Princess Anne, who is Royal Patron of the charity, was joined on her visit by Robert Balfour, the Lord-Lieutenant of Fife, as she toured the Clayton Lodge and unveiled a plaque declaring the facility officially open.
The new accessible holiday lodge takes its name from the Clayton Caravan Park, where it is located, in the beautiful Eden Valley – just minutes from St Andrews and the stunning Fife coastline. The charity also operates an adapted holiday chalet near Oban.
The new state-of-the-art disabled-friendly lodge has been specially designed with MND in mind and began welcoming guests in April. The Clayton Lodge aims to provide families affected by MND, and other disabilities, with a chance to take a break from their normal routine and to enjoy a break together.
Due to the physical progression of MND, there are often barriers to families taking a break they may desperately need. That's why the Clayton Lodge has been purpose built to prioritise space and comfort and is fitted with an array of helpful adaptations suitable for people with MND and other disabilities.
The lodge features high-end specialist disability equipment, such as a ceiling tracking hoist, a full wet room with Clos-o-Mat toilet and tilt-in-space shower chair, portable hoist with universal slings, a riser recliner chair, transit wheelchair, widened doors and hallways, and wrap-around external decking and ramps, amongst others.
Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, touched down at former RAF base Leuchars at noon, and soon after she delivered her remarks to specially invited guests at the lodge, many of who are directly affected by MND.
She said: “I think it’s a pleasure to be asked to come today to see what you’ve achieved here. It is already open, I’ve had a report on its success and its popularity, so that’s even better.
“[MND Scotland is] working from some experience, with previous caravan attendance over 14 years, and that’s been really popular and I think that has made the argument for having these facilities, slightly more modernised, using more technology and a little more space, but can cater for families and individuals at whatever stage they want to come and to have a break or holiday – holiday being the key word; but also respite is important. Respite, wherever it is, would be welcome, but when it’s really well set up, as it is here, a lot more can be gained from that experience.
“To officially open Clayton Lodge here for MND Scotland is a pleasure – and I hope many more of you will take advantage of its facilities.”
She quipped: “Although, book early to avoid disappointment because I think it’s already booked up until October.”
Craig Stockton, Chief Executive of MND Scotland, said: “It’s a privilege to welcome Her Royal Highness to St Andrews to officially open MND Scotland’s brand new accessible holiday lodge.
"Motor Neurone Disease is a rapidly progressing and muscle-wasting terminal illness and, as a result, people with MND can lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink, and eventually breathe unaided.
“The pressures on those living with MND, and their family carers, can often be extreme. That’s why we have expanded our accessible holiday service, with this brand new facility, to enable families to take some time out from their normal routines, to take a much-needed break and to create some lasting memories together.
“We’re honoured that Her Royal Highness has taken the time out of her busy schedule to come to St Andrews to tour the Clayton Lodge and to meet those affected by MND.”
The Clayton Lodge is open to all with a disability, or no disability. People affected by MND in Scotland receive a discounted rate and may also be able to access a holiday grant from the charity to remove or significantly reduce the financial burden of taking a break away.
Those interested in booking a stay can do so at: www.mndscotland.org.uk/holidays
Craig Stockton | Chief Executive