Douneside House’s Santa Grotto and Light Trail event raises £7,000 for two North-East charities

Left to Right: Stuart Pittendreigh, Louise Webber, Jamie Aitken, Amelia Howse, Carolanne Duncan, Anthony McKillop) with cheque for £3,500 for each charity

BETWEEN 11th-14th December, a light trail and Santa’s grotto charity event was held at the award-winning country house hotel, Douneside House in Tarland.  The inaugural event sold out within a matter of days, with extra days added to fulfil demand for tickets.  

The path that runs along-side Douneside House’s garden stream and rock pools were illuminated in an array of colours, with lots of festive fun to be found along the route.  Children made their way through the garden to find Santa in his grotto, set amongst a magically lit up vegetable garden.  After meeting Santa, visitors could enjoy hot chocolate and Christmas treats, served in Douneside’s bar, with cosy fires crackling to warm up cold hands! 

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All proceeds from ticket sales and funds raised during the event (including raffle tickets sold on the day) were donated to two well-known northeast charities – Befriend a Child and Gordon Rural Action.

The whole event was planned, co-ordinated and run by a group of dedicated volunteers, who all work at Douneside House and The MacRobert Trust.  Anthony McKillop, who led the volunteer committee said: “As a committee we decided to select Befriend a Child and Gordon Rural Action as our chosen charities for this Christmas event, as both do fantastic work to help families in this area. Some of our volunteer committee members have seen first-hand the work they do, and during this time of year, they need our help more than ever.  We’re absolutely delighted to have raised so much money. The MacRobert Trust, the charitable trust who own and run Douneside House, have covered all the event set up costs, so we’ve managed to donate 100% of all the proceeds to our chosen charities, which is fantastic.” 

The raffle on the day contributed to the funds donated, and the committee were delighted with the generosity of local businesses, who gifted items to support the event.  This included raffle prizes from northeast businesses including: Spar Shop Bellabeg, Top T Toe (Aboyne), Glentanar Equestrian, Village Premier Shop (Tarland), WoodWinters Wines & Whiskies, Royal Lochnagar Whisky Distillery, The Black Faced Sheep (Aboyne), Go View Media, Strong Water Co. (Banchory), Macbeans Coffee and Vouchercart.

Carolanne Duncan, who also works at Douneside and is part of the volunteer committee said: “The committee were delighted with the response from local businesses to our request for raffle prizes. It really shows what great community spirit we have here in Aberdeenshire that everyone pulls together to support charity events. A huge thanks from the committee to all those local businesses that gave so generously”.  

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