Leigh players and staff sprinkled a little bit of Christmas magic on their recent visits to Derian House.
The Centurions linked up with Derian House after player welfare manager Simon Finnigan was contacted by Claire Hayes, whose son Will goes to stay in Derian Lodge.
“Claire had been keen for the team to visit us and she arranged with Simon for the lads to come along,” said John Rullo, Community Fundraiser at Derian House.
“The children staying had a great time meeting the guys at both visits and they were really grateful for the presents they brought along.
“On top of the whole team making the trip to visit us the lads went the extra mile in joining volunteers at a bag pack at Asda, Leigh.
Rollo explained: “Derian House is renowned throughout the region as being at the forefront of children’s palliative and respite care.
“Families who have a child with a life threatening or life shortening condition often receive a range of care and support services to meet their individual needs which include short, planned breaks in Derian House, Hospice at Home, sibling support group, end of life care and when needed bereavement support.
“We are currently supporting more than 300 families who have a child with a life shortening illness, and a further 200 who are receiving bereavement support. For them Derian House is the means by which they deal with the highs and lows of their child’s illness and its aftermath.”
Leigh coach Paul Rowley said: “I thought my players were absolutely brilliant with the children and staff at Derian House, It’s a fantastic place. For the players, it may have been hard not knowing what to expect when visiting and they hadn’t signed up for visits like this in their contract, but they were brilliant and hopefully helped to give a bit of happiness to the staff, families and children. They all brought gifts out of their own money and they were distributed by Paul Anderson and Simon Finnigan who organised the visits. Paul Anderson even dressed up as Father Christmas and it was a very worthwhile thing to do.”
Leigh owner Derek Beaumont revealed that the players took great inspiration from the visits to Derian when they later undertook a gruelling Marine Camp as part of their preparation for the new season.
“Leading up to the Camp the boys visited Derian House and it hit home to them how lucky they are,” he said.
“When the lads got put in tough situations in Camp they related back to their visits to Derian. Many have told me just how lucky they were, to be stood in a lake in the middle of the night, freezing cold. As tough as it was, it’s a completely different set of challenges to those the children warm in bed at Derian House face.
The link-up between Leigh Centurions and Derian House has now been extended. John Rullo said: “On top of all this Derek Beaumont has now donated a wonderful £5,000 to Derian and also committed to donate further funds from the Family Fun Day being held at Leigh East on January 31 2016.
“I personally have been extremely proud of the way the guys have made the staff and children at Derian feel. They arrived at Derian and couldn’t have been more interested in making the children feel special and cared for. Clearly after the visit they have kept us in their hearts and thoughts and it is fantastic that this link will continue next year and hopefully for many years to come.
“Derian House is a very special place and Leigh Centurions are a very special club.”