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Holiday Apartment - Isle of Bute

John Paul Retreats logoJohn Paul Retreats is a charity which welcomes bereaved families.

John Paul Retreats was set up to help parents and siblings trying to cope with the loss of loved ones, either through death or other unforeseen tragedy. It was founded by Anthony McMahon, who lost his brother, John Paul, in a car crash in 1984 when he was a young boy. Anthony has made this peaceful Retreat apartment available free of charge to bereaved parents throughout the UK. He writes:

I just want to offer something to people who have suffered like us…I hope that many get time to take a break at the Retreat, as they continue to deal with the loss that never leaves you.”

For more information about John Paul’s Retreat visit the John Paul Retreats website.

Please note that The Compassionate Friends can take no responsibility or guarantee the quality of the accommodation at John Paul Retreats.

See pictures of John Paul Retreats.


I lost my beloved son Harry, aged just sixteen, 14 months ago. Iactually felt I would die too with the pain. Since that day, I have become a different person. Anxious, distressed and staying home or very close to home.

I had seen a programme on The Isle of Bute and thought it was somewhere I would like to visit one day. Ironically, that same week the retreat was advertised in the TCF magazine. I felt it was a sign! I emailed Anthony who was wonderful, so kind and booked to go. The night before, I cried and cried not sure I should be away from home. However, as soon as we arrived, I felt a peace that I hadn't felt in 14 months. The flat is warm and has all the

facilities you need for a great base. We were blessed with nice weather and explored the island each day. There are some fabulous views and scenery. Nice places to eat out. And places of interest to visit. The tranquillity of Bute allowed me to be able to grieve for my beloved boy but at the same time relax a little. As I said earlier, something I hadn't been able to do, or allow myself to do for so long. I would encourage anyone to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity that Anthony is so kindly offering to help bereaved parents

Julie Walford, Harry's Mum, always.

April 2016

I have been a member of The Compassionate Friends since 2000,

after I lost my beloved son Colin just two days after his 18th birthday from SADS. Colin just simply went to sleep and never woke up. The pain of losing a child is unbearable and something we will never come to terms with but he has left me with such happy memories of which bring me comfort in my darkest hours, as all bereaved parents will understand.

In the last edition of TCF I saw an article for a retreat on the ISLE OF BUTE and I felt it was something we needed after a long winter and the joyous hype of Christmas a time I still find hard to deal with.

We love Scotland and since my husband is from Scotland we thought it would be an ideal. It was new ground for us both as neither of us had been to Bute before and we were not disappointed.

When we arrived after a lovely ferry journey taking in the great views, we were met by Anthony McMahon the founder of John Paul Retreats, we shared our stories of my much loved son Colin and his beloved brother John Paul, the circumstances we met are very sad but glad they brought us together.

The apartment is very clean, comfortable and very well equipped withall the necessary items needed for our stay. We were overwhelmed by Anthony 's kindness in allowing us to spend time there and only asking for a small donation to help with running costs. It does restore your faith in human nature. We felt it was such a lovely tribute to John Paul and what a tribute to his brother's memory as keeping their memory alive is what is so important to us all.

The apartment is only a two-minute walk from the sea front and is next door to a well-stocked mini market and post office for all your daily needs. We explored all of the island and found some very interesting places. From the hustle and bustle of Rothesay with many shops and lots of places to eat, also the castle at Rothesay was very interesting to visit. It is only a short drive to the most secluded sedate bays all of which have something special to offer from Kingarth with beautiful views and good walks as well as a hotel serving good food. Scalspie bay is where the seal colony is and again lovely views and walks and the beautiful Ettrick Bay to name but a few. It was so lovely to go for a long walk or just sit and reflect in peaceful surrounding, we took our little dog which made the walks extra special.

We cannot thank Anthony enough for his kindness and generosity offering us this place of peace and tranquility, it was exactly what we needed after a long miserable winter. We came home feeling relaxed refreshed and ready to carry on our journey of grief, feeling a little stronger and more able to cope. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes some time away from the trials of everyday life.

Angela Grant and Milo Morris

April 2016

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Each year thousands of parents suffer the loss of a son or a daughter. Please help us to support families in their time of greatest need.

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