By Leah Conway –
Local charity, Ruddi’s Retreat will be visited by Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess Of York to officially open their Slaithwaite store and become their Patron.
Ruddi’s Retreat is a charity, set up in 2011, that supports families with young children suffering from the effects and after-effects of cancer treatment. They help families access holiday homes for free, assisting families in enjoying a fun time and creating special memories with a minimum financial burden. Ruddi’s main source of income is its café in the centre of Slaithwaite which specialises in homemade cakes and afternoon teas.
It 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 over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of the families they support have used the four caravans on the east Yorkshire coast this summer and have lost someone to coronavirus; the vans are now fully booked until late September.
The chairty won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Sevice earlier this year.
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.”
“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.”
Ali added:“It’s all about these families having quality time together – some have been through terrible traumas.”
Ruddi’s Caravan Retreats
Ruddi Retreat’s caravans are on a caravan site in Filey. 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.
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.
Inspired by her own experiences, Ali decided other families should also have that opportunity. Ali set up Ruddi’s Retreat to help others have a much needed break, as many who go there would otherwise struggle to afford a holiday.