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Whiteleys Retreat DIY SOS

Whiteleys Retreat DIY SOS

It’s amazing what can be created with a bit of ingenuity and a few willing helpers. Natasha Marshall, designer and co-founder of Natasha Marshall Ltd. contacted us recently to ask for our help with the opening of an Ayrshire retreat centre for children, young people and their families with cancer and life-altering illnesses.

Whiteleys Farm was purchased to create a sick children’s holiday retreat in response to the recent closure of Malcolm Sargent House, established as part of a holiday service more than 45 years ago for young cancer patients and their families.

Whiteleys Retreat DIY SOS

Once purchased, the new therapeutic holiday centre was in need of a full overhaul before it could offer any help to sick children. This is where CEO (volunteer), Maxine Allen stepped in to manage project ‘DIY SOS’!

A team of volunteers gathered to offer their time to whip Whiteleys Retreat into shape. Builders, decorators, designers and helping hands all teamed together to turn a building site into a fully operational children’s retreat centre.

With the help of subsidised lampshade kits from us at Dannells, Natasha gathered forty volunteers together for a day’s lampshade and cushion making workshop to add the finishing touches to the holiday home.

Whiteleys Retreat DIY SOS

Natasha donated all fabrics to be used for the pelmets, curtains and blinds and our lampshade kits were used in all bedrooms and public areas. Fifteen 45 cm lampshade kits and fifteen 70 cm kits were supplied for what turned out to be a fun-filled day of creative action! Tesco even delivered food and water every week free of charge to the farm to keep the volunteers going!

Whiteleys retreat DIY SOS

For more information on Whiteleys retreat and the great work they do please see their website (currently undergoing construction):


Please get in touch should you and your family wish to stay in one of whiteleys Retreat cottages. Email

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