Family and friends pay tribute to their ray of "sunshine" by holding fundraisers for Derian House and Royal Preston Hospital

Family and friends of a nursery nurse who died after a fall have paid tribute to their 'sunshine' by raising more than £2,000 for charity.

Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 8:53 am
Updated Monday, 12th November 2018, 3:59 pm
Antonia Isherwood, Lauryn Flore, George Thomas, Catherine Ogden, Faye Webster and Claire Concannon and the dog Betsy at the fund-raiser for Derian House in memory of Catherine and Andrew's mum, Claire Elliott

Claire Elliott, a mother-of-two, who worked at St Pius X Preparatory School and Elizabeth Saunders Nursery, fell down the stairs at her Penwortham home on the morning of February 27, which caused a huge brain damage. She was taken to the critical care unit at Royal Preston Hospital, where she remained unconscious until she died on March 10. She was aged 53.

Her parents, John and Margaret Elliott, created a shrine dedicated to her in their Longton garden, and family members decided to hold a celebration event in her honour, whilst raising money for Derian House.

Her daughter, Catherine Ogden, 20, said: “The garden is beautiful and has a wall built in the shape of a C, flowers, pebbles and a big heart.“We went round with buckets, expecting people to throw in a bit of change, but we ended up with £885. I really didn’t think we would raise that much but we are so pleased.“Mum would have enjoyed the party.“It was crazy the amount of people who wanted to visit my mum in hospital, including her nieces, sister Sue Livesey, twin brother Tim, other brother Nick, parents, cousins and friends. Everyone who met my mum became her friend. She was a one of a kind and she was someone you would never forget.“Her friends meant everything to her, she was everybody’s best friend and she was obsessed with her Cockerpoo dog, Harvey. She was amazing at her job as a nursery nurse, but most of all she was the most amazing mum to my brother Andrew and I. She always made sure we had the most fun childhood. She got involved at every opportunity and always had our backs.”

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Tim Elliott, Lyn Clement, John and Margaret Elliott present a cheque to the ward sister at Royal Preston Hospital's critical care unit

The money from the event was added to an online fund-raiser and collections made during Claire’s funeral, to take the total to £1,374.Catherine added: “Derian House children’s hospice aims to make happy memories for young people whose lives are too short. Mum would have loved this because she was all about fun and she wouldn’t want any child to not be laughing and smiling, particularly when that child has a life-limiting condition.”

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Catherine added as a permanent tribute to her mum, she and her brother had a sunshine tattoo on her arm, along with 10 other family members.She said: “We got this tattoo because my mum had the same one on her wrist. To me it represents the quote which I used in my funeral speech: “She was our sunshine, and some suns never set”. She lit up the room whenever she entered, just like a sun.”

Meanwhile, Claire’s friends, Lyn Clement, Nic Newton, Kershtine Webster and Debbie Browne, organised a charity night at St Teresa’s Social Club in Penwortham, raising £1,115 for the critical care ward at the Royal Preston Hospital, where she spent 10 days before she died.

Catherine Ogden by the garden dedicated to her mum

Claire’s close friend Lyn Clement said: “Claire was a wonderful and vibrant person. She always looked at life in a special way and could bring a smile to anyone, even in their darkest times. “Because of who Claire was and how wonderful all the staff cared for Claire and her family and friends, we wanted to give something back to say a heartfelt thank you to all the team by holding a fund-raiser.”

The garden dedicated to Claire Elliott
The sunshine tattoo on Andrew's arm
Claire Elliott