Living Tree News 31
Dear Living Tree members and friends,

A warm welcome to our February Newsletter!

After two years of milder temperatures, at least we were treated to snow as January drew to a close! Some of our members share some of their snowy photos this month. We’d like to feature your best photos each month of the local area as Spring unfolds. Please send them directly to the editor using the link. We launch with this lovely shot (above) of socially distanced Highland cattle in the snow, taken by Rose.

We have now appointed a new Trustee, but we are still looking for 2 more new Trustees. Please scroll down for more details.

The Living Tree is still unable to host any in-person events for the foreseeable future. Social distancing can cause feelings of isolation so it is very important we keep in touch with each other by whatever means we can. We want to re-assure members that we are still very much here, and to encourage any members who are lonely and isolating to email us or phone us on 07341 916976 if they would like a Telephone Buddy.

Our online Tea  & Chat meetings will continue, using Zoom, which take place fortnightly on Friday afternoons at 2pm. These meetings give participants the chance to ‘meet’ other members, to take part in creative activities, to listen to speakers on a variety of topics, to join in with a 10 minute gentle exercise routine, and to catch up with each other’s news and concerns. We also offer the opportunity for one to one meetings in a virtual side room should anyone feel a need for a more personal talk with  another member. We are also currently hosting fortnightly mindfulness sessions by Zoom on the other two Fridays of the month.

We shall continue to post our monthly newsletter by email to everyone on our mailing list which includes information on local support services. Please encourage people to sign up via the Get Our Newsletter box at top right on the website homepage:  Hard copies of the newsletter are also available on request for those without internet access.

Once the national restrictions are eased, members will be able to participate in our allotment project. As well as the pleasure of growing vegetables, the project offers the opportunity for mutual support, for forging new friendships and for reducing feelings of isolation in a safe environment.


Please email us at to let us know if you would like to join any of the Living Tree Zoom Drop-In sessions this month, and we will email you the link and password to enable you to participate. We will only send you the link if you request it.

Here are the details of our Living Tree meetings this month.

Zoom Meetings

Friday 5th February 2-4pm

Cancer Coach Dianne Dowling

Dianne Dowling is one of the therapists in the Living Tree Therapist Partnership and will be giving us a talk about her work as a ‘Cancer Coach’.  Dianne works with people who are living and working with a cancer diagnosis, helping them to come to terms with the changes the diagnosis of and treatment for cancer may bring and supporting those people to find their way back to work or choosing another career option.

Friday 19th February 2-4pm

The Word Forest

Tracey West will be talking about the Charity she has created which plants trees in Kenya and the UK called The Word Forest. She will also tell us about how the pandemic has affected the Kenyan tree planting women. The website will give you more information where you can also watch a short film called ‘Trees are the Key’, narrated by Kate Winslet which showcases their work.

Appointment of New Trustee and New Trustees Required

The  Living Tree Trustees are very pleased to tell you that Diane Stanley has been appointed to our board of trustees. Diane has been a Living Tree member for a number of years, is a local GP and is well known to many of our regular members. She brings a wealth of professional and personal experience to the role and we are very much looking forward to working with her.

The Trustees are very grateful to Diane for volunteering to take on this role and are still hoping to recruit 2 more volunteers to join our Board, to continue overseeing the work of The Living Tree. It would be useful if potential applicants had relevant experience of a previous administrative role, or skills in supporting anyone going through a crisis or illness.

If you think you can offer your time, empathy & organisational skills, we would be keen to hear from you – either by personally approaching any of the Trustees, or email us on

The Board will consider each potential applicant confidentially with an informal initial conversation, followed by a more formal “interview”.

It would be as much a chance for us to find new enthusiastic people, as for you to check whether you would enjoy being part of our dedicated team!

From The Living Tree Board of Trustees:

Jo Millar (Chair), Rita Bechervaise (Deputy Chair), Vince O’Farrell (Treasurer), Mecki Testroet, Peter Green, Sherry Porter, Alison Boyland 

Your Photos

Send your photos to the editor for next month’s newsletter.
Have you visited our website?
You’ll find latest news, featured posts, the Library booklist and more.

