Skydiving granny takes to the air to raise money for sick children

The sky is the limit for 90-year-old Patricia Baker, who is jumping out of an airplane this weekend to raise money for children at Derian House Children’s Hospice.

The great-granny, from Farington, decided to mark her big birthday by skydiving from 15,000ft to raise much-needed funds for the charity.

Although she turned 90 in July, the coronavirus pandemic meant her daredevil stunt had to be postponed. But determined Pat has rescheduled for this Sunday (4 October).

She will be cheered on by daughter Carole and sons Michael and Stephen and has already more than doubled her original fundraising target of £500 with her current total sat at £1,300.

Pat will split the money raised between Derian House and Hillside specialist school in Longridge, which supports her great-grandson Max.

Adventurous Pat, who has six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, said: “My friend had her 90th birthday a week before me, in July. She was telling me about her ‘bucket list’ of things she was going to do and asked what mine was. I said I’d not really thought about it, so I had a think and decided to do one big thing instead.

“I have always wanted to skydive, but it just never came up over the years. I’m not frightened of heights – I’ve been up in a hot air balloon and paragliding before but I’ve never been to 15,000ft so this will be a new experience.”

Before Pat was allowed to take to the skies, she required a letter of approval from her doctor – but her GP originally refused to entertain the idea.

Not to be deterred, Pat took matters into her own hands and completed a rigorous medical test at Black Knights Parachute Centre in Cockerham, where she will jump from. The tests saw her harnessed-up and suspended from the ceiling as well as timed holding her legs up to see if she could land safely – all of which she passed with flying colours. Pat returned to the GP’s surgery armed with her results and was duly given the all-clear.

Pat admits that her friends at the crown green bowling club she plays for think she’s “crackers” but said that they have all sponsored her and are behind her all the way.

Daughter Carole, 59, from Penwortham, said: “We’re really proud of mum for doing this. When she told us her birthday plans I did think she was crazy, but I wasn’t surprised. It’s typical of our family to do something like this!”

Pat has been in training for the weekend, doing 50 sit-ups a day and morning stretches.

“I wouldn’t do this for myself,” Pat continued, “but I thought I’d like to do it to raise money for children. I wanted to do it for Derian House because the children there don’t get to have a full life like I’ve had and I think the work the staff do is fantastic.”

Caroline Taylor, Communications and Marketing Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We see some truly amazing fundraising challenges here at Derian House but what Patricia is doing is simply inspirational. What a legend!

“At Derian House we look after more than 400 babies, children and young adults with life-limiting illnesses, making sure they get the very best care and have the opportunity to create precious memories with their families.

“It is only down to the generosity of supporters such as Pat that we are able to offer this service and on behalf of all of our children and their families we are truly grateful.”

You can sponsor Pat’s skydive here:

PIC CREDIT: Neil Cross, Lancashire Post.

Charity tells furloughed workers: we need you!

Furloughed or redundant service workers are being asked to lend a hand by helping out in their local charity shop.

Derian House Children’s Hospice, based in Chorley, is in desperate need of volunteers to help run its shops in Leyland, Chorley and Horwich.

The coronavirus pandemic has meant volunteer numbers are down after many helpers were forced to shield or isolate.

Now the charity, which offers respite and end-of-life care to more than 400 children and young adults with life-limiting conditions from across the North West, is hoping those who have skills in the service industry can come to its rescue.

“We know there are loads of really skilled people out there who have great experience in the service industry but have been furloughed or made redundant,” said Andrew Upton-Ford, Retail Manager at Derian House.

“We’d love for them to help us out by offering to volunteer at our shops while we’re finding it hard to cover the hours with the staff and volunteers we have.

“Volunteers are our lifeblood and we simply couldn’t operate our network of shops without them. We’re really flexible with our days and times and they don’t need to have specific retail experience – anyone who has worked in a bar or restaurant would be ideal too.”

The charity is looking to recruit around 30 volunteers for its shops in Leyland, Horwich and Chorley. Duties would include serving customers, displaying goods and light cleaning.

There are also vacancies for volunteers at the charity’s warehouse in Adlington where duties include sorting through donations, putting products on eBay and driving.

Volunteers can give as much or as little of their time as they wish, with opening hours Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.

The benefits of volunteering are well-documented, with people reporting increased feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

It is a way of making new friends, learning new skills and giving back to your local community.

