no longer able to access services at Derian House and, although their care needs can be met by adult services, they can find themselves feeling socially isolated,” said Lynn Grayson, Clinical Director at Derian House Children’s Hospice.

“Advancements in technology and medicine mean life expectancy for some people with complex conditions is improving, and we are seeing more and more young adults facing this situation. Where they once enjoyed coming to Derian for respite stays, social visits and emotional support, they can find themselves socially cut off and spending more time alone.” She added.

The partnership is believed to be the first of its kind in the sector and is based on a shared vision for helping children and young people live their best life now, no matter what difficulties they face.

LifeNow has funded the special member of staff to work at Derian House for one year, with possibilities of rolling out the programme further.

The newly-appointed LifeNow Transition Support Worker, Shelley Baron, will work with more than 20 young people at Derian House, helping them to build supportive social networks in the outside world and ensuring they have as much support as possible from agencies.

“I am passionate about the needs of young adults and helping them to make a rich and fulfilling social life in which they are supported outside the hospice setting,” said Shelley, who took up the post in September.

George Thomas, Co-Founder and Trustee at LifeNow, said: “We appreciate that even with the best NHS and local services there can be challenges in the transition from children’s to adult services, and this is what we aim to bridge.

“This is the beginning of a very exciting time and we are really proud that this excellent project has come to fruition. What this new service provides is hope and not just for those young adults immediately involved, but for younger families who will see provision being made for their children in the future.”

Chorley Live and local children’s hospice band together


Visitors to this year’s Chorley Live can now get their event wristbands to guarantee them a great night out with help from the local children’s hospice, Derian House.

In addition to once again teaming up with the Creative Network, Chorley Council is working with Derian House on this year’s Chorley Live festival as part of a partnership to raise further awareness of the event and the children’s hospice.

Now in its seventh year, Chorley Live takes over dozens of venues from cafes to churches and everything in between, sprinkling a bit of magic over Chorley town centre on a Friday and Saturday night.

It transforms the atmosphere in the town with people of all ages from 8 to 80 enjoying live entertainment into the night.

The bright green wristbands that guarantee entry to all venues are on sale for just £5 and feature the Derian House logo. Over 30 venues have signed up to host the festival, which this year will feature the Derian House outdoor stage on Fazakerley Street.

Councillor Peter Wilson, Deputy Leader of Chorley Council, said: “It’s been brilliant to see Chorley Live grow year on year and we are delighted to have Derian House working with ourselves and the Creative Network to make the event even bigger.

“Over 11,000 people from all over the North West came to Chorley last year for a night out because it is something a bit different with almost 300 live performances to choose from over two nights.

“The event will not only boost our local economy and improve trade in Chorley businesses, but it will also attract more of the public into Chorley to enjoy the nightlife and see everything Chorley has to offer with entertainment for all ages and families.  It is extremely popular and we’d encourage people to get their wristbands now.”

David Robinson, Chief Executive at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Chorley Live is a fantastic event, which we are absolutely thrilled to be a part of this year. The partnership will help us to raise money over the weekend to support more than 400 local families who have a child with a life-threatening illness.

“It is great to see our logo added to the wristbands and we are very excited to be hosting the new stage area on Fazakerley Street, alongside the street’s two venues, The Shed and Lost Bar.”

Nigel Stewart founder of the Creative Network and who came up with the ‘Live’ concept, said: “It’s fantastic to see how many businesses are happy to offer themselves as venues, and how it’s bringing organisations like Derian House, together to show they are willing to get involved with the event and promote the town.

“The venues are already excited for the event and how much interest there is already across Chorley.  We are expecting wristbands to sell out again and that’s not surprising at just £5 – you get so much for your money.

“The performers are also selling wristbands and it’s going to be a great opportunity for performers to get out there and show off their talents to new faces and followers.”

Chorley Live takes place on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 October.  Further information can be found at

For more information please contact Events and Tourism Lead, Louise Finch on 01257 515062.

The venues are:

  • Bay Leaf
  • Bubble n Shake
  • Buttonhole
  • Covered Market
  • Crown
  • Cunliffe Hall
  • Flat Iron
  • Ginnel
  • Goodies
  • Grandad Jims
  • Hollinshead Street Church Hall
  • Imperial
  • Last Orders
  • Library
  • Little Theatre
  • Lost (Fazakerley Street stage)
  • Massa’s
  • Pearsons
  • Prince of Wales
  • Railway
  • Rose and Crown
  • Rosie Posies
  • Sam’s Bar
  • Shed (Fazakerley Street stage)
  • Shepherd’s Hall
  • St George’s Church
  • St Laurence’s Church
  • St Mary’s Social Club
  • Town Hall
  • White Bull
  • White Hart
  • Inspire Chorley Youth Zone

£100,000 cinema brings families together at Chorley children’s hospice

The magic of the movies is bringing smiles to seriously ill children – with the opening of a brand new accessible cinema at Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Now children and young people confined to wheelchairs, or even hospital beds, will be able to enjoy the full cinematic experience alongside their family and friends, without leaving the building.

