Golden Grove mansion abandoned as forces retreat

"Ambitious" plans to develop a Carmarthenshire mansion as an armed forces' convalescent home and treatment centre have been dropped.

The Healing The Wounds charity had been trying to raise more than £2m to buy Golden Grove mansion near Llandeilo.

But the mansion has deteriorated and the money needed to renovate it would be "astronomical", said executive director Kevin Richards.

The appeal was launched in December 2009 and has raised £120,000 so far.

Mr Richards, a former Royal Regiment of Wales combat medic, said: "Sadly, we now have to admit defeat on the Golden Grove front, but all our fund-raisers and supporters can be assured we are still working towards our aim of finding a suitable location for a convalescent home and treatment facility.

"The original idea to develop Golden Grove was ambitious, but we genuinely thought the site would have been ideal for the project.

"As it is, more than a year has gone by since the charity's launch and the condition of the mansion has deteriorated still further - up to the point where it is now no longer viable for the project.

Mr Richards said it was "very sad news" but the private owners of the mansion, which is set in the grounds of Gelli Aur Country Park, were now aware of the decision.

He said the charity was still "working tirelessly" to find another suitable location.

"We know that we don't have sole ownership of the ideas on this search and we would appreciate any suggestions about suitable buildings from charity supporters."

The long-term appeal to open the first armed forces retreat in Wales was backed by the Union of Welsh Independent Churches.

The launch in December 2009 was attended by combat veterans, assembly members and county councillors.

'Very humbling'

It also had support from a number of armed forces charities.

Despite the setback, Mr Richards insisted that the project itself was not a "dead duck".

"We have raised more than £120,000 over the last 12 months and we are already working to make sure that money is spent on people who need treatment for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

The charity has been able to send people on treatment courses for PTSD, he said.

"Our aim remains what it was at the outset - to make sure that people who deserve it receive the best possible care. And, of course, we want those people to receive that care in Wales."

Mr Richards said the charity's fundraising had expanded to all four corners of Wales and had also included many overseas donations.

"It is very humbling to see the contributions made by the people of Wales," he said.

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