Linda Miller, 75, is one of Derian House’s original fundraisers who raised money to buy the land the hospice was built on 30 years ago. She is still helping Derian House out today – she is so dedicated and has helped so many families over the years with her fundraising.
Linda and Jim Miller, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June last year, have sold thousands of knitted snowmen to raise money for Derian House.
Linda said: “A few of us knew Derek and Ian Haydock. I remember when Derek was ill and they would have to drive him to the hospital every day. They shouldn’t have had to do that. There wasn’t much support for children or their parents back then.
“I worked at Leyland Trucks back then. We all did a whip round at the office and raised £50 to get the family some petrol money for all the hospital journeys.
“That was just the start.” Said Linda. “We became part of the original Derian committee. We started to hold events to raise money for the appeal.
“We were delighted when the money was raised. Then the hospice build began and we both met Ken Dodd when he dug the first turf.”
75-year-old Linda experienced a stroke eight years ago which left her with impaired vision and dementia, but she hasn’t let that stop her from knitting snowmen which she sells for £1 each.
“I’d never knitted a thing before I started making the snowmen.” Said Linda. “During the pandemic I was making one per day. We’ve sold thousands of them.”
Linda knitted 420 snowmen and raised £635 for Derian House during COVID.
“Lots of people were saying ‘take a fiver and keep the change’ because they knew it was for Derian House.” Continued Linda.
Despite suffering two heart attacks and spending time in hospital recovering three years ago, Linda has continues with her knitting.
“In a lot of ways knitting keeps me going and it’s also helping my favourite charity.” Said Linda. “We sell the snowmen everywhere. We sell them at our church in Leyland, at the caravan site we visit.
“Worden park café in Leyland has been helping us to sell them. Whenever they serve the tea or coffee, they put down a snowman to encourage people to buy one.
“We have sold them in France, Spain, Germany, Canada, America. Whenever we go to visit our relatives, we sell them.”
Linda’s husband, Jim, is always at her side to support her. He said: “We keep on selling the snowmen to do what we can for Derian House. I even taught our grandson some sales gimmicks to help sell them.
“He was shouting ‘one snowman for £1, two snowmen for £2, and three for £2!’” Laughed Jim. “People would stop and ask him if he’d got it wrong. Then they’d buy three for £3.
“Linda and I remember how Derian House was when it first opened.” Said Jim. “It has changed over the years and we think it is superb now.
“Derian House hits home for us because our son was born prematurely. He was in an incubator and we couldn’t take him home for three weeks. Thankfully, he was back home with us by Christmas. He turns 50 next year.
“But it just shows that you can never predict what’s going to happen. For all the families at Derian House to have those services and that support – I think it’s just wonderful.”