The Retreat

Ripple Retreat Pier

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We enjoyed a lovely day at the Retreat yesterday as we officially opened the Pier.

Last year Cathal Morgan (architect in Tony Kettle’s practice and our day to day architect for the Retreat) designed a pier that complemented the Retreat perfectly.  We got planning consent and then we were introduced to the lovely folks at the Wooden Spoon Charity and after consideration they agreed to fund the Pier.  What we didn’t know at the time was that our estimate was way off base!

However, we met up with the folks from George Leslie, a contractor more used to building huge piers.  They said that they would love to build our pier and it was to be the smallest they had built and that the funding we had in place from the Wooden Spoon charity would be fine. (I think they have called it a cost-minus project though also acknowledge how rewarding it was to support us).

It was a massive construction job – we had a huge crane (if you know the site, you can imagine how tricky it was to get the crane to the site) and some days the weather was kinder than others but the guys kept going.

The curved end of the pier – the shelter – was funded by a private donation and that is made of glulam beams- made in Austria because no one in the UK was able to bend the beams to the curve required.

It really is a beautiful pier and allows families the chance to sit and look down the loch enjoying the stunning views.  If they are experienced sailors and want to hire a sail boat or canoe the nearby Loch Venachar sailing club is happy to help.  And if they have no experience, the sail club is happy to offer tuition or just take the family out on the water.

Yesterday, President of the Wooden Spoon in Scotland, the rugby legend that is Gavin Hastings, officially opened the pier.  Several trustees from the Wooden Spoon came along too as did CEO of George Leslie, John McNaught and  Ross Ritchie, also from George Leslie and Tony Kettle, architect of Ripple Retreat.

We were extra lucky in that as her next race is in Newcastle,  one of our Patrons, Lynsey Sharp, was able to attend.  She had visited the Retreat when it was a muddy building site and so was blown away by its beauty now that it is finished.

The pier represents a fabulous collaboration between two charities ( us and the wonderful Wooden Spoon charity), two businesses  (George Leslie, the pier contractors and indeed several other businesses who supported them.  Glulam Solutions for the curved shelter), our incredibly talented architect team at Kettle Collective and a private donor for funding the curved shelter – we are grateful to them all for providing this stunning addition to our Ripple Retreat.  It will enhance the experience of every family who stays at Ripple Retreat.

Thanks to one of our Lead Ambassadors, Elaine Whellans for some cracking photos from the day.

Ripple Retreat nature watch!

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Ripple Retreat nature notes

Because Ian and I have been staying here often over past few weeks or arriving early morning we have been lucky enough to see all sorts of creatures.
Bats late at night which is wonderful as they eat midges and of those there are plenty. (though we are also purchasing midge eating machines to deal with those on a longer term basis)
A brown owl – sadly we saw this because it hit one of the windows – don’t worry it was fine – stunned but got up and flew away after an hour’s rest.
The fabulous bird feeder station has meant we get siskins, finches, sparrows, blue tits, wagtails and a gorgeous woodpecker. Oh and recently also a jay – very pretty but also very greedy.
Our neighbour says we have red squirrels but they are avoiding me so far – it is my goal to see one before the year is out!
Today I saw the tiniest frog ever in our burn. Barely bigger than a finger nail.
So there is plenty to watch and we have the kit to watch it – lovely binoculars bought for us by our friends The McPhersons.
Good enough to see the fish jump out of the water! That is fun to watch and impossible (for me) to photograph.



Art at the Retreat part 8

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Julie Robertson has supported It’s Good 2 Give for several years and has regularly donated her paintings to us for auction.
We wanted to keep one for the Retreat art gallery and chose the one below – it is of Cramond Island off the shores of Edinburgh and looks right at home in our Retreat.
Julie also introduced us to her husband Donald and he volunteers for us as a Trustee and our Treasurer (and is himself a treasure!).
Thanks to both Julie and Donald for their lovely gifts to us.



Art at the Retreat part 7

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We had a lovely visit from our art advisers Ingrid and Stuart in June – they arrived bearing lots of arty gifts for us.
Thanks to
Hatti Pattisson for her lovely original art painted especially for us and now hanging with pride of place in our main area.
Ingrid Nilsson for her original painting again done especially for us and it is of Loch Venachar.
Ritchie Collins, Stanley Bird and Lynn Hanley for the prints they donated to us
Capital Glazing and Ashworth and Thompson who supplied the glass and framing supplies
Doricmor printers for printing all the giclee prints
What fantastic and amazing donations.
That was incredibly kind of you all and very much appreciated.
Our art gallery looks truly splendid and the bedrooms are much cheered by the wonderful prints.
Ingrid and Stuart have been a godsend to us as they have chosen where art is to go and best way to hang it. We simply couldn’t have done it ourselves.
We are also enjoying drinking our tea from lovely mugs gifted to us by Ingrid and Stuart – with a fabulous sheep painting on them.




