Sarah, The Duchess Of York is to visit Ruddi’s Retreat in Huddersfield to officially open their Slaithwaite store and become their Patron.
Ruddi’s main source of income is its café in the centre of Slaithwaite which specialises in homemade cakes and afternoon teas.
Ruddi’s founder Ali Waterworth says: “We are absolutely delighted and honoured that the charity’s work has been recognised by royalty. Sarah, The Duchess of York is familiar to the charity and has been in close contact with us since her last visit 3 years ago.”
Since Ruddi’s Retreat was set up in June 2011 the charity has provided free holidays to about 700 families. Around 80% of them are from the Huddersfield area but the charity also helps families nationwide.
The charity has seen a big increase in demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic with many families using the four caravans on the east Yorkshire coast this summer who have lost someone to coronavirus. The vans are now fully booked until late September which shows the service we provide is very much needed.
Ali said: “We’ve had so many applications from people who have lost a loved one – usually a parent – to Covid. It’s just so heart-breaking. This pandemic has caused such sadness within our community.”
The caravans are on the five-star Primrose Valley Haven caravan site at Filey and one of them, which is fully adapted for wheelchair use, was bought in October 2019 by the Huddersfield Town Pedal 4 Pounds fundraising cycle marathon.
Ali said: “It’s all about these families having quality time together – some have been through terrible traumas.”
One family who went to the caravan last August after losing a child to cancer when she was just six wrote: “Ruddi’s Retreat gave us some much needed time away, finding our feet as a family of four instead of five. It was emotional and we missed her so much but it was so lovely to see her sister and brother having fun which they really deserved after a heart-breaking couple of years.”
The charity is called Ruddi’s Retreat because Ali’s son, Ruddi, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when he was just six months old.
During the two years Ruddi battled through intensive treatment, including chemotherapy, the children’s cancer charity Candlelighters gave Ruddi and his family a week’s holiday at Primrose Valley Caravan Park in Filey.
Ruddi took his first steps there and it gave his family the chance to spend some special time together.
Ali decided other families should also have that opportunity so she set up Ruddi’s Retreat which meant others could go to the caravan park for a badly needed break. Many who go there would otherwise struggle to afford a holiday.
For more on Ruddi’s Retreat go to https://www.ruddisretreat.org/