A mum and dad from Chorley have handed out 35 special comfort packages to help families in the days after their child dies, in collaboration with Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Rachael and Andrew Harty created The Tiger Box, also known as Rory’s Box, as a legacy to their son Rory ‘Tiger’ Harty, who died aged two in December 2021, just 12 weeks after he was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Containing a blanket, a heat pack, a storybook and ink to create precious handprints – the Tiger Boxes are handed out to bereaved parents whose child is laying at rest in one of the hospice’s special cold bedrooms, known as Sunflower Rooms.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Rachael, 32, said: “While Rory rested in the sunflower rooms at Derian House, I felt fortunate we had time to get everything we needed to stay in there for a long period of time.

“Fortunately, we live five minutes away and after feeling how cold the room got I headed home for a blanket, a hot water bottle, books, Rory’s special toys, and Rory’s Christmas presents.

“But it made me realise that not all families are close by. I couldn't shake from my head that other families would have to choose either spend a long period away from their child to collect items or go without them. This is where the idea of Rory’s Box began.

“Rory’s Tiger Box is there for families at a time when they need someone else to think for them. The box provides families with home comforts and necessary items to withstand the cold rooms, without the need to leave to collect things from home.”

Rory’s Tiger Box also contains a lavender candle, pillow spray, hand cream, a family tree poster, as well as seeds to plant forget-me-nots, and a bereavement book titled Rory-saurus – written by Rachael and Andrew for their son and Rory’s brother, Noah, six.

The box has been handed out to families for more than two years and the pair have no plans to stop their work.

They have also created the Dino Box which is given to all independent funeral homes in Chorley.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Rachael continued: “Rory’s Box is a way to continue Rory's name, his face, and his legacy.

“It was an idea and dream that was thought up out of deep grief, sorrow and pain. We purchase the items ourselves through money donated via our Just Giving page.

"We create the boxes in Rory's bedroom, and Noah had a big hand in this. Any wonky logos are extra special, because that's Rory’s big brother’s work!

“We know how incredible our little boy was, he fills us with pride every second of the day – both our boys do. Rory’s Box is a way of him living on and showing the world the superstar that he always will be.

"Rory was only with us physically for two years, the reason our hearts are forever broken, but he will do more good in his life and help more people in his life than most people ever will.”

Burnley mother Lauren Macaree received a Rory’s Tiger Box when her son Jake used the Sunflower Room at Derian House in Chorley in 2022.

Jake Macaree was born with a rare genetic condition that affects only one in 100,000 children and passed away aged two.

Lauren said: “I remember thinking at the time how incredible that a family who has gone through the same pain that we were going through has done something so amazing to support others.

“And what an amazing legacy for Rory. The gifts they gave really made a difference. They came from one angel baby family to another. I can’t thank them enough.”

Lucy Maxwell, Family Support Worker at Derian House, said: “Rory’s Box has been a huge comfort to many of our families during what is the most difficult of times.

"The fact that the boxes come from one family to another who have had the same experience is incredibly special.

“The Sunflower Rooms enable parents to spend precious time with their child after they have passed away, giving them more time to say goodbye, and to have these extra items means so much to them.”

Derian House, based in Astley Village, 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.