Sherry is posting daily on The Living Tree Facebook page, with useful information and uplifting responses to the current situation.

Our Allotment

We have progress at the allotment and now have a shed. We’d like to say thank you to Monty for constructing the shed base, and to Blair and Jo Millar for the poshest composts on site! We have been very touched by the community support for the project. This month we will be filling the raised beds and painting the new shed, if anyone would like to join in (safely at a distance) If it ever stops raining.

You may recall last month we shared that a local gardening celebrity had agreed to meet us and help us create our new allotment. This month we are very delighted to reveal that our helper is Charlie McCormick.  We met with Charlie who was enthusiastic about the plans for the allotment and who has offered to “dig in” and help as well as support us in spreading the awareness of this Living Tree project. He has also offered us some of his prized dahlias.

Charlie McCormick gardens 
in West Dorset, and writes on gardening for House & Garden magazine and others, as well as appearing on BBC Gardeners’ World.

 Read his light-hearted advice on how to grow giant veg – and perhaps you can help The Living Tree win best in the Melplash Show!

Alison Boyland

This beautiful collection of writing and artwork (excerpt above) produced by members of The Living Tree is now over 50% off. It is available to buy for just £5 at Good Books on Gundry Lane, The Book Shop on South Street, and also the Tourist Information Centre in Bridport. Also available at Serendipity Book Shop, Lyme Regis and Archway Book Shop, Axminster. All proceeds go to the Living Tree.

Feedback from the LYLAC workshop:

“Listening to other’s stories and experiences helped me to understand that I’m not the only one struggling at times, and that it’s normal how I feel at the moment.”

“Having a goal will help me to focus and I feel a lot more confident and energised after the workshop to go forward with my goal.”

“I wasn’t sure what it was all about and what I was letting myself into, but that lack of knowledge and confidence soon changed as Isabel and Dr. Jo began to talk to us and then set out the course at a pace one could follow easily. I do not read very fast so this was important to me. It amazed me how stuck I was, and the handouts provided a way to more freedom to think positive, to move on and pursue the goals I have had for a long time. At last free to a great extent from my Inertia. A brilliant workshop, thank you so much!”


Friday 12th February 2pm

Friday 26th February 2pm

Mindfulness sessions will run on Zoom.
Please email for the Zoom links. A message about loving kindness and self-compassion – from our regular mindfulness teacher Sue Howse – is included in full at the end of this newsletter.

Waulking Song 

by Eve Appleton

Her hair so long and golden, wrapped nets around the spindle,
ascending to the gallows
Singing her waulking song and nowhere else could hear what yearned to be sung.

A song to keep her spinning and all she spun would mourn the turning,
Of the morning that once lay her tired head in this planted garden long.

Her voice so gentle to the birds, and her songs that stare quietly,
kept the screaming terns away.

And now she bleeds her fair lips of May.
Beneath the bed that seeps from the waters deep of the river,
that stilled at her silence.

As she turned, her dress paled to a flaxen blue, by the flower of the grain
It caught glimpses of the sun-trapped idled call of waiting

Waiting for the marriage bed; of the land and the water as one, for it to run, a little farther-
“Here she comes! Here she comes!”:

The river bride came home to wed,
veiled in swindled silk of white and gold and red.

Eve is a student singer/songwriter who came to our Zoom Tea & Chat meeting shortly before Christmas. She sang some beautiful songs which participants really enjoyed. Please visit her website:

What’s On

New digital support group for bowel cancer patients

Chat Together is a free online support group for people living with and beyond bowel cancer.  It’s a welcoming place to talk to other with bowel cancer and to meet new people.  It’s a chance to share experiences in a safe, supportive and informal environment.

Chat Together is a chance for you to virtually get together and support each other from the comfort of your own homes at this time of isolation.  You just need a smartphone, tablet or computer with an internet connection and somewhere quiet to sit.

