Wigan Warriors spread Christmas cheer to patients at Rosemere Cancer Centre’s Ribblesdale Ward in Preston

Memories of a much loved mum, whose favourite time of the year was now, have made for a merrier Christmas for patients on Rosemere Cancer Centre’s Ribblesdale Ward.

Saturday, 7th December 2019, 11:45 am
Wigan Warriors stars visiting patients at Rosemere's Ribblesdale ward Joe Bullock, Morgan Escare and Ben Flowers with Peter Castaldi

The family of Bamber Bridge’s Jill Brakewell, who lost her life to leukaemia in November 2015, arranged for members of Wigan Warriors’ first team to drop by for a visit. They had presents for all patients as well as plates of mince pies and boxes of chocolates to share among patients’ families and ward staff.

Since 2016, the rugby league club’s visit and gifts have become an early December tradition thanks to the Brakewells.

Jill’s daughter Helen Duchamp, who lives in France, said: “Mum loved Christmas. It was her most favourite time of the year so I know she would be thrilled that we are spreading Christmas cheer in her name still to Ribblesdale patients and their families as mum spent time on the ward herself.

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Wigan Warriors stars visiting patients at Rosemere's Ribblesdale ward Kete Devine with Morgan Escare and Sean O'Loughlin

“Ribblesdale Ward is a special place. The staff are wonderful and do their best to make Christmas as happy as it can be for everyone. I know they used to receive money from Rosemere Cancer Foundation to buy patients Christmas presents but I thought we could help save them the extra work and save Rosemere Cancer Foundation funds by taking on Christmas for them.”

As well as liaising with Wigan Warriors, Helen, dad Mick, 71, and other family members source all gifts not just for the players to hand out but also for patients to receive on Christmas Day itself. They also contact local supermarkets, bakeries and chocolatiers for foodie treats.

Helen added: “I would like to thank everyone who has again given so generously in what I know are tough times for a lot of retailers. We are always overwhelmed by people’s kindness.”

Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s chief officer, said: “Helen and her family put a huge amount of effort into making Christmas special for the Ribblesdale’s patients. We are extremely grateful for all they do and to all the companies who support them.”

Sean O'Loughlin with Steve Mawsley

Among those supporting the Brakewells this year are Beech’s Fine Chocolates, Glover’s, Greenhalgh’s, Morrisons at Leyland and Bamber Bridge, Deepdale Sainsbury’s, Royal Sanders, which is based on the Red Scar Business Park and makes a range of personal care products such as shower gels, face washes and creams, and the Fleetwood Freeport branches of the Beauty Outlet and the Body Shop.

Wigan Warriors stars visiting patients at Rosemere's Ribblesdale ward
Bernadette Leeming with Ben Kilner