Blooming brilliant launch for charity’s celebrity art exhibition

STARS of stage and screen unveiled their artwork for charity at a glittering launch event on Friday night.

The Flower Power project has seen more than 25 celebrities pick up their paintbrushes to raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice.

On Friday night, flowers designed by celebrities including Joanna Lumley, Jeremy Vine, Geri “Ginger Spice” Horner, Timmy Mallett and Helen Lederer, were showcased to the public, at Hepplestone Fine Art Gallery at Heskin Hall.

The artwork makes up a beautiful birthday bouquet to mark the 25th anniversary of Derian House, which provides respite and end-of-life care for children from across the North West.

The flowers are now on display at Derian’s charity shop in Chorley town centre, and are being auctioned on eBay (finishing on Monday, 11 March).

Click here to see the artwork and place a bid.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House, said: “The whole idea came from our 25th anniversary this year. We decided to ask celebrities to design us a birthday bouquet, and have been overwhelmed by their creativity and generosity. Hepplestone Fine Art Gallery has done an amazing job of showcasing the work.”

Comedian and radio presenter Ted Robbins, who designed one of the flowers, along with his wife Judy and celebrity cake-maker daughter Molly Robbins, was at the event in his role as Derian Ambassador.

He said: “It’s a while since I’ve done any painting, but I did do it as part of my degree and enjoyed it. Our Molly is the real arty one in the family and Judy’s flower is a knock-out too. The last time I had a painting framed I was nine-years-old and got a red star for it!

“It’s really interesting seeing how the celebrities have done different types of flowers – some are cartoony and there’s been a lot of work put into some of them. There’s some great names in the exhibition.”

Leyland artist Michael Ashcroft, whose paintings usually sell for up to £10,000, painted a sunflower for the project.

At Friday’s event, he said: “Derian House is a wonderful local cause and I was honoured to be invited to take part. It’s great that all these celebrities have come out in support of such a worthy charity. The best flower in my opinion is probably Geri’s. She was always my favourite Spice Girl!”

Derian House needs to raise £4million every year to keep the hospice running. Less than 10 per cent of this comes from statutory funding, so it relies heavily on the generosity of its supporters.

Visit www.derianhouse.co.uk/flower-power

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 https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/margaret-lees1

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.”

Lifelites donation brings smiles to children at Chorley hospice

CUTTING-edge equipment that will give wheelchair-bound children the sensation of playing football or splashing in the sea, has been donated to Derian House Children’s Hospice.

The £50,000 package of specialist technology, given by national children’s charity, Lifelites, will help children play games with their friends, make music, and communicate with their family.

 

One of the pieces – the Magic Carpet – projects an image onto the floor, a wheelchair or a bed, which the children can interact with. This technology gives them the chance to escape the confines of their condition and make magical memories. The equipment is portable so the Derian at Home team can take it to use with children who are too ill to travel into the hospice.

 

Staff from Lifelites arrived on-site this week to install to deliver the huge haul of goodies and train staff on how to use them. Every four years, the charity will replace the technology completely free of charge.

 

David Robinson, Chief Executive at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We’re incredibly humbled by the generosity of the donation from Lifelites, and also the time they have taken to show our staff how to get the most out of this fabulous equipment.

“At Derian we’re focussed on being innovative and forward-thinking to offer our children and young people the very best experiences available to make happy memories in the time they have.

“This technology will make a real difference to our families and we can’t wait to start using it.”

 

Rob, 21, who uses Derian’s services, said: “I think the new equipment is really good. I’ve played the X-box now with Chris. We’re tag-teaming. He’s steering and I’m doing the accelerator.”

Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites said: “We are delighted to be able to provide this magical technology for the children and young people at Derian House. This technology will help them escape the confines of their conditions to do things they never dreamed of, for as long as it is possible. We couldn’t have provided this package if it wasn’t for the generosity of our donors, so for this we are incredibly grateful.”

 

Lifelites has donated equipment to every children’s hospice in the British Isles over the last 18 years, and continues to provide new technology and ongoing support to ensure that children in hospices have unlimited possibilities.

 

Lifelites was only able to donate this equipment thanks to the generosity of donors. They were Freemasons from Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Hertfordshire, the Sobell Foundation, Children with Cancer UK, GamesAid and Microsoft.

Keepy-up King in ‘bonkers’ football trek across Sahara Desert for charity

Freestyle footballer John Farnworth will be crossing the Sahara Desert, juggling a football with every step, in an attempt to set his most ambitious record yet.

The keepy-up king is undertaking the mammoth challenge to raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley, Lancashire.

The amazing feat will see children’s TV personality John, travelling 100km (more than 60 miles) over some of the world’s highest sand dunes, in searing 40-degree heat. And all while keeping a ball in the air.

At night he will be cooking his food in the wilderness, and sleeping under Africa’s star-strewn skies in temperatures below freezing point.

If successful, it will be his 10th Guinness World Record. He has previously kept a football in the air for the entire route of the London Marathon and in 2018 even battled blizzard conditions on treacherous Mount Everest as he did keepy-ups on the side of the world’s highest mountain.

Lancashire-born John has dazzled crowds around the globe with his amazing ball control skills and transformed the freestyle football world with his epic challenges.

But when he visited Derian House Children’s Hospice last year, he knew he had to use his fancy footwork to help the worthy cause.

He said: “Derian is an amazing place. When I came to visit and found out how much money needs to be raised every year to keep the services running, I just knew I had to help. The best way for me to contribute is through freestyle, it’s what I do.”

