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Sandringham hotel charity group disbands following redevelopment delay

A charity which raised tens of thousands of pounds towards the work of a specialist West Norfolk hotel, catering for disabled holidaymakers, has disbanded.

The decision by the Companions of Park House comes amid continuing delays to a major redevelopment of the Sandringham site, which is not expected to re-open until at least late 2021.

The organisation’s remaining funds, worth nearly £40,000, have now been donated to other West Norfolk disabled charities.

Park House Sandringham. (42504858)
Park House Sandringham. (42504858)

The group says the move to dissolve itself came after its trustees all resigned and no volunteers came forward to take their places.

Officials estimate that, in the past eight years alone, the charity’s efforts have raised more than £100,000 towards the work of the hotel, which is owned by Leonard Cheshire Disability.

And the group’s chairman, Phil Davies, this week paid tribute to everyone who has supported their fundraising activities.

He said: “You have helped us make a significant impact on the quality of life for many disabled people, most of whom return to Park House for their only chance of a holiday year after year.”

The site, which has been operating for more than 30 years, after it was bequeathed to Leonard Cheshire by The Queen in 1983, has been closed since January after multi-million pound plans to provide additional guest rooms and facilities were outlined.

Work on the project was suspended in March, because of the coronavirus lockdown and is not currently expected to resume until next spring.

And that means guests are unlikely to return before Christmas of 2021.

The Companions have divided their remaining funds of nearly £38,000 between the Lavender Hill Mob Theatre Company, the Little Discoverers and the West Norfolk Riding for the Disabled Association, with each group receiving £12,725 each.

Les Miles, the Lavender Hill Mob’s chairman, said their donation was vital to help them keep going until their members can go back on stage again.

She said: “In these times of uncertainty, it will go a long way to securing the future of the theatre company.

“Due to the current restrictions put upon us all by the government, we currently find ourselves unable to continue the important work that we have spent the past 20 years in accomplishing.”

Katie Fisher, who chairs the trustees of the Little Discoverers, said the contribution was the largest single donation they have ever received.

She said: “We provide a very much needed service to support vulnerable families and with this kind of financial support we hope to continue to do so for many years to come.”

And Colin Perriss, from the RDA, said the cash given to them would help sustain them through the winter, as well as enabling them to continue work on a new sensory garden at their South Runcton headquarters.

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