Emma Loughlin volunteers at Derian House Children’s Hospice Leyland charity shop for two days a week and says volunteering is a two-way street.

She said: “I enjoy volunteering at the shop so much. It gets me out and about meeting new people and I look forward to it every week. Everyone at Derian House is so friendly and I like how it’s a two-way thing – I’m helping raise money for the children and this is helping me as well.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice needs £4.8 million to run its services this year. It receives less than 7 per cent of this from government and NHS funding and relies heavily on the support of its community.

To find out more about the charity visit

To register your interest for volunteering please call Frances Lees on 01257 233 300 or email

Chorley charity needs your votes for share of £1million cash prize

Derian House Children’s Hospice is appealing for the support of the public after reaching the final to win a share of a house builder’s £1million charity prize.

Persimmon Homes is giving away the cash to under 18s from across the country in its Building Futures charity programme.

Having been shortlisted in the national programme, Derian House has secured at least £5,000. But it is down to the public vote who bags the top prizes of £100,000, £50,000 and £20,000.

Kevin Bedford, Income Generation Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, appealed to everyone to vote Derian.

He said: “It’s a huge achievement to have been selected as a regional finalist, but now we really need our supporters to get behind us and get voting so that we are in the strongest position possible to earn one of the top three cash awards on the night.

“We’re very lucky at Derian to have incredibly loyal supporters, and we know that they will back us like they always do.”

Derian House looks after 400 children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across the North West. It offers respite and end-of-life care in an environment of fun, respect and outstanding care.

Care is free to the families who use the service, but costs £4.8million every year. Yet only 7 per cent of this money comes from the government, with the charity relying on the generosity of its supporters for 93p in every £1.

To vote for Derian House, visit and select Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Building Futures is being delivered through the Persimmon Charitable Foundation. Through the scheme, a total of 128 grants of £1,000 have been awarded to groups supporting sport, education and arts and health across Persimmon’s 31 regional businesses and its head office.

Online voting opened on 27 July and will close at midnight on 18 September 2020.

Epic walk to inspire kindness

An adventurous dad-of-two is walking from London to Lancashire to raise money for seriously ill children.

Nik McEwan, 34, from Portsmouth, will carry his camping equipment and food on his back as he makes the arduous 208-mile trek from London to Chorley, stopping to eat when he’s hungry and sleep when he’s tired.

The construction consultant will be joined at various points along the way by friends and well-wishers, including pal Lea Turner who will join him for the final 50 miles.

The epic walk will raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley, a charity which offers palliative and end-of-life care to children across the North west, helping them to make the most of every moment.

Starting out from Westminster on Wednesday, 22 July, Nik will work his way up the country, walking around 25 miles per day, picking up his walking mate Lea in Crewe.

The pair will cross the finish line together at the hospice in Chorley on Saturday afternoon, bringing with them dozens of toys for the children who stay there.

Nik said: “I’m in awe of the work the staff and volunteers at Derian House do and feel humble that I’m able to do help the wonderful children and families who receive care there. It’s important to me that my own children – Holly, 13 and Henry, 6 – grow up understanding how lucky they are.”

Nik is no stranger to adventure, having previously completed endurance walking events and sleep outs for charity.

The walk actually came about after the coronavirus pandemic meant the cancellation of his planned 2,000 mile walk from Mexico to Canada. Not to be deterred, Nik decided to take on a UK-based walk to raise money for charity instead.

An influential presence on social media networking site LinkedIn, Nik often inspires others with his talks on resilience and the importance of kindness, after having a tough upbringing.

He said: “I had a difficult childhood and was going down the wrong path. It all came to a head when I lost my job and my relationship in one day and the trauma of the past resurfaced. I decided to make a change and signed up to do a half-marathon. People laughed at me because I’d never done anything like that before, but it made me feel better. I realised that in helping others I had found a resilience I wouldn’t have had just by helping myself.”

Nik’s determination will no doubt put him in good stead to cope with whatever the London to Lancashire walk throws at him.

“Not finishing isn’t an option,” he continued. “On a previous endurance walk, my leg swelled up with 150 miles still to go. I hobbled to the hospital with no skin on my feet and the doctor said he couldn’t see me walking one mile out of that hospital let alone finishing the walk. But I knew that there was no way I wasn’t completing it. If my leg had fallen off, I would have hopped to the finish, because every step I took was a step away from everything I had been through in the past.

