A big-hearted Chorley man has raised a massive £12,000 for Derian House Children’s Hospice by staging a fun-packed Jingle All The Way sponsored walk – with all 130-plus participants dressed as Father Christmas!
“It was a great day!” said Neil Hailwood. “Even now, when I look back to that Saturday in November, when we reached the summit of Rivington Pike, I smile and think what a fabulous time we all had. It wasn’t just the experience of being with all the other Santas, though: it was the feeling that we were making a difference to the lives of children and families at Derian House. ”
Jingle All the Way was the fifth sponsored event that caring Neil has organised for Derian House. He has previously led sponsored walks and bike rides: a Walk of Faith in Blackpool and a trek along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, as well as a Wheels and Heels and Bike and Hike event. For his Christmas-themed Jingle, Neil gathered local support for a 15-mile hike from the centre of Chorley to the top of the local landmark and back.
Neil started fundraising for Derian House in Chorley following the death of 10-year-old Ethan Swallow, the son of his good friend, Adam, five years ago “Ethan was such a lovely little lad who managed to fight off cancer twice before losing his final battle, but even in his last days he had a cheeky smile on his face that got him into and out of so much trouble
“He is my inspiration and I promised him at his funeral, that I would do everything I could to give something back each year,” said Neil, an IT manager who is married to Tracey and dad of Lauren (14) and Matthew (9).
Neil was inspired to stage 2016’s Jingle All The Way on a family walk to Rivington Pike in the height of summer and managed to stage the challenge which caught the public’s imagination just a couple of months later. But he is quick to acknowledge all those who made it possible, including compere Paul K. “Ten great companies each donated £100 to cover the cost of the event, too – without them, none of this would have been possible,” said Neil.
Derian House Community Fund-Raiser Judy Miller said: “Neil is a true Derian House hero. His passion and enthusiasm for raising money for our children and families is truly inspiring and we are over the moon with his latest donation, which takes his fund-raising total for us to more than £36,000.
“In 2017 our fund-raising target is £3.85 million and we simply couldn’t reach that without the generosity of our amazing supporters, our corporate partners and friends in the community, people like Neil who are prepared to go that extra mile. We’re here round-the-clock for families, children and young people from across the North West who need us, whether that’s for end-of-life care, respite care, Derian @ Home or bereavement support : our supporters make that possible.
“Thank you to everyone who took part in 2016’s Jingle All The Way: we’re waiting with bated breath to see what fund-raiser Neil has planned next!”