Community rallies to help charity devastated by break-in

A Lancashire community has pulled together after heartless thieves targeted a local hospice charity shop.

Derian House Children’s Hospice has been inundated with offers of help and donations following the break-in at its shop in Chorley town centre last week.

Staff and volunteers were left devastated after raiders smashed through the roof to gain entry into the store, causing £1,000 of damage.

The charity shared the sad news on social media, appealing for witnesses. Within hours the post had gone viral, with dozens of kind-hearted tradespeople offering their help.

Now, thanks to the heroic efforts of the community, not only has the roof been fixed for free, but a brand new security system has also been donated and fitted at the store.

Well-wishers, saddened by the story which featured on regional TV news and in local newspapers, flocked to send in donations.

Local businesses and community groups also rallied to pledge money to the cause, and one parent whose daughter uses the services at Derian House created a Facebook fundraising page which raised more than £2,200 in just a few days.

The total raised – more than £10,000 – will not only pay for new security measures across the hospice’s whole network of charity shops in Leyland, Horwich and Adlington, but will also be able to pay the wage of two hospice nurses every day for the month of May.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We have been completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity shown to us. Yet again our supporters have shown us that they are there when we really need them and for that we are tremendously grateful.

“Not only has the damage been repaired for free, but the support of our community will allow us to make all of our shops safe and secure so that hopefully this will not happen again.

“On top of this gift of peace of mind, we believe there will be enough left over to pay for two nurses to care for our children and young people for the whole month of May. It’s simply amazing that something so good could come from such a horrible situation.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice looks after more than 400 children and young people from across the North West, offering respite and end-of-life care.

It costs £4.8m every year to run services at Derian House, with the charity having to raise 90p in every £1 in donations.

Visit or on social media @derianhouse for more information.

Thieves cause damage at Chorley charity shop

Staff and volunteers at a Chorley children’s charity have been left devastated after heartless thieves broke into one of their charity shops.

Although no high value items were taken, the damage done to the roof of the shop will cost Derian House Children’s Hospice around £1,000 to repair.

The thieves removed slates from the shop roof and gained entry to the stockroom through the ceiling.

The shop had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and luckily all cash and valuables had been removed from the premises.

The break-in was discovered on Thursday, 16 April, and police were informed.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We’re really upset that we’ve been targeted in this way. The coronavirus outbreak has already meant that we have had to close our charity shops and cancel fundraising events, so to have to spend precious cash on repairing the damage done in this mindless act feels especially frustrating.

“Something like this is heart-breaking for our wonderful team of volunteers who work tirelessly and donate their time to running our charity shops. But, as ever, the local community have overwhelmed us with their support, with local roofers working nearby even offering to replace the missing slates free of charge.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice cares for more than 400 seriously ill children and young people from across the North West, giving families the chance to make the most of every moment they have together. The charity relies on the public for more than 90 per cent of its funding.

If you have any information about the break-in, please contact police.


Little Ava’s big read

Being stuck in the house hasn’t stopped little bookworm Ava Massey from helping others.

The kind-hearted five-year-old from Hoghton has completed a fundraising challenge of reading 101 books in one day to raise money for the children at Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Ava set her sights on the mammoth task after hearing about the work of the charity and deciding to do something “to help the poorly children get better”.

The miniature hero worked her way through books by her favourite authors including classics such as The Gruffalo and The Tiger who came to tea.

She began the task at breakfast time, reading in her princess pyjamas while eating toast.

Throughout the day she enlisted the help of friends and family who read along with her on FaceTime video calls, finally finishing the challenge with a bedtime read with her mum.

“I’m so proud of her my heart might burst,” said her mum, Jen Massey.

Ava’s big read raised a whopping £530, which will go towards helping care for more than 400 children with life-limiting conditions from across the North West.

Sarah Proctor, Community Fundraiser at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We couldn’t believe it when we heard about Ava’s challenge – I don’t think many adults could even read 101 books in just one day!