“I tell my story because my goal is to teach people that kindness shouldn’t be an option, it should be a way of life. The world is a wonderful place full of wonderful people, it’s just up to us to find it.”

Lea Turner, 35, from Sussex, who runs an audio transcription and mentoring business, said: “I’ve been on the receiving end of Nik’s encouragement, patience and kindness. I have a large online following, like Nik, and knew that if I joined in we could raise even more money for such an incredibly deserving cause. As mother myself, I can’t imagine what these children and parents must go through, and Nik’s friendship and resilience inspired me to join him.”

Caroline Taylor, Communications Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We can’t wait to watch Nik and Lea cross the finish line after their epic walk. Our charity has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with a £250,000 black hole in our income caused by the cancellation of fundraising events and charity shop closures. To receive support like this is vitally important to us now more than ever to ensure we can continue caring for our families. We’re incredibly grateful to Nik and Lea for their dedication and generosity and will be cheering them along every step of the way.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice looks after more than 400 children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across the North West. Care is free for families, but services cost £4.8million to run every year. With only 7 per cent of funding coming from the government, the charity relies on the generosity of its supporters for 93p in every pound it spends. Visit for more details.

Nik and Lea aim to raise £3,000 for Derian House Children’s Hospice. You can sponsor them here:



Children’s Hospice Week reveals incredible work of Derian House in face of coronavirus pandemic

The help being given to families looking after children with life-limiting conditions is being celebrated this Children’s Hospice Week (June 22 to 28) across the UK.

The national week-long celebration of the vital work of the country’s 54 children’s hospices will this year focus on the special help being given to families struggling to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Families from across the North West, supported by Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley, have felt the effects of lockdown, with social isolation taking its toll. Many families reporting being left exhausted after months of providing 24/7 care for their child at home with no respite.

Derian House has offered its families a lifeline – finding new ways to connect and also taking pressure off the NHS.

The charity has created a “virtual hospice” with music sessions, wellbeing and support groups all going online. Families have been keeping in touch on a brand new Derian Playtime Facebook page where they share stories and arts and crafts ideas, and the siblings group has even set up its own virtual comedy club to tell jokes.

As lockdown has eased, the hospice is gradually opening up, with families now able to visit for picnics in the park and family splash sessions in the hydrotherapy pool, offering a chance to have fun while staying safe.

Naomi Moazzeny’s four-year-old daughter Riziah is a regular at Derian House playgroup sessions where she loves making new friends.

She said: “Derian House staff have been incredible during lockdown.  The new playtime Facebook group has been great, always providing us with fantastic craft ideas, stories and baking. The text messages they sent help us to know they are there at the other end of the phone if we need to chat.

“Last weekend we were able to visit the Smile Park playground at the hospice. For the kids this was just incredible as they have not been to a park for three months and for us as parents just watching their little faces be filled with so much joy and laughter in a clean and safe environment was so reassuring!

“We’ve also been to the hydrotherapy pool where they had so much fun. For Riziah, being in the warm pool and us not having to worry about her getting too cold and affecting her health, was wonderful. It allowed her to just be a usual four-year-old girl with no cares in the world. That means the world to us.”

Coronavirus has meant Derian House has faced unprecedented challenges. The charity relies on its generous supporters for 93 per cent of the £4.8million it takes to run services every year. With fundraising events forced to cancel and its three charity shops closed for three months, income has dropped and support is needed now more than ever.

Led by UK charity Together for Short Lives, as well as celebrating the amazing work of the nation’s children’s hospices, this week will be used to call on members of the public to do something amazing and help to raise money to allow charities to continue to offer care to children now and into the future.

“Coronavirus has changed all of our lives, and families caring for a seriously ill child feel more alone than ever,” said Andy Fletcher, CEO for Together for Short Lives.

“Lockdown has been so tough for the children and their families and many will carry on shielding long after social distancing ends. They desperately need the support of their local children’s hospice more than ever.  That’s why Children’s Hospice Week is so important this year – it is vital that we pull together to protect the lifeline care that children’s hospices provide for vulnerable families today, tomorrow and long into the future”.

To support Derian House Children’s Hospice visit or text DERIAN 5 to 70085 to donate £5.

2,000 bags of help from lockdown spring cleaners

Charity shop workers in Chorley have been overwhelmed by kindness after more than 2,000 bags of goods were donated in just ONE day.

Derian House Children’s Hospice set-up three special drive-through donation stations this weekend, to help people drop-off their goods in a quick and safe way.

