Trish, of Euxton, was the first ever cook at Derian House when it first opened in 1993.
She cooked numerous breakfasts, lunches, brunches, and dinners for families over the 15 years that she worked at the hospice.
“It was the best job I ever had,” Said Trish, “Each time a family visited, I would note down their favourite food. So when I knew they were coming in, I knew what they liked and that would go on the menu.
“When bereaved families came into the dining room, I would always check with them and ask “What do you think you could eat?” And it didn’t matter whether they did or not.
“Food and emotion are tied closely. There is comfort in food, and in the routines around food. We would always make something comforting – egg and chips was always welcomed.
“It was just like being a family really in that dining room. We would all eat together – the staff, the volunteers, and the families. Everybody sat in there together. We used to have Sunday lunch on a Saturday, and then on Sunday I would do brunch for the families before they went home.
“I didn’t know any other hospices that had a female cook at that time, it was interesting to visit other hospices to see how they did it.”
Trish spotted the advert for her job in a local newspaper.
“I was cooking at a nursing home at the time,” said Trish, “I remember it was on my day off and I sorting through some newspapers. I came across a job advert in the Chorley Guardian – it was for a position as cook at Derian House. But, I realised it was the final day to apply.
“This was the time before computers, so I had to whizz into Chorley to get some decent writing paper because I had run out. I rushed back home to write a letter, and then over to Derian House to post it through the door.
“I was invited for an interview and I got the job.” Said Trish. “Derian House was incredibly small compared to what it is today. There were less than 20 members of staff. Volunteers did a lot of the fundraising. We would invite the public in for open days to promote what it was all about.
“We did all the catering from the kitchens. We used to have a summer fair with marquees up on the car park – and we would cook everything for those.
“I used to have at least one volunteer in the kitchen with me each day,” Said Trish, “I always believed that they should be able to do what they liked doing. For instance, some volunteers liked to bake – so they baked.
“I remember one volunteer who always enjoyed clearing out the fridges, cleaning them, and then putting everything back inside and organising them.
“At one time I even had a volunteer who enjoyed cleaning the oven would you believe? On a Monday morning too!” Laughed Trish. “It was very helpful.”
“I worked around the volunteers to a degree because I wanted them to be comfortable. I have kept in touch with an awful lot of them since leaving.”
Trish visited Danni’s Diner in March 2023 to meet the current Catering Manager, Jack Wright.
“I think the current Danni’s Diner is really bright and colourful, and just really nice.” Said Trish. “And I certainly think you’ve got the right chef there – he’s lovely, just what Derian needs. Meeting jack was the highlight of my day.”
Jack offered Trish a white chocolate and raspberry cookie which she rated “Excellent.”
“Being the cook at Derian House really was the best job I ever had.” Said Trish. “You just got on with it and did it your way. The families were lovely, the staff were great, and it was a good time. Derian House really is a very special place.”