ripple retreat loch venachar

We are all about Kindness

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There has been much talk this week about kindness and its power. I want to add in my thoughts and observations.

When Ian and I set up It’s Good 2 Give over 9 years ago we wanted to create a charity that was centred around volunteering. All these years later and it is still at our core.

Ian and I volunteer our time to run the charity and the Ripple Retreat – we are surrounded by incredible people volunteering and/or donating and/or fundraising to support us. From the generosity of donors both individual and business who donate prizes or sponsor part of our and our fundraisers’ events to the incredible and loyal volunteer teams we have.

Just this week we had our snack team delivering treats to the parents and patients of ward 2 at Edinburgh’s Sick Kid’s Hospital on a daily basis, volunteers making up and delivering parent packs to Glasgow Children’s Hospital, a full team volunteering at an event that we were one of the benefitting charities, our incredible housekeeping volunteers at Ripple Retreat and the welcome volunteers ready to welcome our next family who stay.

If that doesn’t show kindness at its best, I don’t know what would. I am proud of all our volunteers and super grateful to each and every one of them.

I know how much the families on ward 2 appreciate our snack team and am sure those who stay at Ripple Retreat also appreciate the incredible efforts of those who helped fundraise or donated in other ways to create the retreat and those who help make it ready for every family every week.

Sometimes it is easy to forget all the folk in the background but it is important to recognise their efforts and kindness in helping – it is a wonderful choice they have made.

Let’s hear it for our volunteers!

More photos added soon (laptop playing up!)

Overseas Treks 2020

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We love overseas treks and so do our followers. We have 3 planned for next year, 2020. One is to go and see the beauty of this World Heritage Site and climb to the Roof of Africa with Breaking Strain Events. You’ll be guided up the Machame Route over 6 days (also known as Whiskey Route), where you will ‘walk high, sleep low’ in tents allowing your body to acclimatise to the altitude before you summit Uhuru Peak at 5895m (19,000ft).

Another trek is one we first did in 2015 with Breaking Strain Events. It is a challenging trek due to the cold temperatures of Rovaniemi in Finland. You will spend 3 days trekking approximately 65km into the Arctic Circle pulling all your own kit on a pulk and sleeping on frozen river beds and lakes in tents. Finishing with a night in the Ice Hotel with a high probability off seeing the Northern Lights ( Aurora Borealis).

And we also plan a Vietnam trek. Why not join us for this fantastic opportunity to explore the traditional charm and rare beauty of this untouched part of Asia. Trek through the valleys and paddy fields of northern Vietnam to the breath-taking mountains of the Hoa Binh province. A trek not to be missed whilst raising vital funds for It’s Good 2 Give.

Please get in touch if you are interested in any of our treks

Come and join us for the Kiltwalk 2019

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2019 is our tenth year as a Charity – our goal is to raise funds to continue our support of families who have a child or teen with cancer.

In 2018 we had an amazing 340 people supporting us by doing the Edinburgh kiltwalk. Thanks to the support of these wonderful people and the Hunter Foundation we raised an incredible £150,000.

It is totally astonishing and very gratifying to know that everyone who participated did so well with their fundraising and that the wonderful Hunter Foundation topped up the money by 40%.

Also our very own Kiltwalker, Kirsty White, won the Arnold Clark car as well. Kirsty did the full 24 mile walk in Edinburgh and we are delighted for her. Every Kiltwalker is in with a chance to win a car at each of the walks and in 2019, it could be YOU!

The 2019 Kiltwalk dates are now out and available to book. You can choose 6, 11 or 25 miles at any location, more details below.

Please do support us if you can by joining our walkers. How about making up a work / school / friends / family team?

To sign up click on links below

For Glasgow click here

For Aberdeen click here

For Dundee click here and last but not least

For Edinburgh click here

Once signed up, do join our private Kiltwalk facebook group to get updates from us!


Zumba Fundraiser

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Saturday, 24 November 2018 from 10:30-12:00


St Stephen’s Centre, Stockbridge


Fundraising Zumba class by Suzanne

Read what she says:

Please come along and help me to raise some money for this local charity. It’s Good 2 Give does tremendous work in Ward 2 of Edinburgh Sick Kids to help bring the ‘extras’ that make a long hospital stay slightly less horrid for kids and parents alike. Now they also have the Ripple Retreat on Loch Venacher, a house where children and their families, from across Scotland, can go to be ‘normal’ and enjoy time together.


How much and how to get tickets?

Tickets are £8, buy in class or email Suzanne on for payment details via PayPal.

Very special Christmas Cards

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Bringing the real meaning of Christmas to cards.

What do I mean?  Well, let’s see.  How about the fact that two cards were designed by a long time supporter Kate Holliday – a card designer.  She did so as she has done every year for ten years as a gift to us.  Exclusive designs at no cost.