But they were left flabbergasted when lockdown spring cleaners turned out in force, filling the charity’s huge storage warehouse with designer clothing, furniture, jewellery and white goods.

Andrew Upton-Ford, Retail Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We wanted to make sure that we had plenty of great quality stock in place for when we opened our charity shops to the public today (Monday), and we knew that many people had spent the extra time at home clearing out their attics and spare bedrooms.

“But we have been absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of people who turned up with their cars packed to the brim. We’re still sorting through it all but we have already found some real gems, including designer bags and valuable pottery.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has donated. By giving your unwanted goods to Derian House, you are making a real difference to the lives of struggling families across the North West.”

In line with government guidance, the charity will store the donated items for 72 hours, before they are cleaned, steamed, and taken to the charity’s shops in Chorley, Leyland and Horwich to sell.

The charity’s Adlington shop has been converted into a storage warehouse where all stock will be taken for cleaning, and people can also drop-off donations.

Derian House Children’s Hospice looks after more than 400 children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across the North West, helping them make the most of every moment with their families.

The coronavirus pandemic meant the closure of its shops and cancellation of fundraising events, leaving a £250,000 black hole in the charity’s budget.

It costs £4.8 million to run services every year at Derian House, with just 3p in every £1 coming from statutory sources. For the remainder, the charity must rely on the generosity of its supporters.

Leo needs a little help from his friends in ‘aisle to isle’ sponsored walk

• 19-year-old Leo was supposed to be walking mum Vicky down the aisle in April, but the Coronavirus pandemic meant the wedding was cancelled.
• Instead, Leo has decided to walk the length of the British Isles to raise money for the charity which helps him and his family.
• But Leo (who has health problems caused by his condition Williams Syndrome) needs help from his friends to walk more than 1,000 miles for Derian House Children’s Hospice and reach his fundraising goal!


ONCE you have met Leo Cliffe, you’ll never forget him.

The larger-than-life 19-year-old has a huge grin and a knack of making those around him fall hopelessly for his endearing charm.

Staff at Derian House Children’s Hospice – where Leo comes for respite stays – talk of his ability to light up a room and say it’s no wonder he has a gaggle of celebrity friends who happily pose for photographs with him.

Now bubbly Leo is using his popularity to raise money for the charity that has helped him and mum Vicky so much over the years, by undertaking his biggest challenge yet – a walk of more than 1,000 miles on his home treadmill!

The idea came about after Leo was supposed to walk mum Vicky Cliffe, 43, down the aisle in April at her wedding to stepdad Scott Carty, 43.

The coronavirus pandemic meant the wedding had to be cancelled. But undeterred, Leo decided that he would swap his walk down the aisle for a walk across the British Isles to raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice.

But at more than 1,175 miles, Leo cannot do it alone. He is calling on his friends to help him out and take some of the miles off his total – and for every mile people walk, jog or cycle, he wants then to donate £1 to his JustGiving page.

Leo said: “I’m really looking forward to raising money for Derian because the hospice holds a special place in my heart.”

Mick Croskery, who runs the community fundraising team at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “It’s just amazing to see Leo helping us out during such a tough time. The fact that he is giving back to Derian House by taking part in some fundraising for us has given all the staff a huge boost and a feeling of appreciation for the services we provide to him and his family.

“I know Leo will have me personally clocking up the miles to help him out and I can’t wait as I’d do anything to help such a wonderful kind-hearted young man… now where’s my shoes? “

Derian House Children’s Hospice looks after more than 400 children and young people with life-limiting conditions, from across the North West. It costs £4.8 million to run the hospice for a year, with just 7p of every pound coming from government funding. For the rest the charity has to rely on donations.

Coronavirus has meant that the charity’s spring and summer fundraising events have had to be cancelled, and its charity shops have had to close. This will lead to a loss of more than £250,000 income – money that was being relied upon to offer care to children and their families.

Now the charity is asking its supporters if they can “do it for Derian” during lockdown and take part in creative fundraising events to raise money to help bridge the gap and ensure it can look after its families now during the coronavirus pandemic, and in the future.

want to get involved and “do it for Derian?” click here to find out more!

Hear from Leo himself and sponsor him here.

Vicky’s Story

FRIDAY, April 3 was supposed to be the happiest day of Vicky Cliffe’s life.

Her son Leo, 19, was due to walk her down the aisle and she would be married to her fiancé Scott Carty in a fairy tale wedding. It would be perfect.

