New Riddle Retreat for sick children opened

Lorraine Kelly and Grant Stott at the opening. Picture: Gareth Easton
Lorraine Kelly and Grant Stott at the opening. Picture: Gareth Easton
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TELEVISION presenter Lorraine Kelly joined fundraisers to help launch a new £1 million loch-side holiday home for children with cancer.

The Ripple Retreat at Loch Venacher, near Callander, is the brainchild of husband and wife team Ian and Lynne McNicoll OBE.

Tireless Lynne founded the It’s Good 2 Give charity in 2010 and carried on fundraising after being diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.

“Opening the Ripple Retreat is an amazing milestone for our charity,” said Lynne.

“It’s a luxurious and peaceful living space for a short break to relax, reflect and hopefully enjoy time together.”

Lorraine and Lynne were joined by 120 guests at the grand opening of the 
three-bedroom home, designed by award-winning architect Tony Kettle.

“Our dedicated funders and passionate volunteers have worked tirelessly to deliver something unique which will make an enormous difference to hundreds of people from all over Scotland every year,” said Lynne.

“The Ripple Retreat will be a lifeline to families struggling with the devastating effects of a child’s cancer diagnosis.

“Families are quickly thrown into despair having their child endure the ordeal of chemotherapy and the ravaging effects of this cruel disease.

“We’re extremely proud to launch the Ripple Retreat for all the families we are committed to helping through an immensely difficult time in their lives.”

Joining Lynne at the launch was Tabitha Lawson, aged 12, a former cancer patient who received support from the charity at the age of six.

Also there was seven-year-old Alfie Byrne whose sister died from cancer and Kira Noble, aged 13. All three are now Young Ambassadors for It’s Good 2 Give.

Forced to take a break from fundraising during her own chemotherapy ordeal in 2015, Lynne has now recovered and is back building the charity.

Firms helping out with the Ripple Retreat include John Dennis Construction, Cundall, Harley Haddow, Kitchens International, James Morrow, Walker Group, Spifox and KDMedia.

The house is stocked with toys, books, games and activities for holidaying children.

It also has fishing rights on the loch, is next to a national cycle path and is ten minutes from Callander.

A landscaped garden by Semple Begg Garden Design was funded by Spifox, the Scottish property charity.

Edinburgh-based It’s Good 2 Give offers practical support to families of young cancer patients, from nutritional snacks to ironing vouchers and craft workshops.

In June 2015, Lynne was named an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, collecting her accolade from Buckingham Palace.

She also won the Scottish Institute of Fundraising’s Volunteer Fundraiser of the year in 2009 and the City of Edinburgh Council William Y Darling Award for Good Citizenship in October 2014.

Kirsten Speirs, of Murrayfield-based KDMedia, said: “It was very inspiring to see all the effort of Lynne and her army of volunteers come to fruition.”

andy.shipley@jpress.co.uk