The third card was designed by one of our Young Ambassadors – Tabby is 13 and went through treatment for cancer from age 6 to age 9.  She too designed the ‘Angels over the Stable’ card as a gift to us.

Or how about the fact that the cards, envelopes and packaging were donated meaning that, for the 8th year in a row, we an say that we get 100% of card sales.   We aren’t unique in doing this but we are in the minority!

Our cards are still good quality and good value.

Here are the three designs.  All are A6 size so that means it is an ordinary stamp for postage.  All are packed in 10’s.  One design per pack.  £4 per pack.  We can post to you for £1 per pack (UK only).  If you would like to buy any, please do get in touch.  And if you can help us sell out, we would welcome that help too!

Christmas Gift ideas

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1 October – time for some of us to start thinking about buying Christmas gifts for our friends and family.

We have some suggestions for you – as well as being quality, good value products they help our charity too.

Our friends at Hamilton & Inches have designed, exclusively for us, some stunning jewellery

The Shooting Star range comprises a silver necklace, ear-rings (both drop and stud), a charm, and a lapel or tie pin.  This range of jewellery is not available in Hamilton & Inches shop. It can only be bought from us directly.   Every penny from the sales comes to the Charity.

Email us to order yours – we can post out (p and p at cost)


Then we have our friends at Harmonies in Wood – in addition to making us stunning prizes for auction at events Scott has designed these gorgeous glass coasters with the Ripple Retreat logo.

They are available in any colour combination – and we get a lovely donation of £2 per coaster sold.  Each coaster is £15 (would make a fabulous wedding or anniversary gift too)

Order direct from Scott


Clare Steen of Silverbean jewellery has also designed us a range of stunning silver  jewellery.

Have a look – all jewellery can be ordered direct from Silverbean website 

A % of each sale comes to It’s Good 2 Give

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all who support us by designing, making, and buying our merchandise!

Meet our Edinburgh Kiltwalkers – Susie B’s team

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Hello, my name is Susie Bradley and I am so privileged to be a trustee for It’s Good 2 Give.
I became involved with the charity after they supported my family when our daughter was diagnosed with Leukaemia at 9 years old. I love everything they stand for and after experiencing their support personally, I know what a difference our fundraising can make to families going through the most awful diagnosis and subsequent treatment for a sick child.
That is why I am walking all four Kiltwalks this year, with the most amazing team of friends…Andy Simpson, Lee and Laura Fisher, Gary Sutherland, Lana Schofield and Martin Kennedy….together we are “The Caley Crew”!
We all work together in our ‘day jobs’ and we are all avid supporters of the charity…..we have been doing car boot sales, cake & candy stalls, tombolas, etc, to raise funds for our Kiltwalk efforts…..all this fundraising and our numerous training walks have kept the team very busy this year!
The banter on our walks is fantastic. I even put up with the football chat!
On the 4th walk this weekend, we will be joined by a few more pals and we can’t wait to share our Kiltwalk banter with them.
Andy is already working on what we are going to be doing next year!

Susie’s inspiration – her amazing daughter Sammi (now 18 and super healthy!)

Meet our Edinburgh Kiltwalkers – our speediest walker – Elaine!

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Hi I’m Elaine a long time supporter and trustee for it’s good 2 give charity.

The reason I signed up to walk 4 kiltwalks in 2018 is for a few reasons, firstly let’s be honest when Lynne asks who fancies a challenge who can actually resist, as she is such a caring and inspirational lady who founded the charity and works endlessly to run it, can any of us actually say NO!!

Secondly I became involved after meeting Lynne when my son Aaron was undergoing over 3 years of treatment for Leukaemia, the help we received from charities made a huge difference to our difficult time and I always vowed after Aaron got the all clear I would go that extra mile to raise whatever money I could to help others in the same situation so I thought why not walk 100 miles, 4 kiltwalks and admire some of Scotland famous cities.

Thirdly we know how lucky we are that Aaron is well today 23 years old and in March he will be 10 years off treatment and all the steps I walk for charity is nothing compared with the steps the children take whilst going through treatment.

The charity does amazing work providing practical support and has a beautiful ripple retreat where families can enjoy a break , so go ahead join us, cheer us , sponsor us, get involved, it certainly gives you great satisfaction knowing your helping make a difference. ( keeps you fit too 😉).

(ps from Lynne – you will have to be fast if you want to see Elaine – def our speediest walker! Awesome lady with awesome family – love them to bits)

We’ve let ourselves in by the Love heart latch……

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Our World Renews

by Melinda Tetley


‘A serene waterside sanctuary for young cancer patients —

where they can play and unwind during the most challenging times,

escape the traumas of illness in soothing Scottish wilderness

sheltered in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Winds weave around this retreat — healing starts.’


That is the promise and we’re on our way,

trying to keep emotions at bay;

provoking ballads turned off.