John is already hard at work training, with tough gym sessions every day and trips to the beach at Lytham, Lancashire, to get ready for travelling on sand.
He said: “It’s going to be very tough, but I always like to push my own personal limits and push the barriers in freestyle – that’s just the way I live. I don’t like to do anything that has
been done before.”

John hopes the epic Challenge Sahara, which will take place in March, will help inspire others.

He said: “I don’t mind that to the average person this seems bonkers. Freestyle has taught me so much about learning and with the right training and dedication I’m confident I can complete this challenge. I want to show people what is possible with the right attitude to aim up above their current capabilities.”

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “When we first found out about John’s challenge we thought, quite frankly, it was impossible! But after seeing what John is capable of we have every faith in him. We can’t wait to follow his progress on the journey and thank him for choosing to support our work at Derian House. His efforts will make a real difference to the lives of our children and young people.”

Derian House offers respite and end-of-life care to more than 350 families across Lancashire and South Cumbria. The charity needs to raise £4million every year to continue supporting its families.

To sponsor John in Challenge Sahara, visit his Just Giving page

To see John’s training progress, visit Facebook: @footballgenius Instagram: @john.farnworth

Santa bikers bring joy to children’s hospice

MORE than 100 bikers armed with toys and gifts descended on Derian House Children’s Hospice at the weekend.

The generous Rivington Barn Bikers travelled en masse from Rivington to Chorley to deliver gifts for the children and young people, which they had collected over the past few months.

Organiser Craig Hayward, said: “We started this last year on behalf of my son who spent time at Derian House a long time ago. I just wanted to give something back and do something to make the kids happy.

“This year we decided to do it again and we have had twice as many taking part. The biker community is amazing. You mention the word charity and they’re there. They made this possible.”

The bikers formed a human train – stretching from the car park, through reception and down the hospice bedroom corridor – to pass down each present – all while singing ‘Jingle Bells’ and shouting Ho Ho Ho!

Children staying at the hospice watched from the hospice front steps, thrilled at the extraordinary scene unfolding before them.

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 couldn’t believe their eyes, they were absolutely spellbound – it was joyous.

“On behalf of Derian House, thank you to each and every one of the guys who came. These presents will put big smiles on our children’s faces.”

Visit https://tinyurl.com/ybeyax5z to join Derian’s Christmas Campaign.

Remembering loved ones at Derian’s festive concert

HUNDREDS flocked to an uplifting Christmas concert held at Blackburn Cathedral on Friday.

Derian House Children’s Hospice annual Lights of Love event saw the spectacular cathedral illuminated by hundreds of Christmas tree lights – each one representing the life of a loved one.

The event also included festive carols performed by St Elisabeth’s Parish Choir, Reddish. One highlight being a poignant rendition of Silent Night sung partly in German – reminiscent of the Christmas Day Truce – to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Staff and volunteers from Derian House got involved too, with The Derian Singers choir performing “This is Me” from hit film The Greatest Showman.

Brothers Michael, 21, and Andrew Mills, 19 – who both use services at Derian House – signed the song words in Makaton for the crowd.

Play It Forward Brass Band Ensemble – a group of who give up their time to make music and raise funds to make a positive difference to other people’s lives – also took part.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “2018 has been a wonderful year for Derian House. In our 25th anniversary year we have supported more than 350 families from across the North West to make happy memories.

“It has been a year of love and laughter. Of course, there have also been sad times. And Lights of Love is also about remembering the lives of friends and family who are no longer with us.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice is based in Chorley and looks after children and young people with life-limiting conditions across Lancashire and South Cumbria. The charity provides respite and end-of-life care and aims to help families create precious memories that will last a lifetime.

The Derian House Singers                              CREDIT: Michael Sewell Photography

 

Leyland’s new shop offers bargains galore

Leyland shoppers can grab a bargain with Derian House’s new charity shop focusing on fashion and furniture coming to town.

We opened a new store in Hough Lane on Friday – just in time for the Christmas rush.

Our previous store, on the opposite side of the street, closed its doors last week. It has been replaced with a bigger, brighter revamped store with a fresh modern look.

The new shop will focus on best-selling stock, including women’s fashion, gifts, trinkets and furniture.

There will also be a full range of Derian House branded products, from Derian mugs and candles to chocolate and pin badges.

And during the festive season there will also be Derian’s very own Christmas cards, calendars, diaries and sweet treats.

The new shop has been decorated with our trademark bright colours and has a TV screen showing the charity’s latest news and events.

Remembering loved ones at ‘Lights of Love’

Inspirational youngsters will lead an uplifting Christmas service to help raise funds for Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Brothers Michael, 21, and Andrew Mills, 19, who both use services at Derian, will translate the modern classic “This is Me” into Makaton sign language for the crowd.

The song, which features in the box office hit The Greatest Showman, is being performed by the Derian Singers, a choir made up of 22 staff from the hospice who have been rehearsing for weeks.

Lights of Love Service is Derian’s annual Christmas concert, being held on Friday, 7 December at Blackburn Cathedral, from 7.30pm and is open to everyone.

This year’s service also features performances by The Choir of St Elisabeth’s Parish Church in Reddish and Play It Forward Brass Band Ensemble – a group of musicians from all walks of life who give up their time to make music and raise funds to make a positive difference to other people’s lives.

23-year-old Katy Galbraith, who also visits Derian, will switch on the ‘lights of love’ on the cathedral Christmas tree to remember all the friends and family who are no longer with us.

Free tickets to Lights of Love can be reserved by emailing fundraising@derianhouse.co.uk or by calling the hospice on 01257 271271.

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