Live music, glitter face paint and lots of cake were the order of the day as Derian House Children’s Hospice threw open its gates for a festival-themed Open Gardens event.
The charity’s ‘D in the Park’ festival welcomed 400 families, supporters, and furry friends for the rare opportunity to visit the hospice’s vibrant outdoor spaces as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS).
Visitors of all ages sang along to a line-up of Lancashire musicians, including Derian House Patron and cabaret star Kiki Deville, bereaved sibling Jacob Reddy, and Derian’s very own music teacher Rachel Toner.
Crowds were also wowed by local dance troupe DLN Crew, who put on a show in the hospice’s Smile Park.
Alongside a giant bubble art show, a festival play-tent, and a sweet stall, guests were able to treat themselves to homemade cakes and refreshments and peruse a gardening pop-up shop with plants grown by the children at the hospice for sale from Derian’s Victorian greenhouse.
Throughout the day, visitors had the chance to speak to Gareth the Gardener, Derian’s dedicated volunteers, and even meet Shuna, one of the charity’s Pets as Therapy dogs.
Supporters enjoyed exploring the hospice grounds including the seaside garden, the smile park playground, the sensory garden, the family woodland counselling pod, and the infinity pool water feature within the reflection area.
This is the second time the hospice has welcomed in visitors to its gardens this year, with a Pirate-themed garden event in April drawing in almost 300 supporters.
Eileen Murray, 71, a regular volunteer at Derian House who helped out on the day, said: “I really enjoyed Derian’s Open Gardens event. It was brilliant to see so many visitors – everyone came out in the sunshine and made it a very happy event. And the live music acts really made the day! I’m definitely looking forward to the next one!”
Marian and Brian Jones, County Organisers of the NGS for Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester, said: “We had a very enjoyable visit to Derian House, including a tour of Derian’s wonderful gardens, by Gareth the gardener and it was clear that he loves his job. There was a terrific atmosphere at the event and visitors were all enjoying themselves. Derian clearly puts a lot of effort into their NGS opening with lots of entertainment and things to see. We spoke with a number of staff and volunteers all of whom echoed Gareth’s view that Derian House is very enjoyable and rewarding place.”
Gillian Rabbett, Events and Legacies Marketing Coordinator at Derian House, said: “It was so lovely to welcome our supporters back to the hospice for our summer open gardens event.
“Gareth and his team of volunteer gardeners work tirelessly all year round to keep the hospice grounds looking beautiful so it’s nice to be able to show off their hard work.
“Thanks to our suppliers and performers who made the day really special. It was lovely to see families having fun together in the gardens and supporting their local children’s hospice.”
Derian House provides respite and end-of-life care to more than 450 children and young people across the North West. The gardens at the hospice offer tranquil outdoor spaces for children and their families to spend precious time together.