Holiday accommodation venue North Shire at Liverton near Saltburn has raised over £12,000 for charities by harnessing the enduring popularity of Harry Potter.
Business entrepreneur and North Shire owner Carol Cavendish is a patron of Tusk.org, a small African wildlife conservation charity which is also supported by HRH the Duke of Cambridge and explorer Levison Wood. During 2020 the charity recorded a devastating increase in poaching as tourism to Africa dwindled as a result of the pandemic.
Last September, after opening the Northshire dormitory which is modelled on the Gryffindor dormitory in the Harry Potter novels, Carol was inundated with enquiries from people itching to book the new accommodation even up to a year in advance.
She decided to turn the pent-up demand into a fundraising opportunity for the charity by holding a competition offering £2 tickets with the chance of winning a three-night stay for up to six people in the dormitory and a luxury champagne hamper on arrival.
After receiving a huge number of entries, Carol was able to donate £10,000 to Tusk.org, which like other small charities had been badly hit by the pandemic after fundraising activities were curtailed.
The lucky winner, Rhia Edwards from Derby, will be able to book her winning stay anytime during 2021 once the Covid-19 restrictions lift.
North Shire has also raised more than £2,000 for the NHS in a separate competition where couples could win a wedding day including the use of the Enchanted Barn as the function room and the Harry Potter-themed accommodation. The venue also helped support the Ronald McDonald charity enabling families to live close by when their child is in hospital, by donating a stay in the Northshire dormitory as an auction prize.
Carol comments: “Like all tourism-dependent venues in the UK we’ve been impacted by the pandemic but such is the enduring power of Harry Potter that it presented us with an opportunity to make good the demand we were seeing for our own accommodation to help charities. I met Levison Wood during a Nepal trip earlier last year and he inspired me to support Tusk.org at a time when the charity’s conservation work was beginning to unravel.
“Even as a child I was always a massive fan of conservation and wildlife so it is really gratifying to see us raise a significant amount for such a worthwhile charity. Lockdown is a time when people can support struggling charities by coming up with fundraising ideas.”