Uncategorized

Ripple Retreat Pier

Posted by | Special supporters, The Retreat, Uncategorized | One Comment

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.

Everest Base Camp Challenge 2018

Posted by | fitness, Special supporters, Uncategorized | No Comments

One of our supporters, Graham Lawson, has decided to take on the challenge of a lifetime and do a trek to Everest Base Camp.   Graham has been a supporter for many years now since his daughter Tabby was diagnosed with cancer when she was 6.   Tabby is now well and one of our Young Ambassadors – an enthusiastic and successful fundraiser too!  Graham has already climbed Kilimanjaro and trekked in the Arctic for us but this is in a different league.  Everest Base Camp trek is tough.

He has even managed to persuade two others to join him on this challenge in April 2018.

Having said all that, there are still spaces if anyone is interested in joining him!   You’d have to pay your own way for the trek itself and then raise ££££ for us in addition.

If you would like to know more, get in touch with either Kae or Lynne

The photo below was when Graham was training for the Arctic Trek – you might recognise his companion!  (none other than Scottish Rugby legend, Gavin Hastings)

Graham pulling Gavin Hastings

Art at the Retreat part 7

Posted by | The Retreat, Uncategorized | No Comments

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 6

Posted by | Uncategorized | No Comments

Steven Brown art

Who doesn’t love Steven’s creations? wonderfully vibrant colours and highland coos!
We had, as you know, been given Bill the Bull the day before our Official Opening and been told that Ripple retreat was his forever home.
So, it was with great pleasure that new friend Maxine came along to see Ripple Retreat and brought us a gift – a Steven Brown colourful Highland coo just like Bill! Maxine knows Steven so she had got him to personally sign the print too. We know just where we want to put him – facing Bill the bull in the garden!

Outstanding Silver Beaker

Posted by | Uncategorized | No Comments

We are truly honoured to be given this beautiful Ash Beaker by Hamilton & Inches.

Only two have been made.  Just two.

One for us to auction at our Ball in November.

And wait till I tell you who has the other one.

None other than the National Museum of Scotland in their silver Treasury.  That is pretty cool.  Several heritage items created by Hamilton & Inches have also featured in the National Museums, including the crown for the Lord Lyon of Scotland.

I was at the museum last month to see their beaker being put into its display.   Do have a look if you are visiting the museum – we get a wee mention too which is lovely.

The beaker was designed by noted Scottish silversmith Grant McCaig  and hand crafted in the silver workshops at Hamilton & Inches at George Street, Edinburgh. The design of the Ash Beaker was inspired by the protective qualities of the ash tree in Gaelic folklore, appropriately so as our Retreat is in the Loch  Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

While it is up for auction at our Ball in November you can make a bid on it by emailing me and we would consider it on the day.

Heartfelt thanks to Stephen Paterson and his team at Hamilton & Inches for such tremendous support over the years and with this donation in particular.

It’s Good 2 Give Ripple Retreat Bench

Posted by | Uncategorized | One Comment

A few months ago, we were offered a bench for our Ripple Retreat Spifox Garden (it is called the Spifox garden because the charity Spifox funded it).

Nicola Semple and Susan Begg professionally known as Semple Begg Garden Design who had designed on a pro bono basis the Spifox garden were approached by Ben Dawson. Ben is a very talented furniture designer/maker.  He designed the furniture for the Scottish Parliament so whenever you see in the main chamber you can see Ben’s work.

We were asked to approve the design and also the poem that his wife Karen had written and was going to be inscribed onto the bench itself.

This was an easy ask for us as both the design and the poem are stunning.  We still weren’t prepared for the reality!  Day before we opened this huge lorry arrives and 9 people are needed to carry the bench into its place in our garden.  It is very large and very very beautiful.  The bench is from a tree from Edinburgh’s New Town.  Karen’s poem is perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy some photos of the bench

Art at our Ripple Retreat part 1

Posted by | Uncategorized | No Comments

We have some lovely art at our Ripple Retreat – all of it has a reason to be here –

over the coming months I shall share with you what we have.

Starting with a very important piece of art – our collaboration with Edinburgh artist, Wendy Helliwell.

Wendy took a group of our Young Ambassadors and gave them a challenge – they were to collect favourite things and make a picture out of them and include a letter that meant something to them.

She held a workshop at her house last summer and worked with the YA’s on their pictures.  After she had all their pictures in, she took some favourite items of mine and worked them into the main picture ( a Edinburgh Military Tattoo ticket,my business card and the Zoe shooting star) – It was so good to see the final picture and to be honest it was a suprise how she had worked her magic on the YA’s pictures. They had all been so different I wasn’t sure how she was going to bring them all together but for sure she has. Wendy has magic and the picture is stunning. Every single guest and visitor has asked about it and been wow’ed by it.

Thank you Wendy for all your help and well done to our Young Ambassadors too.  What a special gift for our Ripple Retreat.

12days to go till we open Ripple Retreat

Posted by | The Retreat, Uncategorized | No Comments

Ian and I were up at the site today to water the newly planted plants and Millie’s trees – we have had a dry spell for a few days and we can’t have them drying out.