And the dark road is twisting and I’m driving too quick,

off-balance and fretting, wondering what to expect.

And the narrow road is squeezed by a thick tree screen

and sheer stone and signposts half-covered by leaves.


And the summer sky is a tussle between high white and low grey;

blue pools appear, disappear, shrouded by

clouds, unable to forget;

green flashes on hills, smothered in an instant.


And then we arrive and the gate is open;

my eyes glance

across the shadow-stained garden,

my eyes peer

across swollen, swirling Loch Venachar


to a beacon

to Ben Ledi, a mass of ancient pine, scrub, rock,

topped this morning with a shining halo, Bel’s golden crown,

inspiring flares from dark heavens as he dances his festival of fire, heralding the end of winter.


Its majesty, a spark.




Out of a zinc-roofed ripple comes a lady,

open-handed, gracious smile,

warm hug, welcome discretion. She shows

us around a most incredible

setting: rolling hills, sweeping skies, undulating

waters, glistening light. White

butterflies flutter through the thistledown

and dock, table tennis, musical

steps, a flying fox. I can’t quite believe —

is this really for us? Taking the

tour, we explore the house: colourful

paintings, comfy sofas, glass.

Pause for a moment, eye the mesmerising

view; ‘press this button,

lower blinds, if you need to.’ And they’ve

carved a heart on every pane.

I can’t quite believe — and start to cry.

Sunglasses back on, inside.



When we arrived

the little one wandered, surveying toys —

a flying saucer garden swing,

nets to catch minnows,

a giant rainbow xylophone,

tick-tack-toe, three-in-a-row —

wondering who would play with her.


Our big girl sat at the dining table getting organised

reading the information guide,

planning university work half-


checking her phone

rereading Tom’s last text,

worrying about his silence.


My husband unpacked the car, then walked straight to the shore —

trying to fathom the imposing hills, the wide purling loch,

and find solace —

a solitary figure,

gazing into murky waters.


I roamed the garden assessing risks —

midges, burning sun, pollen, ticks;

running my hand over the sharp-skinned volcanic rocks

dotting the water’s edge, not a place to sit,

fissure-scarred, moss growing in cracks.


We left a hot, stifling Edinburgh behind —

carefully-controlled, be cautious, keep him safe;

alone-together — it was our new way.


And where was he?


Desperate not to let opportunity pass him by,

he strode from the other side of the house

into a rumour of sunlight,

carrying a bucket, a huge smile, fishing gear,

heading to the soft-swirl pier,

boy again

in this wild place with

no beeping machines

no needles to endure

just a peaceful loch and a pole.



‘Scottish Baking’, ‘Eating In’ — tomes to help

prepare the feast; then settle down and play

monopoly, mahjong, risk.


Take a cruise up Loch Katrine, then stroll along a thistle-path,

chuckling all the way to Inversnaid,

ignoring the pests, feeling blessed.


A first long walk, a first bike ride, a first tennis stretch,

and then a sit,

a quiet oak bench,

to think and rest,

under the ‘embracing hills’.


Instead of ‘be strong’ or ‘it will get better’,

they quietly comfort, show they care

by creating a natural breathing space where,


you can relax in the midst

of tumult, reclaim childhood, family fun,

feel looked after, every detail thought of —



I take a deep breath and know

this is open-hearted understanding —

we are not alone.



A lush place —

wispy high-rise golden grasses spreading seeds,

fragile-seeming, bending in the blustery breeze

but they’re not breaking.


A beastie place —

hot sweaty days, clammy nights,

cleggs clutching at your clothes,

flies, tiny moths — spray the smidge, flinch, itch,

swat them away

but they’re not balking.


A wild place —

finches in flying-chaos cheep to berry-laden branches

then skitter-scatter, red squirrels scamper,

masses of honeybees buzz in a clover-frenzy,

pied wagtails dash down full of envy

but they’re still singing.


A tumultuous place —

emotions swelling without a stop,

waves crashing —

‘Is mum weeping again?’ Don’t hide it.

Dad turns pale, takes a deep breath, bruised

but we keep talking.


In this forest full of light —

we’re surfacing, coming back to life.



6:30am, a morning ritual, emerging

to pay homage to quiet, to coffee, to a mercurial landscape

wondering — what will today bring?


Yesterday, it stormed:

raindrops drumming, windows streaming,

mist swirling above the black boiling loch.


But today? I slowly round the corner,

look left through the pane —

Ah! a blushing bright dawn:

soft rays illuminate the grass,

Loch Venachar serene, smooth, like glass

reflecting Ben Ledi, the pine trees, the pink celestial clouds

a perfect mirror, a paradise.


If I could freeze a moment, it would be this —

my children sleeping peacefully,

warmth, beauty, bliss.


