Huddersfield charity Ruddi's Retreat receives royal approval from Sarah, The Duchess of York for helping more than 700 families with seriously ill children

A Huddersfield-based charity which has provided free holidays to 700 families with seriously ill children across the country has received royal approval from Sarah, The Duchess of York.

The Duchess visited Ruddi’s Retreat in Huddersfield yesterday to officially open their Slaithwaite store and become their Patron.

The charity was set up in June 2011 and named after founder Ali Waterworth’s son Ruddi, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when he was just six months old.

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During the two years that Ruddi battled through intensive treatment, including chemotherapy, the children’s cancer charity Candlelighters gave him and his family a week’s holiday at Primrose Valley Caravan Park in Filey.

Sarah Ferguson The Duchess of York pictured with Ruddi Waterworth-Jones during her visit to Ruddi's Retreat, Slaithwaite. Sarah has become Patron of the Slaithwaite store.

It was there he took his first steps, giving his family the chance to spend some time together.

Following this, and Rudi’s remission, Mrs Waterworth decided other families should also have that opportunity, and she set up Ruddi’s Retreat.

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Ruddi’s main source of income is its café in the centre of Slaithwaite which specialises in homemade cakes and afternoon teas.

Mrs Waterworth said: “We are absolutely delighted and honoured that the charity’s work has been recognised by royalty. Sarah, The Duchess of York is familiar to the charity and has been in close contact with us since her last visit three years ago.

“The charity has seen a big increase in demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic with many families using the four caravans on the East Yorkshire coast this summer who have lost someone to coronavirus.

"The vans are now fully booked until late September which shows the service we provide is very much needed.”