 

There was no one else there today of course so it was very peaceful. Ian was busy sorting the tree ties and I decided to sit at the pier and look down the loch and had some moments to think.

And this is what I was thinking…..

Three and a bit years ago when we first met David and Jean we had not expected them to give us such a beautiful piece of their land. We had not expected it to be so peaceful, stunning and have views like it has. We had not expected to be given a piece of land in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Our next concern was – would the planners let us build here? We could but ask. They (the planners at the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park) said if we were to have any chance of building here we were going to have to produce a design that was ‘exceptional’ and fitted in to its surroundings.

A tall ask.

Incredibly around the same time we were introduced to Tony Kettle. Tony had designed the Falkirk Wheel among many other buildings of note. He was interested in helping. Give me a few weeks he said and we did. Not in a million years did I think we would like the very first (and only) design he would show us.

But he’s good. He is really really good.

The design was both exceptional and fitted in to its surroundings.

We loved it. Fortunately so did the planners!

And so today, the last day of April 2017, I sat there and pinched myself – listen, I am not going to kid you and say the past three years has been easy – this project threw up all sorts of obstacles and hurdles – the design team have all worked together to work through them though and let’s not forget that for almost a year I was getting chemo and radiotherapy – not easy for either me or Ian but working on this project helped us both a lot.

In particular this year has been tough – unavoidable delays here and there are frustrating to say the least and differing views on style has meant compromises too by all parties.

Plus it is hard working on this to the extent we have this year, plus continuing to fundraise for it, organise events, and run the charity!

All that by way of saying, I think, that I had been getting blasé about the Retreat, taking it for granted and yet today as I sat at peace, loch side, it hit me.

Tony Kettle is an absolute marvel, David and Jean are awesome and our contractors quite remarkable – everyone else involved is pretty cool too. Our Patrons, Trustees, Ambassadors, Young Ambassadors and volunteers are some of the finest people on the planet.

And our Ripple Retreat is truly truly stunning. Breathtaking. It took my breath away today, brought tears to my eyes as I realised we are less than two weeks away from opening it. (well those tears might have been tears of terror at the thought of just 2 weeks to go and quite a lot to do in that time.) (kidding – they were tears of wonder, of joy, of immense gratitude).

What an amazing collective achievement.

Now, I must go, there are a fair few tasks to do before Lorraine Kelly cuts that ribbon!!

 

Friday heroes

Posted by | A Day in the Life of this Fundraiser, Special supporters, Uncategorized | No Comments

Everyone needs a hero sometimes and I have two Friday heroes in Steven at our printers, Callprint Edinburgh and Sue in Dunbar.  Let’s start with Steven – I had an invite that needed amending and it was very difficult to do to match fonts etc – doesn’t sound like much but it was the fact he really tried to help and I said not to worry about it and I would manage.  He came back to me 30mins later to say he had done it!   He and Colin at Callprint Edinburgh are a fantastic team and really help us with design and printing – be hard to do all we do without them.

Then Sue messaged me to say she had achieved a staggering amount of support for our Opening of Retreat and the following open days with biscuits and coffee.

They both really made my day with their kindness and going the extra mile to help me.   And with the sun shining too it is a fabulous Friday!  Busy too (there’s a surprise).

Ian and I have spent several hours working on our Donor Recognition Windows – contacting supporters, adding to the list, making sure names are right.  There is a long way to go but we have made a cracking start.

I have been selling again – my sales allow me to buy items for the office so today I am delivering a couple of things I have sold, before delivering collecting cans to a business who is doing a collection for us next week, and that is before I go out for lunch with some of my team. After that I am meeting three Young Ambassadors to get them started on a project for their main event this year – the Young Ambassadors Afternoon Tea (sounds like something you should have Ferrero Rocher chocolates at, doesn’t it?).  We are busy working on it already even though the event isn’t until November – I want the YA’s to understand just how much work goes into any event and especially our events.  Small groups of YA’s will work on different aspects of the event and this group are working with me and Ambassador Rosie on the general organisation of the event.  We shall soon be selling tickets = watch this space!

After dinner I plan a couple of hours of work on the computer to update the donor list then it is time to put feet up and read some magazines.

I have loved this week and am looking forward to a cracking weekend – got a Mindfulness workshop for our YA’s on Sunday and will be paying lots of attention myself!

 

working out

Posted by | A Day in the Life of this Fundraiser, Uncategorized | No Comments

Had a mainly personal day yesterday as had my annual check at the Western General Hospital so today has been a lovely day – variety is the spice of life, they say!

Banking, paying invoices, replying to emails, initiating requests and then there was the heavy stuff – we have hired a van to take a lot of boxes and furniture to our storage units in Leith tomorrow.  But that meant we had to move huge boxes which seemed awkward and heavy to us! I have new muscles tonight and may need to soak in a bath later with epsoms salts.  Quite a workout we got! We will be glad to get space back in our garage – just in time to fill it again no doubt. It is incredibly kind of Broughton `Removals to support us

I am also working on the plans for the volunteer teams we need to get the big storage boxes emptied – we have a very short window of opportunity end April and beginning of May. I bought lots pairs of Marigolds at the weekend for all of us to use.

It’s wonderful to have so many offers to help and I will work on a wee rota soon.