06 Jun 2017

The Ripple Retreat, STEP’s Charity of the Year, is now open!

We’re delighted that the Ripple Retreat has now officially opened. The retreat, designed for children suffering from cancer, was officially declared open in May by Lorraine Kelly. 

The Daily Record featured this story, by Gareth Iwan Jones, last week:

A new facility for children suffering from cancer and their families opened earlier this month on the shores of Loch Venachar.

Daytime television star Lorraine Kelly performed the opening ceremony at the £1 million Ripple Retreat.

The building with its striking wave-shaped roof has three bedrooms and will be used to give those suffering from the disease a well-earned break.

Lynne McNicoll, founder of the charity It’s Good 2 Give , has raised over £2 million in donations while working with her husband, Ian, who has project-managed the 18-month construction of the complex near Callander.

As she cut the ribbon, Lorraine said she was impressed by the facility. “It’s absolutely beautiful,” she said. “There is a real story to it all as well. I’m absolutely delighted to be here and to declare the Ripple Retreat open.”

Joining Lorraine for the opening ceremony were presenter Grant Stott and former Rangers owner Sir David Murray.

“I just look at this building and I am blown away,” said Lynne, who had to take a break from the project in 2015 when she faced a breast cancer fight.

“Seven years ago we had this dream of building a retreat for young cancer patients. And yes it has been a long project, with lots of very hard work, but it is very rewarding when people can come and see what we have built.”

The designer house is modern and sleek with all the comforts of home including toys, books, games and activities.

The house also benefits from fishing rights on the loch, is next to a national cycle path and is 10 minutes by car from Callander.

Also at the launch were Tabitha Lawson,12, a former cancer patient who received support from the charity at the age of six; Alfie Byrne, 7, whose sister died from cancer, and Kira Noble, 13, who are all now active young ambassadors for It’s Good 2 Give.

Businesses who have supported the project include John Dennis Construction, Cundall, Harley Haddow, Kitchens International, James Morrow, Walker Group, Spifox and KDMedia.

And the project would not have been possible were it not for David Ferguson and his family. After hearing about the Ripple Retreat project, David decided to give up land at the stunning site by his home.

“We wanted to build something for charity as well, but we didn’t know how we could do it,” he told the Observer.

“I contacted Alycia Hayes, who was a councillor at the time, and she advised me that if we wanted to build something here, it would have to be really special. A few days later I got a call from my brother-in-law and he told me about a charity that was looking for land. It all went from there really.”

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford was among those who attended the opening, and said that the loch was the perfect setting for the centre.

“I am hugely proud that the Ripple Retreat have chosen Loch Venachar as their location,” he said.

“I first saw the designs three years ago and I was blown away at that stage but the reality is even better.”

To donate to the Ripple Retreat, please visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/RippleRetreat