Universes collided when heroes with and without capes flew in for Derian House’s Open Gardens event – where Captain America and Superwoman assembled alongside local firefighter’s and police officers.
Families, supporters, and furry friends were welcomed in for the rare opportunity to visit the Chorley hospice’s vibrant outdoor spaces as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) on Sunday (13 August).
With demonstrations from the Chorley on-call fire unit, and the chance to ride in a police car and sound the siren with PCSO’s of Chorley police, visitors also enjoyed glitter face paint and superhero crafts.
Captain America – Derian ambassador Colin Wilby – brought along his shield, and Superwoman – volunteer Clare Bankhead – made an appearance with Derian’s own super therapy dog – Tallulah the labradoodle.
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.
Throughout the day, visitors had the chance to speak to Gareth the Gardener, Derian’s dedicated volunteers, and meet Shuna – another of the charity’s Pets as Therapy dogs.
Superstar fundraiser Oscar Burrow, who climbed the height of Mt. Everest to raise money for Derian House earlier this year, also came along and met with Captain America himself.
And film crew of the Derian House documentary – The Little Things – were around to capture the day.
Supporters enjoyed exploring the hospice grounds including the seaside garden, the smile park playground, the family woodland counselling pod, and the infinity pool water feature within the reflection area.
Volunteer Clare Bankhead, who visits the hospice weekly with her therapy pup Tallulah, said: “Super dog Lula had a great afternoon at Derian’s Open Gardens with her Superwoman mum. It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves in the beautiful gardens and to join the amazing team of volunteers to support this event. Lula’s special highlights were meeting Captain America and real life super hero Oscar.”
This is the second time the hospice has welcomed in visitors to its gardens this year, after opening up its gardens for a flower-themed event in April.
Margaret and Geoff Fletcher, Assistant County Organisers of the NGS for Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester, said: “We really enjoyed our visit to Derian House. What a lovely group of staff and volunteers, it was great to chat to them all. Each time we visit, we see all the well thought out changes in the garden and new ideas for children’s play and enjoyment. It was lovely to see the fire engine and the police car and well done to Gareth and his team!”
Gillian Rabbett, Events and Legacies Marketing Coordinator at Derian House, said: “This Open Gardens was truly super and it was so lovely to welcome our supporters back to the hospice – this time to meet heroes of all kinds!
“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 everyone 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, based in Chorley, Lancashire, cares for more than 400 babies, children, young people and their families from across the North West and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will cost £6m to run services at Derian House in 2023, and so the charity relies on the generosity of its supporters for 70p in every £1.