A crowd of supporters, press and school children gathered to watch Ken Dodd dig the first turf at a ceremony that marked the historic beginning of a Lancashire children’s hospice.
This year, as Derian House marks 30 years of care, the charity hopes that those who attended the momentous occasion will come forward and join a birthday celebration later this year.
In 1993, the hospice welcomed its first child through its doors and since then it has provided care to more than 400 babies, children and young people with life-limiting illnesses from across the North West, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Karen Edwards, Chief Executive at Derian House, said: “We’re asking everyone that attended the 1992 ground breaking ceremony to come forward and join us in celebrating 30 years of care.
“Derian House is a wonderful place where families can make the very most of the time they have and this has only been possible thanks to the hard work of our staff and volunteers, as well as the fundraising efforts of our supporters. It would be fantastic to be able to celebrate with everyone who has supported us from the beginning.”
Derian House was co-founded by Chorley man Ian Haydock, who lost his 19-year-old brother Derek to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) in 1969 – a time when there were very few hospices in the country for children.
He started a fundraising campaign with his family in 1991, raising the initial £25,000, before turning to local business woman Margaret Vinten, who helped make his dream become a reality.
The name Derian is a combination of the names of Derek and Ian.
Ian Haydock died in 2020, but his daughter, Lesley, remembers her dad’s passion for Derian House and was one of the youngsters in the crowd at the 1992 ground breaking ceremony.
Lesley, of Eccleston, said: “It took Derian House five years to transform from an idea to the beginnings of a building. Support and fundraising for the hospice started slowly, but then at some point the charity quickly began to be noticed.
“More and more people got involved. The next thing we knew, Ken Dodd was on his way to dig the first bit turf for the building. I met him and everything. I have been his number one fan ever since.
“I’m glad that I can hold onto the memories I have. My brother and I are incredibly proud of everything that our parents did to help get Derian House up and running. I can’t believe 30 years has flown by. I wish all the best to everyone at Derian House – the families, the staff, the volunteers, and all of the supporters. You are amazing.”
Are you one of the supporters that attended the ground breaking ceremony of Derian House Children’s Hospice in 1992? Get in touch: Birthday@derianhouse.co.uk