The ribbon was cut to officially open the new cinema today (Thursday, 29 August), by Wigan actor Ben Batt – who appeared in Channel 4 comedy drama Shameless and Marvel blockbuster Captain America: The First Avenger.

Friends Francesca, 15 and Amelie, 14, who both come to Derian House for respite, were the first to experience it, with a screening of The Greatest Showman.

Amelie’s dad Darren said: “Having a facility like this is going to make a family trip to the cinema something we can now do. Being in busy crowded places can cause Amelie to have a meltdown so going to the cinema isn’t something she would cope with. Knowing that this is in environment where Amelie is happy will be a big benefit for us.”

The £100,000 cinema has been donated to the hospice by charity Together for Cinema, which brings cinema to children with life-limiting conditions.

Founder Ian Morrish said: “This was a hugely ambitious project that has been achieved with the help and generosity of many within the audio visual industry. We hope that the children, their families and of course the staff enjoy the new facility for many years to come.”

The state-of-the-art cinema is part of the hospice’s £1.2 million “Fit for the Future” refurbishment to ensure the building is suitable for the ever-changing needs of the children and young people who use Derian House now and in the future.

The 120-inch screen will give families a fully-immersive experience, with hotdogs, popcorn and candy floss being served to make their trip as authentic as possible.

Stephen Nevison, Director of Intuitive Homes, donated his time and expertise to lead the installation of the new cinema. His six-year-old daughter Aria even raised £1,500 to buy little extras including beanbags, a popcorn machine, a light-up sign and film posters for the room by designing and selling compact mirrors.

Stephen said: “I am so grateful to all of the manufacturers who have donated products and would like to give a special thanks to the ones who really went over and above what anyone could have expected and made my initial wish-list into a reality. It’s been an absolute pleasure working at Derian as all of the staff have been so accommodating and lovely to be around.

“I’m incredibly proud of the results we have achieved and can’t wait for the children and families to use it. This has been an amazing experience so far and more rewarding that I could have imagined and I’m looking forward to the years of supporting and working with Derian House in the future.”

David Robinson, Chief Executive at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said:  “We are absolutely blown away by the generosity of Together For Cinema and all the suppliers who have donated products to make Derian at the Movies a reality. Stephen Nevison and the team from Intuitive Homes have gone above and beyond our wildest dreams to create a beautiful cinema room that will make a huge difference to the children, young people and families who come to Derian House.

“When you have a child with a life-limiting condition, simple things such as going to the cinema as a family can often seem impossible. Juggling accessibility issues, care needs and the needs of siblings means that our families often miss out.

“At Derian House, we do our very best to ensure our families get the same opportunities as everyone else. Our families can now book in for movie nights – complete with popcorn and snacks – enjoying precious time together making memories. “

Bank holiday walkers raise £9,000 for Derian House

More than 200 intrepid walkers crossed Morecambe Bay to raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice on Bank Holiday Monday.

The walkers set off from the promenade at Arnside and headed out onto the sands, led by the Queen’s new official Guide to the Sands, Michael Wilson.

The group – wearing the trademark green Derian House caps – then crossed the River Kent, through 2ft-deep water, and finally across the salt marshes, finishing at Kent’s Bank Station.

Those taking part included families who use Derian’s services, business supporters and staff, with the youngest participant little Poppy at just two-years-old.

The event also coincided with International Day of the Dog, with a number of plucky pups joining their owners to take part.

The walk, now in its 24th year, raised £9,000 for the charity which helps more than 400 seriously ill children and young people every year.

Miriam Payne, Event and Promotions Manager at Derian House, said: “Morecambe Bay Walk is one of our favourite events, and this was the perfect way to spend the Bank Holiday. The weather was glorious and everyone was in a great mood, having fun and raising money for Derian House. We were so lucky, especially considering what the weather was like on the original date!

“I’d especially like to thank all of the Derian staff and volunteers who made it possible to pull off this event, and helped keep everyone safe.”

The Morecambe Bay Walk had originally been planned for Saturday, 10 August, but torrential rain and flash flooding meant it was called off at the last minute for safety reasons.

It costs almost £4million per year to keep the doors open at Derian House, but less than 10 per cent of this comes from government funding. For the remainder, we rely on the generosity of our supporters.