There was much disappointment amongst the veterans and their carers when we had to postpone our respite breaks in Majorca and Maison 10 at short notice. But as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining and this one was in the form of the Rayner family, who happen to own the beautiful Ashcombe Estate in Devon with the Ashcombe Activity Centre.
They have 20 cottages on site, and very kindly and generously loaned us the use of 3 cottages over 2 weeks. 3 couples were in 2 cottages and the workers – I was accompanied by our wonderful volunteers, Johnnie, Dale, and Glenn – in another close by
There was lots of fun and competitiveness as the week wore on as we pitched each cottage against the other with games of ladder ball, quoits, skittles, quizzes, the bean bag toss, clay shooting and archery. A great hit on the last day was the Activator Puzzles in the woods. I was so impressed that every one of our guests took part, they simply would not be beaten!
Again we have received great feedback from our beneficiaries, one in particular though, from former Royal Marine, Fraser stands out.
Here is what Fraser said about his time with us. “This welcome opportunity has helped me enormously with socialising in a safe and comfortable environment without judgement. The Not Forgotten Charity have been extremely accommodating and helpful in all areas from the process through to the event making it a completely non-stressful period of recuperation.
“This week has helped get me out of my shell. I have gained confidence in social interaction and being supportive of others. This has also been a welcome break for Mary my wife who has had to endure over a year of isolation due to my illness.
“It has been clear to see that all the couples benefitted from this experience which I have no doubt has helped all of us with our journeys. This has been the most positive experience which I will build upon as my recovery continues”
Such has been the success of these two weeks, we are returning in mid-November for another break, this time with individual veterans and hopefully in the early part of 2021 too.