A SKIPTON based children’s charity has opened its fifth holiday lodge in the Lake District.

The £120,000 lodge, in Windermere, will mean the Principle Trust will be able to send even more underprivileged, disadvantaged and disabled children and their families or carers on free, get away from it all, holidays.

The lodge was officially opened in front of friends and supporters by Peter Squires, ex British Lions and England rugby union player, with Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby.

Working alongside other charities and government bodies mainly in the Yorkshire region, every last penny raised by the Principle Trust goes directly to the children, family and carers it sends on much needed holidays.

Set up by Ilkley man Mike Davies MBE in 2011, the charity has in the last nine years sent more than 2,400 children on holidays they would not normally have had.

The trust has three holiday homes on the Haven holiday park in Blackpool, one at Ribblesdale Park in Gisburn, and now a fifth in Windermere, on the White Cross Bay Park Dean Resort in the Lake District.

It has taken more than 18 months of fundraising and grant applications to raise the £120,000 needed to pay for the lodge.

Fundraising has included running the duck race at Ilkley Carnival, and £15,000 from the Ilkley Business Network.

The new lodge has been adapted for disabled access, paid for in its entirety by the Wooden Spoon charity. The grant of more than £20,000 means it can be used by physically impaired youngsters.

It features a wet room, the installation of sliding doors, to maximize access and a wheel chair ramp up to the raised platform area to the front and side access doors of the cabin.

A fantastic morning was had by all on the opening of the lodge - in between the showers and floods - with many people in attendance from a number of charities who support the Principle Trust, the Wooden Spoon charity, plus the special guest from the world of rugby.

Mr Squires said: “I’m very pleased to perform my first official function with the Wooden Spoon Charity at the wonderful Lake District.

“ I am delighted to return to open such a worthy project, organised by the Principle Trust children’s charity and supported by the Wooden Spoon.

“The chalet looks fantastic both outside and inside, fully equipped and sorted to meet disadvantaged and disabled children, who am sure will benefit hugely from it.”

Mr Davies, founder and trustee of the Principle Trust said:“Our aspiration from the outset was to open a holiday home in the Lake District and we are delighted to open it today on the Park Dean resort in Windermere.

“A stunning setting, surrounding and child centric place we’ve manage to locate and purchase through all the generous donations, fundraising and hard work that the Principle Trust team has put in and all our fantastic donators have provided to assist in keeping the charity growing.

“The final amount of £20,000 that the Wooden Spoon charity donated has allowed a complete refurbishment inside the lodge, making it wheelchair friendly, with a brand new wet room, widened doors and laminate flooring throughout.”

In attendance on the day were two of the Principle Trust’s partners, who select the children for a holiday at the lodges; Diane Watts of Embrace (The Child Victims of Crime), plus Dawn Hutton and Hannah Sheldrake of Holly Bank Trust of Mirfield. Also attending on the day, and representing Wooden Spoon Yorkshire were Stuart Watson, Chairman of Yorkshire Spoon, and John Little and Michael Coghlan from the Yorkshire committee.

Also from the Principle Trust were trustees Clare Campbell and Ann Harding, plus partner and holiday home manager, Tina Marsh.

The extra lodge will allow another 48 families to benefit from a week’s holiday.

The charity says the letters and feedback it receives from those who visit the holiday homes are both humbling and heart-warming, giving the trustees and team the impetus to keep it growing and helping more children and their families.

To donate, volunteer or find out more about the Principle Trust children’s charity, telephone 01756 704782.