The day would have been made all the more poignant for the fact that just five years earlier Vicky had been told that her beloved Leo was unlikely to make it to his 16th birthday.

Leo was born with a rare congenital disorder called Williams Syndrome, which affects around one in every 20,000 people in the UK.

Although the condition has given Leo some extraordinary gifts – he is incredibly friendly, funny and has a flair for music – it has also led to heart and kidney failure, and Leo has had more than 50 operations since he was born.

In October 2015, when Leo was 15-years-old, Vicky was told by doctors that Leo was unlikely to make his next birthday.

The news left the family devastated and they set about making Leo’s wishes come true with the time they had left. It was around this time that Scott, an old school friend, got in touch with Vicky and love blossomed.

Six months later, hope came in the form of the offer of pioneering new surgery and finally on 14 March, 2017 – Vicky’s 40th birthday – Leo was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for a double kidney autotransplant (which involves moving the patient’s own kidneys to a different part of the body).
The nine-hour operation was a success and Vicky’s relief was huge.

But just days later, Leo developed complication. He was rushed back into theatre and in just five days underwent three major life-saving surgeries.
Bouts of pneumonia and a collapsed lung followed. But finally, after a gruelling eight weeks in hospital, Leo was well enough to come home.
“It was a tough time, especially being so far away from home down in London,” said Vicky.

“But my family and friends were amazing. They’re like a tag team and I always had someone with me helping and supporting me when we needed them. We’re very lucky.”

Leo went on to suffer more health complications and needed open heart bypass surgery and several more life-saving procedures.

And in September 2018, during a family holiday to Florida at the Give Kids the World Village – a non-profit resort that offers free breaks to children with critical illnesses with their families – Leo made his final wish.

“Each of the youngsters on the break were granted one wish,” said Vicky.

“They were told they could write it out and it goes onto the ceiling in the Castle of Miracles in the resort – there’s 120,000 children’s wishes up there. Leo wrote on his wish that he wanted me and Scott to get married.

“On the last day of the holiday we went to visit the castle one last time and I asked Leo ‘Would you like your wish to come true?’ He nodded and so I got down on one knee right there and asked Scott to marry me and he said yes!

“Scott has been our rock,” added Vicky.

“He took us both on knowing what the future held and has stood by us every step of the way and supported me through my darkest days of Leo being on life support.

“I would have been so proud to have Leo walk me down the aisle. Although Leo’s condition remains life-limiting, he is here, and there’s nothing more I want in the world than to have him at my side while I marry my soul-mate.”

The wedding will now take place in October, 2020.

Meet the Chorley woman who climbed Mount Everest on her stairs during lockdown

When it comes to home workouts, Rachel Holden’s probably beats yours.

The 34-year-old neuro physio from Chorley has climbed the world’s highest mountain… on her stairs at home.

In just one month plucky Rachel tackled 3,871 flights of stairs (that’s 129 a day), scaling an extraordinary 8,850 metres.

“I’d seen people doing different challenges on social media and decided to have a go at something myself,” said Rachel.

“I don’t really like running but I used to do a lot of hill walking so I thought that could be a good idea. I noticed that my FitBit recorded flights of stairs. Out of curiosity, I decided to work out how many flights of stairs it would take to climb Everest.

“129 flights of stairs seemed reasonable when I was sat on my couch with a brew… but when I started I soon realised how difficult it was going to be. The first day took me more than two hours and I had to stop for a rest every 10 flights of stairs because my knees were hurting so much.”

The almighty feat originally started merely as a personal goal. But halfway through the epic challenge – when Rachel admits she was flagging in stamina and sanity – she saw on the news that Derian House Children’s Hospice charity shop had been targeted by thieves.

The story brought out a steely new resolve in Rachel and she decided to not only complete her mountainous challenge, but to do it for Derian!

“I had plenty of low points during the challenge,” said Rachel.

“It got to the point where I thought ‘this is too much’ and I thought I might stop. It was around then that I saw on the news that Derian House charity shop in Chorley had been broken into and I thought ‘that’s not right, especially during these times.’ So I decided to carry on and see if I could raise some money for the charity.

“I received messages of support from as far away as Australia which really gave me the boost I needed to carry on.”

Rachel originally set out to raise £100 for Derian House Children’s Hospice – a charity that cares for more than 400 children with life-limiting conditions and their families from across the North West.