Ripple Retreat art part 5 – harmonies in wood

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Harmonies in Wood

almost 8 years ago I won an award as Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year and the award itself was beautiful. I have always loved wood and find it very tactile. So the day after receiving the award I got in touch with the designer of the award.
That was Scott Irvine and he told me no one had ever commented on his awards. And that was the start of our relationship. Over the years Scott has given me stunning pieces for auction items at big events. He has designed pieces I have given (on a personal basis) to two retiring Trustees for long and special service and our Young Ambassadors have the chance to receive an award designed by Scott later this year.
For the Retreat Scott wanted to create something special and unique. He certainly achieved that by creating a beautiful mirror. It has ripples, a loch and Ben Ledi. It has been much admired by our Open day visitors and I am sure that our family guests will love it too.

You can see more of Scott’s work at Soprano Ice, Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh or at his website.












Once Scott saw the Ripple Retreat and its new logo he very kindly designed and made the stunning coasters shown in pic below for us.  So many supporters have expressed an interest in them that they are now also for sale at £15 each with £2 from each purchase coming to It’s Good 2 Give.  It’s hard to choose which is my favourite colour – they are all so lovely.  Thank you Scott.

If you would like to buy one or more do get in touch with Scott directly or email me.


Criteria for staying at the Retreat

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Ripple Retreat – who can stay?

It’s Good 2 Give Board of Trustees agreed the criteria for staying at the Ripple Retreat

Any young cancer patient* and their family, based in Scotland, who is currently in treatment or up to a maximum of 1 year after active treatment
Bereaved families of young cancer patients, based in Scotland, within the first year after their loss
*Child/young person aged 0-18

We will review this after our first 6 months of operation – we will build on our relationships with professional staff in hospitals around Scotland and listen to their suggestions.

The Retreat can accommodate a maximum of five people plus a baby.

No pets or smoking allowed in the house or grounds.

Stays are for a maximum of five nights.

If you would like to know more about our booking procedure or have questions then do get in touch.


Ripple Retreat art part 4

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Serena Hale

Serena is a great friend of former Trustee Marlyn. She has organised workshops for our families and previously donated art to auction so it was an extra special treat for us to be given six pieces of art by Serena. We kept two pieces to auction at our Afternoon tea events and the other four are now hanging in our dining area of Ripple Retreat. We love the vibrancy of colours and my personal favourite is the tree picture.

Thanks, Serena.

Rippler Retreat art part 3

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The John Lewis story

I made a gift list at John Lewis for our Ripple Retreat – many supporters had expressed an interest in buying something for the retreat and this was an ideal way.
Months later and many many gifts bought the list was closed and all the items delivered to the Retreat. I was very happy with the way John Lewis team had helped – I had a named representative to speak to at any time, Keiran and he helped by finding alternative items or postponing deliver date.
After the Retreat was open he called to check all had gone well and asked me for a picture of it as he wanted to share it with his colleagues. I obliged.
Little did I know that what he really wanted it for was to have this picture made for us and sent with a lovely letter expressing their admiration for the Retreat and our wee charity.
We love it and its story even more!

Ripple Retreat art part 2

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We wanted our hallway to become a gallery of art that meant something to us in the Charity.  No sooner had I said this than wonderful donations of art flooded in.
Look at this pic for example

Many years ago it was painted by a 6 year old Kim – niece of former Trustee and now Lead Ambassador Susan Stewart. A few years later Kim was diagnosed with cancer and very sadly died just before her 15th birthday. A year or so after this I met Susan and her sister Tricia – Kim’s mum.
They gave me Kim’s picture – well prints from it – they kept the original. We sold them at events and had one framed – we auctioned it and a long time supporter bought it. This must be nine or ten years ago remember.
Anyway, that long time supporter Merle and her husband Tony came to one of our open days and she brought Kim’s picture. She had read my post and decided to give it back to us for our gallery!
it is a much loved addition and we thank you Merle.






Young Ambassador Skye Dunlop and her family donated this lovely picture – they wanted to give us something nautical and special and it certainly is- chosen by Skye and painted by a friend of her family we love it.








The photo of Loch Venachar was taken by a friend of David and Jean Ferguson one May morning. I love it and David and Jean gave me this framed copy during my illness 2 years ago. I love it so much I wanted it to be in our gallery.










Over the past year or so i have become twitter pals with a lady in Aberdeen – her cousin Millie had died four years ago and Millie’s entire family have become passionate and enthusiastic supporters. Lynne and her daughter visited on one of our open days and brought us this gorgeous gift – perfect for our gallery and much admired already.

Volunteering at the Ripple Retreat

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Ripple retreat volunteering

There are a few opportunities at Ripple Retreat for volunteering in the garden.
We have 2 acres of land and it is a lot to manage so we welcome anyone volunteering to weed!
Our volunteers can work in the garden on Thursday afternoons or anytime on Fridays during 2017.
If that is something you can help with regularly or even occasionally, please do get in touch.