“We’re so proud of Ava’s efforts and on behalf of all the children and young people at Derian House we want to thank her for raising so much money. She is a very special little girl.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice looks after more than 400 children and young people with life-limiting illnesses from across the North West. The charity must raise 93p in every £1 and so relies heavily on the generosity of its supporters.

Visit or social media pages @derianhouse for more details.

To donate to Ava’s fundraising appeal visit:

”Don’t let COVID fears delay seeking help” families told

Families caring for children with life-limiting or complex medical conditions must seek urgent medical support if their child becomes unwell.

UK children’s palliative care charity, Together for Short Lives fears that families caring for vulnerable and seriously ill children may delay seeking emergency medical care for their child due to fears around coronavirus and self-isolation.

The charity is hearing that some worried families are presenting far too late to A&E with serious consequences for their child. The charity stresses that these are children presenting with medical issues connected to their underlying condition, rather than COVID-19.

In the main children with complex and life-limiting conditions won’t die of COVID-19, but it would be a tragedy if they die because they do not receive help for treatable complications of their underlying condition.

Together for Short Lives is sending a clear message to families caring for very sick children, to trust their own judgement, and if their child has worrying symptoms to seek medical care immediately rather than waiting until their child becomes more seriously unwell.

If parents have serious concerns about their child’s health they should contact the GP and not be afraid to use the paediatric emergency department when it is required.

Dr Hilary Cass OBE, Chair of Together for Short Lives said:

“We know that everyone is trying to do the right thing by staying at home during the coronavirus crisis. However, we are very worried parents caring for children with life-limiting conditions might be too frightened to seek urgent medical help until it’s too late. The impact of this will be devastating and we’re already hearing that sadly children have died as a consequence.

I’m sending a very clear message to every family caring for these children. You know your child better than anyone else, and if you think your child is unwell or deteriorating you must seek medical help. Doctors will want to make sure that your child is treated before their condition deteriorates.

I stress that child deaths from COVID-19 are very rare, most vulnerable children won’t die of COVID-19, but we must do all we can do stop them dying unnecessarily of their underlying condition.”

Whilst it’s vital that families seek help is their child becomes unwell, it’s important that people shouldn’t present at A&E with minor ailments.

Dance videos go viral in hospice emergency fundraiser

Dancers are putting their best foot forward on social media, in a new dance craze to raise money for Lancashire’s children’s hospice.

Derian House Children’s Hospice, based in Chorley, asked its supporters to record themselves dancing to Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 and post it on social media.

They asked people to text to donate £3 and nominate their friends to join in too – resulting in heart-warming and funny videos that have since gone viral.

“The outbreak of coronavirus has been catastrophic for our fundraising,” said Caroline Taylor, Communications Manager for Derian House.

“It costs £4.8million to run our services every year, and with 93p of every pound raised by our supporters, it’s left us with a big problem.

“Dance4Derian is a fun way of raising cash to help plug the gap and so far we’ve been blown away by the brilliant videos our supporters have made and how far the message has spread. It’s like our very own ice bucket challenge!

“We chose the song to reflect that our care isn’t just nine-to-five, but that we look after 400 seriously ill children and their families from across the North West, 365 days a year.”

Social media influencers and authors The Blossom Twins have recorded a video for their 21,000 followers on Twitter, and some of the charity’s celebrity supporters have also promised to get dancing for the good cause.

Dolly herself has even been tagged in the video on Twitter and staff at Derian House are keeping their fingers crossed she sees it and takes part.

The charity launched its Dance4Derian appeal with a heart-warming video filmed by nurses and children at the hospice, which has been viewed by nearly 30,000 people from across the world. You can view it here:

What to post and how to donate:

Simply record a video of yourself dancing to Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 and post to social media with this message:

This is my #Dance4Derian.

I’ve made my donation to Derian House Children’s Hospice and nominate FRIEND’S NAMES. You have 24 hours!

Text DANCE4DERIAN to 70085 to donate £3 and help seriously ill children make the most of every moment.

Texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message.

Derian House care isn’t just 9 to 5, it’s 24/7, 365 days a year for families of seriously ill children in need.

