Avril and Allan’s story

Married for over 50 years, for Avril and Allan, coming to Leuchie House is all about being able to enjoy a holiday together as a couple.

With three children aged just 2, 9 and 14 when Avril was diagnosed with MS in 1981, for the past 36 years the couple’s strong bond has helped them deal with the added complexities that living with a long term condition brings to family life.

With little in the way of external support for the first few years after Avril’s diagnosis, the pair got along with the support of family and good friends. Coming from a small close-knit Lancashire village, everyone rallied round to help out.

It wasn’t until 1996, that Avril and Allan started to get support to have respite breaks and a chance to get away from their daily routine and the demands of every day life. However, over the next few years, they found their options for places to go together became fewer and fewer.

Then in 2002, they discovered Leuchie House. Giving them a chance to share time away together, in an area they’ve grown to love, Leuchie has become a regular part of their lives ever since. They now visit twice a year and have built strong friendships with many other guests and staff in that time.

“I know when I arrive I’m going to be well looked after,” says Avril. “That quality of care is the most important thing to me. Wherever I go, I want to know that it’s right. The last thing I want to do is go home ill. But when I come to Leuchie, I’ve got confidence that I’m going to get the care I need. You really can’t fault the staff. They’re all very caring.”

Allan has been his wife’s main carer, both throughout his working life running a farming estate, and over the past 10 years since he retired. For him, coming to Leuchie is a chance to step back from this daily caring role and focus on having a relaxing holiday with Avril. As well as full night’s sleep, and the opportunity to unwind, Leuchie’s famous home cooking is another favourite part of their break away. “We call Margaret, the catering manager, SuperCook!” he says.

They also enjoy the variety of things to do while they’re at Leuchie: “We’re well entertained during the day. There’s always lots going on with plenty of activities, and you can choose whether to get involved or not.”

The local area and Leuchie’s special setting are other major bonuses for the couple. “We’ve always loved coming to Scotland,” says Allan. “We have our own car so we like to go off and visit different places. It’s great to get away and get a change of scenery. We’ve done lots of outings with Leuchie too over the years and would definitely recommend the trips.

“I have to say though, the grounds at Leuchie are so special you really don’t need to go anywhere. We like sitting out on the patio in the sunshine enjoying the beautiful surroundings.”