But after capturing the imagination of supporters, she managed to raise £457 – more than four times her original goal.

On her final day of the challenge, Rachel decided to go outdoors, and climbed the final metres with a walk up to Healey Nab memorial forest in Chorley where her late stepfather John Miller, has a plot.

She said: “On the last day my mum accompanied me on the climb and she ran ahead so she could present me with a medal and a mini bottle of Prosecco as a celebration when I “summited” as I reached my stepdad’s tree.

“I floated back down as the Prosecco had gone straight to my legs! I’ve since enjoyed a week off from exercise and my knees are thanking me for it. Thanks once again to everyone who donated.”

Caroline Taylor, Communications Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We are all in absolute awe of Rachel and the stamina and resolve it must have taken to complete such an epic challenge. We can’t thank her enough for thinking of our children and young people.

“The forced cancellations of our summer events calendar and closure of our charity shops has meant Derian House will lose more than £250,000 in donations that we were relying on. It is people like Rachel who are helping us to bridge the gap.”

The charity is asking people if they could “do it for Derian” during lockdown and take on a creative fundraising challenge to help care for families in need now, during the coronavirus pandemic, and in the future.

Visit to find out how you could get involved.

You can still show your support by donating to Rachel’s Everest challenge by visiting


Rachel’s Diary:

Week one: Decided to set myself a challenge for the month. I’d seen people on social media walking all sorts of distances around their gardens and wondered if I should try a half marathon?

A quick glance at my Fitbit sealed my fate. “It counts flights of stairs. Hmm, wonder how high a mountain is?” A little Google later and I’d stumbled on a list of world mountains in flights of stairs. And there it was…. gleaming away in a league of its own.


Drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I couldn’t look away. “Could I? I mean 3,871 flights of stairs isn’t that much is it?”

Out came the calculator. “It’s only 129 flights per day. I’m in. Wish me and my knees luck!”


Week two: It turns out that “only” 129 flights is tougher than it sounds. The first few days were spent questioning my sanity (and stamina), alongside wondering when the burning sensation in my calves would stop.


Week three: I’m now on day 20. I have completed at least 129 flights every day. I have 10 days left and I’m not going to lie, I’m struggling mentally to get through this. I’ve never felt as shattered! My knees don’t know what’s hit them. It’s becoming a daily battle to get my backside in gear and get going.

I initially started this as a personal challenge, I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone as I really wasn’t sure I would be able to complete it (so much self-confidence eh?!).

But I’ve come to realise, I might just be able to raise a bit of cash for a local charity in the process of this madness. So, I’ve decided to go public with it, in the hopes it will give me a much-needed kick up the proverbial and support a worthy cause.


Week four: I reached the “summit” with only 73 flights to complete that day due to some ‘over stepping’ most days through the month. I arrived to cheers, Prosecco and a medal from my number one cheerleader (thanks mum!)

I did it! 30 days, tallest mountain on the planet, 8,848m of ascent, a total of 3,871 flights of stairs. What a month!

I just want to take the opportunity to send out my heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated. What started as a personal challenge, with no intention behind it other than “Can I do it?” has raised more than £400 for a charity that really needs it!

Sponsor a nurse and say thank you to our extraordinary carers

Thanks are being given to the special nurses who look after seriously ill children with life-limiting conditions, this International Nurses’ Day (May 12).

Derian House Children’s Hospice is appealing to the public to show their support by saying thank you for the dedication, hard work and care that its nurses give to more than 400 children and young people from across the North West, day in, day out.

The Sponsor a Nurse campaign – launched today (Tuesday) – invites donors to pledge, raise, or donate £150 for the charity to sponsor one of its dedicated care staff for a day.

And with 2020 being the NHS Year of the Nurse & Midwife, as well as marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of the world’s most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale – there is even more reason to recognise the extraordinary work done by Derian’s extraordinary nurses every single day of the year.

Michelle Blackett, a specialist children’s nurse who works at Derian House, said: “Although there have been many touching moments over the years, what I can never really get over is the strength of human spirit that comes through in the darkest times in families’ lives – especially from the children.

“Our ultimate aim at Derian House is to give families special memories. We cannot change what is happening, but we can hold their hand and guide them through.”