Click to get more information – Chat Together

It has been great to see so many of you at Stepping Out classes. Richard and Jo are running classes on Zoom on Monday and Friday mornings for Stepping Out participants.  Please contact Jo on if you usually attend Stepping Out and haven’t already received the information about joining the classes.

Stepping Out has been the lucky choice of Bridport Co-op as one of their Community Fund recipients. Read more on the Co-op fund raising page for Stepping Out and find out how much money has already been raised:

We realise there are many worthy causes to donate to, however if you shop in the Co-op but don’t have a Co-op card, please do consider applying for one and nominating Stepping Out as your choice.

Friday meetings always start with Tripudio, a daily 15 minute lymphatic and cardiovascular exercise regime which can be done in your home, patio or the smallest garden. Karen Forrester-Jones is also offering online 30 minute Tripudio Flow sessions via Zoom. If Living Tree members are interested contact Karen at for timings and links to the sessions.

In these long days of lock down Macmillan would like to remind you of the support they can provide to anyone affected by cancer, please share with your contacts and groups:


The trustees would like to extend the Telephone Support Service to include one to one, face to face contacts for anyone who feels they would like some company occasionally, especially those who may just be coming out of isolation/quarantine or who may be new to LT. These ‘meet ups’ would be socially distanced and outside for now to make them as safe as possible. If you would like to volunteer to be such a contact or would like to meet up with somebody from Living Tree, please email Rosemary with your phone number at or phone and leave a message on 07341 916976 with your name and phone number and we will get back to you.
A new advice line has been established because we are all relying much more on online technology to keep in touch (like ZOOM).  It is available to provide support for people with IT and digital problems of all kinds. Some of their most popular topics are how to set up video to stay in contact with friends and family and how to get online for beginners.  Telephone 01305 221000 (option 2).

The most up to date national information on COVID-19 is:  and for health information


I have a selection of books from the Living Tree Library that are available to loan to members.

They cover topics such as nutrition, cookery, complementary therapies and cancer specific books. Click here to view the latest list:

If you would like to borrow any Living Tree books, please contact me, Rose Thorpe, on

and I will get back to you with some suggestions and details of how to borrow them.

The three therapists in Partnership with The Living Tree listed below are able to offer their services by telephone, email or Zoom:

If you feel you would like to use these therapists during this period via the Therapist Partnership please leave a message for Rita on the Living Tree phone 07341 916976 or email:  If you would prefer to see these therapists privately and are able to self-fund your therapy then please contact them directly using the contact details above.

Hopeful Hampers & Good Neighbours Transport. Good Neighbours are offering transport for LT members to Dorset County Hospital for essential appointments. Phone and leave a message on the Good Books answerphone 01308 420483 and someone will call you back.
With Jane Silver-Corren. Jane is running 3 singing sessions a week on Zoom on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3.00pm. The sessions last one hour and are fun and light-hearted. If you are interested please email: and she will send you the Zoom link.
If you have concerns about medical issues concerning your cancer or treatment Macmillan has a number of useful resources and virtual support  Please note that any urgent issues should still be referred to your Clinical Nurse Specialist.

The Penny Brohn UK Centre provides online resources, including a series of free online classes from international leaders in health, wellbeing, psychology and lifestyle.  They are also running a Helpline 0303 300 0118 and some 1:1 services.  Contact

  • AXMINSTER AND LYME CANCER SUPPORT have a beach hut at Lyme.
Please contact these groups directly to find out about other kinds of support available.


This will take place on April 18th at the Arts Centre from 3pm in aid of Harmony and the Bridport Food Bank. Tickets will be available from the TIC and the music shop – date to be confirmed.

in aid of the Weldmar Hospice have been postponed until Sunday 11th April. It will be held at The Ropemakers with viewing from 6pm followed by Auction and Raffle at 7pm. Thank you, Roz Copson.
Donations to Roz (01308 422650) or Nigel (01308 281203).


