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.