Candles flickered brightly inside Blackburn Cathedral as supporters gathered to enjoy a magical evening of carols and readings at the annual Christmas service for Derian House Children’s Hospice, on Friday evening (Dec 2).
The festive celebration featured live performances from the Rawstorne Singers and Local Vocals choirs as well as special readings from hospice staff, volunteers and supporters.
12-year-old Leila, who comes to Derian House for respite stays, had a huge smile on her face as she pressed the button to officially switch on the huge Lights of Love Christmas tree – watched by her proud family.
Crowds entered the cathedral to the rousing music of Wingates Brass Band who set the tone for the evening of festive fun.
Readings were heard from Lieutenant of Lancashire, the Lord Shuttleworth HM Lord who is Patron of the charity, as well as the Mayor of Chorley, Councillor Julia Berry who is raising money for Derian House during her year in office.
The crowd joined in carols, including a poignant candlelit rendition of Silent Night, and the whole service was translated into sign language to ensure everyone could enjoy the evening.
David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House, who will step down from the charity at the end of December, welcomed the crowd as the proceedings began.
He said: “For myself and many others, our Lights of Love service marks the start of Christmas and we were delighted to be back at Blackburn Cathedral for one of the most magical and uplifting celebrations of the year.
“It’s a wonderful chance for us to look back at what we have achieved over the year, and a time to celebrate all the wonderful memories we’ve been able to give to our families thanks to the kind donations of our supporters.”
Guests stayed behind for a mince pie after the service, donated by Bowen’s pies.
Derian House Children’s Hospice cares for more than 450 children and young people with life-limiting conditions, as well as their families. The Chorley-based charity costs £5.7million to run every year, and only receives a small percentage of this from funding.