£250,000 fundraising blow for children’s hospice after summer events programme cancelled

Forced cancellations of fundraising events due to the coronavirus outbreak are set to leave a children’s hospice with a £250,000 black hole in its budget.

Derian House Children’s Hospice, which cares for more than 400 seriously ill children and young people from across the North West, was counting on the cash due to be brought in by a programme of spring and summer events.

But Government advice to avoid mass gatherings has meant events such as Stars & Cars and Supercar Showtime have had to be put on hold.

David Robinson, Chief Executive at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “These are difficult times for everyone across the world right now and we are working really hard to come up with ways of supporting our children and families in every eventuality. The message for our supporters is that we’re still here and still supporting families.

“The biggest challenge we are currently facing is the catastrophic effect the forced cancellation of our spring and summer events will have on our income.

“It costs us £4.8m every year to run our services and we were counting on the £250,000 due to be raised at a whole host of events to allow us to care for our children and young people now and in the future.”

Despite the chaos as the world struggles to cope with the global pandemic, life goes on at the hospice. Families are still enjoying the sensory room and gardens. They are making Mother’s Day cards in the messy play zone and creating cherished memories together.

The charity has vowed it will stay open for end-of-life care for the very sickest children and families are being encouraged to access counselling and bereavement support over the phone.

Hospice staff are also lending a hand to colleagues in the NHS to help with increased demand during the outbreak.

Perinatal nurse Katie Turner has voluntarily been seconded to Royal Preston Hospital’s neonatal unit to help families in the most need. She will bring her specialist palliative care skills and help free up hospital staff for other duties.

Mr Robinson added: “I am so proud of all of my staff for the dedication and hard work they are showing in the face of adversity and with the support of our community I’m sure we will be able to cope with this unprecedented event.”

Visit to donate now or text DERIAN 5 to 70085 to donate £5.

Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £5 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text DERIANNOINFO 5 to 70085.


Hospice nurse to compete in hockey world championships

A hospice nurse who spends her days caring for seriously ill children has been selected to play ball hockey for Team GB.

Emma Pearson, 33, who works at Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley, Lancashire, will represent her country against teams from all around the world, in the International Street and Ball Hockey Federation Master’s World Championships, to be held in the Czech Republic in June.

The sport is the summer equivalent of ice hockey, and mum-of-one Emma can usually be found on the ice, where she plays for Blackburn Hawks men’s team and also captains Widnes Wild women’s team.

On top of her full-time job caring for children with life-limiting conditions, Emma trains three times a week on the ice, competes in games at weekends, and attends four CrossFit sessions every week to build stamina.

Now she will add an extra training programme on top of her gruelling schedule, to make sure her sprinting technique is up to scratch so she is ready to take on the world.

“I train in the evenings after work and it can mean late nights,” said Emma, of Warrington.

“I’m also halfway through a two-year qualification at work to become an Advanced Clinical Practitioner, which is a lot of work so I’m definitely kept busy! But although I only average about four hours sleep a night I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel better when I’ve been on the ice and I probably couldn’t cope with such a full-on job and doing my qualification without it.”

Ice hockey is a family affair for Emma, whose husband Phil also plays for Widnes Wild, as well as coaching the women’s team. Their son Henry, 4, has also got in on the act, learning the sport and how to figure skate.

The couple even made the news recently after becoming the first married couple to play on the same team in a registered league game.

“For us, ice hockey is family time because we do it together. We just love it.”

Lynn Grayson, Clinical Director at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We’re all so proud of Emma for her fantastic achievement of being selected to play for her country – with her on the team the others don’t stand a chance!

“Emma is a wonderful nurse who works tirelessly to help our children and their families and it’s this dedication that has also seen her taking on a really difficult qualification to become an Advanced Clinical Practitioner

“We’ll all excited to see how she gets on in the world championships and will be behind her all the way!”

Pals’ banger bust-up to raise money for Derian House

Two bonkers buddies are set to embark on an epic tour across Europe in an old banger for charity.

