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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Hospice volunteer honoured at royal garden party

A volunteer who has dedicated more than 30 years of her life to helping children and families at Derian House Children’s Hospice has been honoured at a royal garden party.

Val Sharp (65) from Ribble Valley, attended the event hosted by Prince William, at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her unwavering support.

Val (pictured) has dedicated an estimated 3,000 hours over three decades to Derian House, helping to take children and their siblings out on trips.

She was part of the original support group that set up the hospice in 1993 when it first opened its doors to the public, and began by volunteering on the reception desk, providing her time and expertise for free.

Val’s passion for the charity was recognised by the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, Mrs Amanda Parker JP, who nominated Val to receive an invitation to the annual royal event after learning about her length of service during a visit to Derian House at the hospice 30th anniversary open day.

During Volunteer’s Week (June 3-9), Derian House is celebrating all of the amazing volunteers that give up their time to help the 400 families the hospice cares for – including Val.

Val, who lives in Slaidburn with husband John, said: “It was quite a privilege to be invited to the Royal Garden Party hosted by Prince William. I was so pleased to find out I had been nominated to attend, and quite touched that it had come because of my time at Derian House. I was surprised actually that I had been the only one invited when there are so many other deserving people who get involved with Derian.”

Mr and Mrs Sharp joined 8,000 others at the exclusive garden party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

Even the rain couldn’t dampen guest’s spirits as, armed with umbrellas, they watched the arrival of Prince William and members of the Royal Family while the band played the National Anthem.

Val said: “It was a lovely day, despite the rain. Prince William was there, along with Zara Phillips, Mike Tindall, Peter Phillips, Beatrice and Eugenie, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester – they all walked out to the national anthem. There were two bands playing throughout, they were very good.”

Tea was then served in the tea tent, where guests were able to help themselves to cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, Victoria sponge, and scones with all the trimmings.

Frances Lees, volunteer coordinator at Derian House, said: “The time and expertise that Val has put into Derian House is invaluable. We are so glad that she has been recognised with such a majestic occasion and we’re glad she enjoyed herself – even despite the rain!

“It was during Derian House’s 30th birthday celebrations last year that I was approached by the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire looking for a nomination for the Royal Garden Party. Of course I had to mention Val, she is a fantastic volunteer. We are very lucky to have her.

“Our volunteers make Derian House such a special place. We simply couldn’t do what we do to help children and young people from across the North West without them.”

Derian House, based in Chorley, cares for more than 400 babies, children, young people and their families from across the North West and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.



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