Two brothers stole the show at this year’s Lights of Love service.
Michael, 19, and Andrew Mills, 17, switched on the lights at Blackburn Cathedral as part of Derian House’s Lights of Love service.
Mum Caroline said: “The boys love Christmas and have only just stopped believing in Father Christmas.
“They were really excited about switching on the lights for Derian House and were talking about it non-stop! They adored taking centre stage at the cathedral and having such an important role to play.
“This has been a fantastic start to the festivities for us and now we’re looking forward to the whole Christmas period when our extended family come together and everything revolves around the boys.”
Georgina Cox, chief executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, added: “Many thanks to everyone who attended our Lights Of Love service and made it an evening to remember with festive readings, carols and music. And a special thank you must go to Michael and Andrew for doing us the honour of switching on the Christmas tree lights.
“The sight of the cathedral aglow with the light of so many candles in memory of loved ones was truly moving and we know how much this service of remembrance means to many of the families whose lives we have touched over the years.
“Christmas is always a special time at Derian House: it is a time of excitement and preparation for the children but it is also a time of giving. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us this year in any way. We rely greatly on the generosity of the public who not only donate to us but also give us their time as volunteers. Without them, we would not be able to do all we do for the very many children and families who reach out to us for support.
“Michael and Andrew really enjoy Christmas at Derian.
“They love the parties and the trips out, not to mention the decorations and all the fun they have when they stay. Derian House is so important to us as a family. It allows us, as parents, quality time together knowing the boys are in safe hands and being well cared for.
“With the boys now being in their late teens, it gives them time away from the family to gain independence and grow into the individuals they are today. Derian House has always been a place they look forward to coming to and they often ask ‘when are we next in?’ This is reassuring as parents as it shows they love coming here. They enjoy meeting all the staff and other young people and really enjoy the Lodge as it has wi-fi.”
The Lights of Love service saw more than 700 people pack Blackburn Cathedral to join in a festive celebration and light candles in memory of those no longer with us. The emotive service included readings, both traditional and modern, carols and music, including You’ve Got A Friend by the Derian Singers, made up of hospice staff and volunteers.
Andrew and Michael were helped to switch on the Christmas tree lights by the Rev Andrew Hindley, Canon Sacrist at the cathedral.