The Banger Bust Up is a 2,500-mile challenge from Dover to Portugal spread over six days.

Pals Peter Boulton and Malcolm Chester bought a beaten-up, mouldy, £300 Bedford Rascal and will set off on the road trip of a lifetime from their home town of New Longton on May 18.

The pair will raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice, which offers respite and end-of-life care to more than 400 children from across the North West.

Teams must buy a small car for less than £500, with an engine size of no more than 1200cc and no more than three doors.

If the old banger makes it, the pair will travel across France, stopping off at Chateauroux and Toulouse, over the Pyrenees to Spain and through Andorra to Madrid.

The final day will see them reach the finish line in Portugal and enjoy a BBQ beach party, with the winning team securing a £500 prize for the charity of their choice.

Veteran charity fundraiser Peter, 68, is no stranger to madcap challenges for good causes. Last year he raised more than £8,000 for Derian House cycling across Cuba.

The thrill-seeker has also previously raised £50,000 for charities in the North West by taking part in international fundraising events including a dog sled expedition across Lapland, scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, travelling

to Everest Base Camp, and cycling challenges from Vietnam to Cambodia and also across India.

Peter said: “We can’t wait to get going and hopefully raise lots of money for Derian House, our goal is to raise £2,500.

“The idea came about after I arrived back home from my last charity challenge. My friend Malcolm sent me the link to this and I thought: ‘Why not?’  We’re both crackers – we’ll do anything for a laugh. I think the hardest part will be sleeping in a tent every night. It’s all been self-funded and we even plan on driving it all the way back too!”

Kevin Bedford, Income Generation Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Peter and Malcolm’s challenge for Derian House is really inspiring and the money they raise will make a real difference to the children and young people we care for.

“Derian House Children’s Hospice supports more than 400 children with life limiting conditions across Lancashire, with respite and end-of-life care. Our aim is to give children the very best care, and help families create happy memories together to last a lifetime.”

You can sponsor Peter and Malcolm by visiting:

Happy Birthday bash at Chorley charity shop

Chorley shoppers are invited to join in the birthday celebrations at Derian House Children’s Hospice’s town centre charity shop next weekend.

Customers will get a free slice of birthday cake to celebrate a year of trading and record profits made for the charity which looks after local children and young people with life-limiting illnesses.

The Cleveland Street store is celebrating its first anniversary on Saturday, 22 February from 9am to 4.30pm.

Since the shop relocated from its previous position in Chapel Street, profits have doubled – down to better footfall as well as a full re-brand.

A new light, bright interior and eye-catching window displays has attracted new customers in their droves.

Far from the dusty knick-knacks sometimes associate with charity shops, the store now stocks high quality furniture, children’s toys and games, Derian House merchandise as well as a popular Designers at Derian range featuring brand new designer men and ladies clothing from previous seasons.

The charity has also driven profits by opening up the shop at night during town centre events such as Chorley Live, and even taking a pop-up shop to Astley Park for the Bonfire Night firework show.

Andrew Upton-Ford, Retail Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice said: “We wanted to thank all of our loyal customers for ensuring our first year of trading at our new Chorley shop was the best ever and so throwing a party was the natural choice.

“At Derian House Children’s Hospice we need to raise £4.8million every year to continue to care for 400 children, young people and their families and so making sure our charity shops are the very best they can be is really important to us as a charity.”

The charity also has shops in Horwich and Leyland and a warehouse in Adlington.

People can donate unwanted goods by dropping them off at the shop, or ring 01257 485 823 for a free furniture collection service.

Visit for more details or check out the Facebook Instagram or Twitter pages.

Million pound makeover for Lancashire’s children’s hospice

Top class facilities including a sensory room, messy play zone and cinema have been unveiled as part of a £1.6million makeover at Lancashire’s children’s hospice.

Seriously ill children will be able to make happy memories with their families thanks to the huge building refurbishment, officially launched today at Derian House Children’s Hospice.

The Chorley-based hospice has been looking after children and young adults with life-limiting illnesses from across the North West for more than 25 years.