We are part of this enchanting natural world but you forget

when living in that man-made hospital-hell —

bags of poison, night wails, incessant jabs, invasive questions…

taking it one day at a time,

or one hour,

or one minute;

head down,



‘how did we get here?’


In this space, in this place, every morning you lift your eyes up and look out —

like the cream-petalled meadowsweet standing proud,

like Ripples, the winged fairy in the flowers, in graceful arabesque, opening herself up to the sky —


Loch Venachar —

a chaotic scene, ever-changing.

A place for reconciling — with splendour comes sorrow.


I will keep rising in the morning, looking out at the shifting spectacle.


The sun is climbing, luminous beams from the east,

brightening somber hills, glimmering across

leaden water, and, although I can’t quite see beyond the bend

in the loch, behind

the clutch of trees,

the water is flowing gently in that direction and for now

I choose to hope, to believe

while still knowing that change is the only thing we can count on

and love.



The water meets the hills and the hills meet the sky,

a sea plane glides in gracefully, a sailboat rights.


A grove of alders hug the shore, seedlings sprouting —

give us strength, courage, peace; cast out the doubting.


Today we amble gaily down the Invertrossachs Road

cherishing each other, taking it easy, and slow.


You’re out in front belting ‘Sunshine on Leith’ like grand opera

having forgotten your thin legs, fuzzy head, pallor.


‘My tears are drying. My tears are drying. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.’ Our world renews.


Little sis bounds from behind and leaps on Dad’s back,

her peat-brown eyes full of giggles, mischief, sass.


Your big sister, arm-in-arm, asks me lots of questions:

‘When you told granny your travel plans, what was her expression?’


A fresh rain’s given way to puddle-splash in the verge,

sodden socks and song: ‘While I’m worth my room on this earth,


I will be with you —’ held for one second, two seconds, three.

We all harmonise the tender melody.


We welcome passing folk, waving cheery hellos,

sharing joy in this nourishing natural tableau —


three beaming lady backpackers, two intrepid

wet-suited swimmers, a bright-eyed wrinkled man lead-

ing a laden donkey, a rush of cyclists —


relishing clean air, dappled sun-streams, cheerful rapport,

while Loch Venachar caresses the jagged shore.


Later, uttering silliness in Grinch-gutteral tones,

our pockets full of warm rosy pebbles, we wander home.


You lead the way down the rocky drive grinning,

open the heavy gate, point out a white shimmering:


hanging from a rowan sapling, a white shining marvel —

you brave a first run to read ‘laugh often, love much, live well’.



Cancer is a fearful Kelpie

lurking under the black loch

waiting to drown our child.


This past year since diagnosis is a terrifying blind stumble

through Coillebhroine, the Wood of


under a waning moon,


by gnarled pine giants,


on distended cracked roots,



Our stay at the retreat is an open iron gate glinting

under a valiant sun,

carved with a rose, a sparrow with wings uplifting,

butterflies, bees, crowned with an audacious flaming thistle

and a magical shooting star. We’ve let ourselves in

by the love-heart latch,

been stirred and strengthened.

It is time to journey on.


The wood-slatted pier is a golden birlinn

carrying the Sun god

as he rouses the weary, stokes the fire within, promises a new day.

Climb on, he says.

The swirling bow will protect you against billowing surge.

Together we will battle the deadly water-horse swimming

under the vessel

who has caused your world to toss and pitch.

You must believe.

It is time to journey on with hope.






Dawson, Karen ‘Love shared, moves not with a stone dropped splash’, a poem seen on a poetry bench in the Ripple Retreat garden, July 2018.


The Proclaimers (1993) ‘Sunshine on Leith’, EMI., ‘Relax and Reflect’, accessed 25 August 2018











Meet our Edinburgh Kiltwalkers – Team Remember Zoe King

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My name is Briony Sharp and this year, along with a group of friends, we are doing the Edinburgh Kiltwalk in memory of our wonderful friend Zoe who sadly lost her battle with soft tissue sarcoma on this day in 2007, 5 days before her 18th birthday. Myself, Rhona, Scott, Amy and Gemma (Team RememberZoeKing) have been putting the in the miles to challenge ourselves and raise money for this cause which is very close to our hearts. It has now been 11 years since we said goodbye to Zoe but she always in our thoughts and very much with us throughout our lives. Training is going well – mostly!! Trying to the get team together for some walks in a challenge in itself but rest assured we will cross that line together thinking of Zoe. Through Zoe we were aware of Lynne and her charity work for young cancer patients in Edinburgh and across Scotland. The wonderful work Lynne and the team do through It’s Good 2 Give is truly inspirational and very much needed for young people and their families. We know Zoe would be really proud to be associated with everything the charity does, most recently the Ripple Retreat opened in 2017 on the banks of Loch Venachar. We feel very lucky to support this charity and it’s work in any way we can and appreciate all the support we have had.
Team RememberZoeKing x