‘Awesome’ and ‘amazing’ were just two of the descriptions by visitors to the TCCL Lodge house in St Andrews at the weekend.
Following a £500,000 fundraising campaign to buy a property and turn it into a holiday home for local children with cancer and their families, TCCL (Tayside Children with Cancer and Leukaemia) threw open the doors of the house in Horseleys Park to let supporters and the wider community see the house for themselves.
The four-bedroom house, which will give 50 families a year a week’s free accommodation, was bought at Christmas time last year and since then has undergone a major transformation.
Families from across north east Fife and the East Neuk, Perth and Kinross, Tayside and Angus, will be referred through Ninewells Hospital as well as other charities working with families affected by cancer.
Dr Rosalie Wilkie, TCCL Lodge’s chairman, said she was delighted by the numbers of local people who turned up over the weekend.
“We were very pleased to see so many people from a cross section of the St Andrews and wider north east Fife community as well as people from Dundee and the other areas we cover.
“So many people said they were amazed at what’s been done. Visitors were also able to get more information about the charity and the work it does. We were also very lucky to have some new offers of support including the chance for us to give our families passes to Craigtoun Park from the Friends group, which I know they will really appreciate.
“This follows on from very kind offers of access to the Botanic Garden and other attractions in the town.
“All of these things will help ensure that the families who stay here have a truly wonderful time together without worrying about the cost.”
Dr Wilkie added: “We were very fortunate to receive a fantastic buffet donated by the new M&S Simply Food store in St Andrews as well as a supply of Irn Bru and biscuits from Tunnocks so we could treat our guests.
“The support shown by businesses across north east Fife has been fantastic and we hope this will continue.”
Amongst those visiting on Saturday was the charity’s patron, newsreader Andrea Brymer, who said: “I am completely blown away by this perfect place! The amount of work and love which has gone into it is astounding and so clear to see at every turn.
“I have no doubt that the families which use it will love it and make many, many happy memories. Huge congratulations to all at TCCL for making the dream a reality.”
Jordan Laing, of Ceres, who visited with mum Norma Hopkins, said: “As a cancer patient in remission, I think the house is absolutely beautiful and many families will thrive with this house. I absolutely love it.”
Cupar dads Chris Wroniecki and Darren Liddle, who recently returned from walking the Great Wall of China to raise funds for TCCL Lodge and Castlehill PS in Cupar, said seeing the house really brought home the significance of their fundraising.
St Andrews woman Marysia Denyer said: “What a fantastic place! Well done to all the people who made this project a reality! As a haven for respite for families with children going through a cancer diagnosis and its subsequent treatment, this home is just wonderful.”
Morrison’s supermarket has also given a great deal of support. The store’s community champion Sue Woodock said: “It’s super; absolutely amazing and will be a great asset for families.”
Isobel Hill, manager of the Caring for Cupar community shop, which has supported TCCL Lodge with various fundraising events, said: “The house will be a great asset to the area and we will be delighted to continue supporting such a worthwhile cause.”