Last spring it began a huge project to make the hospice “fit for the future” so it could continue to care for children with increasingly complex conditions for many years to come.

Walls were knocked down and the hospice was remodelled into a lighter, brigher and more flexible space, with the very latest technology added.

The work has transformed the building into a state-of-the-art facility which puts it at the pinnacle of children’s palliative care in the UK and will improve the respite and end-of-life care received by more than 400 children from the region.

  • The new PlayZone, sponsored by AO Smile, includes a large sensory room for both stimulation and relaxation. It also includes a large messy play area to allow children to unleash their creativity and make cherished keepsakes such as hand and footprints.
  • A new £100,000 cinema room will allow families to watch the latest releases together, with a popcorn and candy floss machine providing the finishing touches for an authentic experience.
  • A new accessible kitchen in The Lodge – the area of the hospice reseved for teenagers and young adults – will allow youngsters to bake or fix themselves snacks. This area has been sponsored by Red Sea Pedestrians.
  • A new sunflower suite will allow children to lay at rest before their funeral, to give families extra time to say goodbye.

Cutting-edge technology has been added to rooms to give the youngsters greater independence – including special sensors on doors for wheelchair users, smart speakers in all bedrooms, and a new kitchen with counter tops that rise and fall.

The completion of the new hospice building is the latest in a series of successess for the hospice, which was yesterday (15 January, 2016) officially rated Outstanding by Care Quality Commission (CQC). In October last year the charity also scooped a national award when it was named JustGiving Charity of the Year 2019.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “When we began drafting plans for the new hospice building we knew it would be good, but seeing it completed and watching how much the children and their families are enjoying the new facilities is quite overwhelming. We knew we wanted to lead the way in children’s palliative care and I am thrilled that our new facilities – along with the dediation of our staff and volunteers – allow us to do that. Derian House is now at the very pinnacle of care available to families.

“Thank you to all of our donors who have made this wonderful refurbishent possible. It’s thanks to their kind donations that Derian House will be able to offer children from across the North West the very best care now and way into the future.”

Christine Francioli’s four-year-old son Bruno has a rare genetic condition and is visually impaired. He comes to Derian House for respite and also accesses the Derian at Home service.

Christine said: “Derian House is a home from home for us. It is such a beautiful place and allows Bruno to do the things a little boy should be doing like going for a swim or playing on the park. Without Derian he wouldn’t have these opportunities.

“Bruno is very vulnerable and tends to pick everything up. He can’t even go to school in winter because of all the bugs and so we stay at home a lot. Last week we came to use the new cinema room and couldn’t believe how amazing it was. Bruno lay on a big beanbag and looked up at the lights on the ceiling and fell asleep while me, my partner and our daughter watched a movie. Being able to have that experience as a family without worrying was so good.

“Afterwards Bruno went into the new sensory room and spent time on the warm waterbed. It was perfect and we left feeling so refreshed. It was so nice to have a day out knowing it wouldn’t result in a hospital stay because Bruno had picked up a bug.”

Lynn Grayson, Clinical Director at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Our fantastic new facilities will help us to improve the care we can offer to our families. The bright, colourful environment enhances overall wellbeing and allows our children to be children.”

David Wilkinson, Trustee at AO Smile said: “AO and all our people care greatly. This is reflected in a strong desire to support our local communities, with particular focus on improving the lives of young people. Derian House does an incredible job for children and their families going through unbelievably tough times, and reflects AO’s values. AO Smile Foundation is both proud and delighted to donate the Smile Play Zone, not only on behalf of the company but also recognising the fundraising efforts of all AO’ers.”


AO Smile is a foundation for AO staff to give their time, money and help to local causes.

The new refurbished building includes:

  • £100,000 commercial quality cinema.
  • New state-of-the-art sensory room.
  • PlayZone for arts and crafts and messy play.
  • New children’s bedrooms with cutting-edge technology.
  • Accessible kitchen to allow young adults greater independence.
  • Reflection Zone, including a new Sunflower Suite where children lay at rest to give their families time to say goodbye.