The final stages of work at April Cottage in Henshaw are moving nearer to completion, with exterior landscaping work progressing well.

Jessica Robson sadly lost her battle with Sarcoma Cancer at the age of 18 in 2014. Her dream was to raise enough money to build a respite lodge for other families with children with cancer to make lasting happy memories. Use of the lodge and its facilities are free of charge.

Jessica’s parents Julie and Trevor have dedicated their lives to creating a holiday home for children from across the country, and their families. They acquired a small bungalow with three acres of land in Henshaw, Northumberland and built a three-bedroomed holiday lodge, which is fully adapted for various disabilities.

They have invested their life savings into the project and are now finishing the exterior landscaping. With a grant of £25,000 from The Watson Family Charitable Trust, significant work has already been undertaken including:

  • Flattening and seeding land
  • New trees planted around the pond areas
  • Completing a play park, storage shed and BBQ hut
  • Installing a pergola with bar table over the hot tub to offer privacy for guests
  • Constructing a small building on the patio to house laundry facilities
  • Creating a wall, gates, and rockery at the entrance.

Ian Watson, who established the Trust, his son Craig and charity trustee Hugh Welch visited April Cottage to meet Julie to see how the grant is making a tangible difference to the project.

Julie Robson said: “We have put our heart and soul into this project, in Jess’s memory.

“The donation from the Family Trust is just amazing. The wonderful outside area is really coming together, and we were delighted to show it off to Ian, Craig and Hugh.”

Ian Watson said: “Julie and Trevor have put everything into creating this fantastic facility to help families during the most challenging times.

“Craig, Hugh and I were delighted to visit April Cottage once again. The progress that has been made since we last came is excellent and it is a real pleasure to see that families are able to enjoy special times and make lasting memories in this amazing place.