AN award-winning Lake District bed and breakfast owner who was committed to voluntary work has died, aged 50, following a short battle with cancer.

Tributes have been paid to Ambleside mother Vicky McDougall who ran the Elder Grove B&B with her husband Paul.

A life-long volunteer with the Guides movement, as well as a dedicated fundraiser, Mrs McDougall and her husband had also recently achieved a Recognition for Excellence award for their work at the guest house.


Her husband said: “Vicky was a truly wonderful wife, mum, sister and daughter, but most importantly friend to everyone who knew her. Vicky always was quiet and unassuming but quietly got things done.”

Born on December 14 1966 at Helme Chase, Kendal, Mrs McDougall attended Grasmere Primary School from 1971.

Her family enjoyed many holidays at Silecroft in her grandparents’ caravan and it was here that she met her husband, Paul, for the first time in around 1976.

She started at the Lakes School, Troutbeck Bridge, near Windermere, in 1978 and left in 1984 to attend Kendal College to study reception and front office management.

While at the Lakes School, Mrs McDougall became involved in school productions but kept well away from the lime-light sewing costumes.

She joined the Brownies in 1974, and stayed with the movement right through to becoming a Guides leader.

A key part of Mrs McDougall’s life was her passion for skiing, and she learnt to ski in Norway when she was seven.

It was a condition that if Paul was to marry her he had to learn to ski, which he did, but was never able to keep up on the slopes.

Later in life Mrs McDougall also took up open water swimming.

She married Paul in 1990, and in 1999 they bought Elder Grove from her parents. It opened as a bed and breakfast in 2000, and expanded to self-catering eight years later.

Mrs McDougall was very proud of her son Aidan and was particularly proud when he spent three months learning to become a ski instructor.

Sue Gudgeon, who worked with Mrs McDougall in the Girl Guides, said she was 'very much loved throughout the county'. “She was a great friend whose kindness and generosity shone out everywhere she went, we will miss her very much," she added.

Mrs McDougall served as a leader with Ambleside Brownies and Rainbows, and was the Cumbria South’s Rainbow adviser from 2004 to 2009.

She was also county secretary, beginning in 2014, and helped organise the annual gathering and presentation evenings.

She was awarded a County Thanks Badge and also gained her 30 year long service award in 2015.

As well as all of these roles Mrs McDougall was Division Commissioner in the Lakes Division 2009-13. Last year she also reached the £10,000 mark for fundraising for conservation charity Nurture Lakeland.

A collection is being made via funeral directors Edmondson Longmire for St Mary’s Hospice, Ulverston, and Macmillan in her memory.