Hi all,  Please see below the updated selection of fabrics for my masks. Masks are still £5 each and come in 2 sizes: S/M and L. I will still be donating £1 from each to The Weldmar Hospice. Most fabrics are 100% cotton but one or two are polycotton. As well as the patterned fabrics, I have plains in black, grey, light blue, mid blue, pale pink, mid pink, red. Please email me with your order at Payment by BACS or cash. Thank you for your support. Love Chris.


Dear  All

I was recently listening to Willem Kuyken of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, who was speaking about values, mindfulness and kindness “Love in the time Covid-19”. He was asking how our values may have changed  in this challenging year.

It is interesting to reflect on this interesting question: ‘What have you valued in these times?”  For me, it has been having space to explore new walks on my doorstep, gratitude for the ways in which family, friends and our local community have reached out to help and connect with one-another, and learning how to be creative with zoom.

It is an interesting practice, in difficult moments, to notice something, however small, that has gladdened the mind and heart and has brought a smile.

This ability can become a powerful resource for us; noticing and savouring  whatever sustains and nourishes us, every moment is a mixture of pleasant, unpleasant and neutral.  But when the brain is stressed, it is wired to reject the idea that something good or pleasant must be in the mix, and very often we give up looking before we even try.

By finding a safe haven for the mind, something in the moment that doesn’t bring distress when we rest our attention there.

Perhaps sunshine, birdsong, or a steady clock – the warmth of our hands placed on the heart – whatever it is, we can find and rest our attention there.  Each time that the mind wanders, come back to what is most pleasant and breathe it in.

We do not have to be prisoners to our thoughts, we can find a kinder way to respond.

“As life presents annoyances, disagreeable experiences, it can be a bold and creative challenge to meet these  experiences with kindness and interest rather than a built-up stockpile of resentment,

This isn’t to imply that we should be passive or complacent, or that we should sit around doing nothing to try to make things better. Rather, developing more kindness is a radical approach to help us deal more skilfully with conditions we may not be able to change, things that can weight on us, distracts, or quite thoroughly ruin our day. This new sense of meeting the moment might actually open us to different, more creative ways of  trying to communicate or working to have an impact on a situation that has previously proved intractable.

At times we get fixated on what is unpleasant, and we lose the sense that there might be other ways for looking at the same situation.  Yet we can step outside the box of our habitual reactions, have fun with our minds, and greet what is happening with greater kindness.” This poem I heard recently and made me smile.”


  • Scratch
  • At any point in your day, unapologetically take a bath
  • If someone pets you wrong, bite them
  • Make it a hobby to climb higher
  • If you need something and it requires help, communicate
  • Find the light irresistible
  • Maintain control of your claws
  • Greet people, it lets them know you missed them
  • Breathe with your whole body
  • It’s more fun to follow your instincts
  • Even assassins take naps
  • Find all the warm places that are also soft places and make them your favourite places
  • Be relatively tidy about your sh*t
  • Try not to scratch the people you love
  • Eat breakfast before following commands
  • Exploring might lead to falling
  • Anyway, most falls won’t kill you
  • Seriously, sleep
  • Hold others and be held.

Christy Eriksen

I do hope that Spring will bring a space for us to meet again at Othona. In the meantime, keep in touch – I do enjoy hearing from you, and weave kindness through these winter months to yourself and others

Much Love


Mindfulness Resources for Covid-19

·         Mindfulness Network –

Offers a range of free sitting groups each week that I find really supportive.

·          The Oxford Mindfulness Centre – OMC –

OMC has a sitting group each Wednesday evening from 7-8pm that is well worth attending. It is inspiring to practise with a group of well over 200 people from across the world

·         Gaia House – Please look at this site for online sitting groups and retreats.

Tel 07341 916976. Contact with any mailing list enquires/changes of address, ideas for events or items you would like to include in the next newsletter or on the website.  Our newsletter is sent out at the end of each month. The deadline for submissions is one full week before the end of the month.