Group Captain Jeff Portlock, Station Commander RAF Boulmer has presented a cheque for £780 to staff at Rothbury House.
Situated in the stunning countryside of Northumberland, Rothbury House, funded by the Royal Air Forces Association and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, provides short welfare breaks for the whole RAF Family.
Flight Sergeant Eddie Budd and his colleague Sergeant Carl Beattie (now stationed at RAF Fylingdales) raised £180 during a ‘Dusk till Dawn’ golf match and Eddie and his wife, Flight Sergeant Dona Budd, raised a further £600 at a charity auction held at RAF Boulmer.
“Rothbury House provides an absolutely fantastic home away from home and we were keen to provide some funds to enhance its facilities.”
Following the cheque presentation, Group Captain Portlock and Flight Sergeants Eddie and Dona Budd chatted to several guests over lunch.
Joy Thorburn from Moffat in Scotland comes to Rothbury House four times a year if she can. Joy is a widow of an RAF Sergeant who served as a Coxswain on Air Sea Rescue launches many years ago. She said:
“The minute I feel that I need some rest, I come straight here. The nicest thing is the welcome you get when you arrive. I think it’s a real tonic, and my doctor agrees. You get first class care and it gives me a feeling of security – the staff look after you so well and will do anything for you”.
RAF Boulmer has had a long association with Rothbury House and in the past has provided teams of volunteers to help create and maintain the beautiful grounds which run down to the river. They also provided vital help in recent winters when snow clearing was a problem. Keen to maintain close links, serving members from RAF Boulmer often visit and are happy to chat to guests and listen as they relive their service. It’s a two way learning process with retired members catching up on today’s Royal Air Force and the youngsters of today gaining an insight into the lives of ex-Service men and women, many of whom fought in World War II.
Group Captain Portlock said:
“We are very proud of our relationship with Rothbury House. It is a fantastic facility – I think the best in the country – and I am hugely grateful to Eddie & Dona who have raised this money to make it even better. Everyone who stays here receives first-class care and attention; I regularly meet guests who wish they had discovered it much sooner”.
Situated in the village of Rothbury near Alnwick, overlooking the River Coquet and the Simonside hills beyond, the home can accommodate 34 guests in single or double rooms. All of the guest rooms are en-suite, some located on the ground floor with wheelchair access and all have tea and coffee making facilities, TV and radio. Meals are served in the rather grand dining room and all meals are home cooked by a team of excellent chefs. There is a conservatory overlooking the terraces which lead to the river, a summer house and plenty of seating for warm sunny days.
The large house also has three spacious lounges for TV viewing, listening to the radio and a quiet room for reading and relaxation. There is also a bar on the ground floor, a games table and a library.
Rothbury House has a minibus which was donated by the Royal Air Forces Association and volunteer drivers arrange outings on at least four days each week so that visitors can enjoy the glorious Northumbrian countryside, taking in local places of interest, the coast, castles, shopping centres and markets.
Entertainment is also arranged several evenings a week with quiz nights, slide shows and local musicians visiting, There is also an occasional “Tea on the Terrace”, special commemorative events during Battle of Britain week and Rothbury House guests are always invited to RAF Boulmer’s Christmas party.
For those guests who need help, there are specially adapted rooms with level access showers. Nine beds are registered as Care Beds and a “Care Call” system is installed in every room. Personal care is available for those who need it and guests can borrow electric scooters if required.
Guests travelling to Rothbury House can be met at Newcastle Airport, Newcastle Central Railway station, Alnmouth Railway Station or St James Boulevard Bus Station. With advance notice transport can also be arranged to and from home addresses in the specially adapted minibus.
Ernie Richardson, the Manager of Rothbury House, is keen to encourage families to visit too. He said:
“There is a wealth of recreational activity available within the village and surrounding area, all of which is accessible to our guests. There are tennis courts, access to the village gym, a swimming pool, guests can book a round of golf at Rothbury Golf Club or one the many other great courses in the area and we can arrange fishing on the River Coquet (in season). There is a vast array of walks and cycle rides in the local area and of course the beautiful beaches are not far away”.
Anyone who has served or is currently serving in the Royal Air Force and their immediate dependants (including widows/widowers, sons and daughters) can book a stay at Rothbury House. Contributions towards the cost of a short welfare break will depend on individual means and should be discussed with a welfare officer. Guests who have served/are serving in the Army and the Royal Navy are also welcome to apply. In special circumstances bookings can be taken with a social services referral for an individual who may not have served.
Anyone wishing to book a stay at this marvellous facility can find further details on the website at http://www.homesfromhome.org.uk/ or by ringing Rothbury House on 01669 620235.