Derian House nurses and support staff care for children and young people 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In one year they provide:

  • 1,405 hours of respite care to give families a much-needed break.
  • 460 sessions of bereavement counselling and support for parents, grandparents and siblings for as long as they need it.
  • 582 visits to children and young people in the community
  • 124 nights of care and support in our sunflower rooms (where children lay at rest giving families precious time to say goodbye)

The Chorley-based hospice offers respite and end-of-life-care to more than 400 children and young people, as well as their families. It costs more than £4.8 million to run services every year, and yet the charity relies on the generosity of its supporters for 93p of every pound.

The Sponsor a Nurse for a Day campaign aims to raise £25,000 for the charity. If every single day of the year was to be sponsored, the figure would come in at an impressive £54,750.

People are being invited to pick a special date they would like to sponsor a nurse on – whether in memory of a loved-one, on their birthday, anniversary or any other important date. Groups of friends, families, schools, businesses and community groups are also invited to take part, joining together for a fundraising challenge.

One mother said: “Never did I ever think I would feel comfortable leaving our little boy in somebody else’s care other than mine or his Dad’s. However yesterday that day came and our son spent the evening and this morning at Derian House and my gosh what an amazing time he has had. He is so content and chilled out and it feels like we too have had a respite and recharge. The stuff that goes on behind those doors is impeccably heart-warming. What an amazing place full of amazing people! We are very grateful to be a part of the Derian family.”

Kevin Bedford, Head of Income Generation at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “It takes a special person to be a Derian nurse. It’s not just the children we care for, we also put our arms around the whole family – including siblings, parents and grandparents too.

“The breadth of skills our nurses use in an average day at Derian is awe-inspiring. They might be caring for a child at the end of his or her life, and then have to turn their attention to joining in a sing-a-long or an arts and crafts session.

“Our nurses give families the chance to just be families, not nurses or carers. We give them a chance to make the very most of the time they have together. That’s why our Sponsor a Nurse for a Day campaign isn’t just about raising vital funds, it’s also about recognising the wonderful work our nurses at Derian do, every single day of the year.”

Visit to find out more.

League of Gentlemen star hosts a local quiz, for local people

League of Gentlemen star Steve Pemberton has donated unique memorabilia to be auctioned-off for Derian House Children’s Hospice.

The Chorley-born star, and ambassador of Derian House, will also be hosting an online quiz this Saturday (May, 9) to raise funds for the charity which offers respite and end-of-life care to children and young adults from across the North West.

Actor and comedian Steve, who also stars in ITV’s smash hit Benidorm, has given items from his private collection, including signed League of Gentleman scripts and TV props.

The keen quizzer himself will also turn question master this Saturday when he hosts a live Facebook quiz for fans.

Steve said: “I love doing quizzes and have raised over £60,000 for Derian House by playing shows such as The Chase, Celebrity Mastermind and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

“Now the tables have turned and I’ve devised my own quiz which will be fun to join in and hopefully raise much-needed funds for Derian House and the families they support at this most difficult time.”

The live quiz, held on the Stars & Cars events Facebook page – one of the charity’s biggest fundraising events of the year – will also see Steve hosting a Q&A for fans.

Stars and Cars, an event showcasing memorabilia from the world of TV and movies, was due to take place at Bolton Arena on April 5, but was forced to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers have re-arranged the event for next year, but in the meantime are whetting fans’ appetites with weekly live shows featuring special guests, character Q&As and special backstage information.

 Mick Croskery, Community Fundraising Manager for Derian House Children’s Hospice, and Stars & Cars organiser, said: “We’re really grateful to Steve for hosting the quiz and for donating some cracking memorabilia for auction. We think fans are going to snap it up and hopefully raise lots of money for the children and young people at Derian House.

“Steve’s quiz is just one of the live shows we’ll be bringing to fans in the coming weeks. When Stars & Cars was postponed we knew it disappointed a lot of people for whom it was a highlight of the year. The majority of people have held onto their tickets for next year rather than ask us for a refund, so we wanted to do something special to than them as having to refund every ticket would have had a big impact on future events.”

Stars and Cars: The Live Shows featuring Steve Pemberton, will take place on Saturday, 9 May, at 5pm. Visit to join in.

You can bid on Steve’s auction items here

  •  Items for auction include a signed League of Gentleman tour brochure, Royston Vasey metal sign, original flyer from one of their first ever shows in 1995 and his own personal copy of an exclusive Local Shop sketch.
  • Also on offer is an original script of the first ever Inside No.9 episode Sardines signed by cast members, and props from his ITV series Whitechapel.