Richard Duckett has worked at Derian House for nine years.
“I knew of Derian House because my wife Sue has worked at the hospice for 12 years.” Said Richard, “I had just left one job and Sue suggested that I do something at Derian. I began by driving the minibus just 2 days a week but I began to help out in Estates too. The job grew to five days a week and eventually led to a full time job in the Estates department.
“Nine years feels like three. I don’t think I would want to work anywhere else.” Said Richard, “I used to fix things, and these days I make sure everything is up-to-date with checks.
“Now, before I tell you any stories I have to say that I’m often in the right place at the wrong time.
“One of my favourite memories is with two young brothers who were at Derian for respite – Harry and Charlie. They were having a water fight in Smile Park with all of the staff and it was a cracking day – the sun was shining. Then next thing, I’m on my hands and knees and they’re pouring buckets of water over my head.
“It was just brilliant to see them howling with laughter. I was absolutely wet through!” Laughed Richard. “I saw the same two brothers recently too – they had me doing bush tucker trials as part of Australia Day. I tried all sorts of horrible things, spaghetti, jelly, feathers – and I got flour all over my face!
“It’s all for them, you know. If I can put a smile on a kid’s face, then it’s a good day.
“I’ll do anything – whether it’s a Sports Day, a Superhero Day, or any kind of challenge. If I get asked I’ll do it.
“I’ve jumped out of a plane for Derian House – it was brilliant. All I’d say is just make sure to cover your face! That wind is ridiculous. And I had a real adrenaline rush – the feeling is amazing.
“I’ve even done a reading at Derian’s Lights of Love Christmas carol service. That was fantastic.
“Experiences at Derian House are incredibly unique and special.” Said Richard. “You can’t make memories like it anywhere else. I have never worked somewhere where I have had the same feeling.
“Derian House has changed over the years but it has always done all it can for its families. It’s a fantastic place, and it is a pleasure to be a part of it.”