A nursery transformed into a sea of blue in memory of a little boy with an 'infectious smile', who died at the age of just 20 months.

Since his death in May 2021, his and his twin brother Tommy's nursery Heaton Dene Day Nursery, in Westhoughton, pay tribute to the youngster by holding “Arthur’s Day” every year – an activity-packed day raising money for Derian House, the children’s hospice that cared for him, and continues to care for his family.

This year’s annual celebration saw children and staff dress in blue, Arthur’s favourite colour, and celebrate with bubbles, balloons and blue-themed games – along with a special visit from Disney characters.

At the heart of the day was Arthur's twin brother, Tommy, who will turn five in September and will graduate from nursery this year to start school in autumn.

As this year was Tommy’s final Arthur’s Day at Heaton Dene, the nursery decided to take part in a sponsored walk around the playground to raise even more money for Derian House – with Tommy taking part in his brand new walker.

The final fundraising figure is to be revealed on Tommy’s graduation day at the end of summer.

Mum Daniella Crossman, 27, of Westhoughton said: “As time passes, people forget about anniversaries. But for us parents, losing a child still feels like yesterday. I love that the staff and children at Heaton Dene celebrate Arthur's Day every year; it keeps Arthur’s memory alive.

“Arthur's day was truly amazing this year, it felt more special than ever. We had face painting, bubbles, and goody bags. We released balloons for Arthur. We had a soft play set donated for the children to enjoy. One member of the nursery staff baked 72 cupcakes to sell for Derian. The mascots were paid for by Deighan’s Funeral Parlour, in Horwich, who paid for Arthur’s funeral.

“It was just such a beautiful day with music and dancing and happiness. All the kids absolutely loved it and me and the staff did too.”

Daniella’s twin boys, Tommy and Arthur, were both diagnosed with a severe form of cerebral palsy, as well as a rare genetic disease, and have visited Derian House since the age of one.

However, in 2021 Arthur passed away after a sudden illness.

Daniella recently shared her family’s story in Derian House’s latest fundraising campaign which was sent to 32,000 of the hospice’s supporters.

“We will forever be grateful for the hospice – it’s hard to describe what they do for you and what an impact they have on your life,” continued Daniella.

“When I think of Derian House now I think of happy times, I think of love and care and this bright place that it is. We know more than most how important it is to spend time with your child.

“And the support Derian gave us after we lost Arthur was amazing and we will forever be thankful.”

Carla Holloway and Lindsay Whittle, of the management team at Heaton Dene Day Nursery, said: “Arthur and Tommy joined us in 2021. Arthur had an infectious smile and was loved by children and staff.

"We want Arthur's memory to live on at Heaton Dene and have celebrated Arthur's day since, and will continue to do so in years to come.

"This year was Tommy's last year with us, so we wanted to make it special. The day was fantastic, all the children had an amazing time and it was so nice to see Tommy in his walker, joining in with his friends.

"Thank you to everyone who helped make it special and to all our amazing parents for their generous donations for Derian house.”

Ann Marie Fishwick, Community Fundraiser at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “All the children and staff at Heaton Dene nursery are doing an amazing job of honouring Arthur’s life for his parents and his brother Tommy.

“Not only have they raised vital funds for families just like Arthur’s, but they have created an annual event for everyone to join in and celebrate. It’s incredibly heartwarming.

“Care is free to families at Derian House, but it will cost £6million to run the hospice this year. We rely on our kind-hearted supporters to raise 70p in every £1 as we only receive a small amount of funding from the government.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice, based in Chorley, Lancashire, cares for more than 400 babies, children, young people and their families from across the North West, helping them to make the most of every moment. Find out more: www.derianhouse.co.uk