23 May 2020

Dear Living Tree members and friends,

This John O’Donohue poem speaks to the times we are living in.

“This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.”

Our time in isolation is beginning to be lifted for some, but not all, of us. Whilst this will be welcomed it is not straightforward and so we continue to live with uncertainty.  We are planning a trial run of a “Tea & Chat” meeting next Friday 29 May, via Zoom (the online meeting platform), so that we can catch up with lots of familiar Living Tree friends from the comfort of our own homes. The ‘meeting’ will run from 2-4pm & we hope to allow time for lots of chat, Tripudio, sharing of ideas for how to continue these sessions over the coming months, and suggestions for possible creativity which we might like to do before the next meeting.

Sadly drinks & nibbles won’t be provided so bring your own! We can make sure we stop for a comfort & kettle break midway. If anyone would like to put a toe in the water using Zoom, please let us know by email to & we will ensure you are sent a link to join the meeting. For those of you who are new to this, you need to download Zoom at and follow the instructions.  When you receive the emailed invitation put it somewhere safe and then just before the meeting begins you simply click on the link in the invitation and you will join the meeting.

For those of you who knew Jenny Gould who died early this month a beautiful obituary has been written by her friend Jane and can be downloaded here:

NEW! DORSET DIGITAL HOTLINE 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). Monday – Friday 12 – 12 (not Bank Holidays) or at other times leave a message.

DORSET LUNG CANCER CCG – We have received a request from Karen Wright (patient representative at Dorset Lung Cancer CCG) asking any members with a lung cancer diagnosis to let her know how they are coping during this pandemic, especially if undergoing active treatment. She would appreciate any comments, suggestions for improvements etc. which you may have regarding such things as travelling to/from hospitals for treatment, communication or anything which might help the CCG to improve their service. Please email us at with comments which will be treated in strict confidence and passed on to Karen. She does not need to know your name.


Our regular mindfulness teacher Sue Howse has sent another message about mindfulness and self-compassion reminding us that we are not powerless in these times. Mindfulness reminds us that we have choices, and self-compassion reminds us that we are doing the best that we can in the circumstances. The letter is printed in full at the end of the newsletter.


The next Living Tree charity auction will be held on 15 November 2020 at The Ropemakers in aid of Weldmar Hospice. Remember to hold onto any quality items for the Auction now the recycling centre has opened! Contact Roz Copson on 01308 422650.

If you are in isolation or would like to chat to another Living Tree member (about non-medical issues) please email Rosemary at or leave a message on 07341 916976 with your name and phone number and we will get back to you.  Alternatively, sometimes it is good to talk to someone who is not part of our community, and Macmillan is also offering a Telephone Buddying service to people living with cancer across the UK. This has trained and supported Macmillan volunteers offering a weekly telephone chat service; providing a listening ear and low-level emotional support, as well signposting to useful services. To sign up someone will need to access the service following this link to the page on the Macmillan website where you can refer someone, or the link can be shared for people to self-refer. Anyone referred will have an initial conversation and assessment with a Macmillan member of staff and will then be matched with a volunteer buddy.


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

Local GPs are circulating the following poster: BE CAUTIOUS about cancer possibly in response to the news that people are reluctant to go to their GPs during these times.

You might want to look at the Live Well Dorset website please –   They offer a free service for people wishing to improve their health and wellbeing with useful information on how to promote and maintain good physical and mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 Community Support Network is led by local volunteers with Bridport Town Council. A single phone number 01308 808900 provides access to advice and practical help with food shopping, prescription collection, wellbeing or other issues.  There is also a useful website with local information.

PATHWAYS TO CARE Hopeful Hampers & Good Neighbours Transport. If any LT members would like to receive a hamper of dried food goods please email Good Neighbours are still offering transport for LT members to Dorset County Hospital for essential appointments to anyone who is not in quarantine and has no symptoms.  Phone and leave a message on the Good Books answerphone 01308 420483 and someone will call you back.


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.  Just contact if you have any concerns or just need to talk.

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


SINGING 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.

 WRITING WORKSHOPS with Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper is currently working on a web version of a writing on-line group.  In the meantime there is a Living Tree Facebook writing group already meeting and Living Tree members can join that.  The link is:


Stepping Out has a new website – do check it out. 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.


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 free online 30 minute Tripudio Flow sessions via Zoom at 2.00pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week (excluding Bank Holidays). If Living Tree members are interested contact Karen at for the links to the sessions.


In February we launched our new partnership with local complementary therapists with 10 therapists on our books and more in the pipeline. Members wishing to use these therapists through our partnership scheme were invited to apply for a therapist card which would entitle them to six sessions with a therapist of their choice from that list. Due to the current restrictions on our lives, only three of our therapists are able to offer their services to Living Tree members albeit not face to face, but by using modern communication technology – email, telephone, online, Zoom.

If you feel you would like to use these therapists during the lockdown period via the Therapist Partnership please contact Rita on 01308 482366 or email:

MINDFULNESS a letter from Sue Howse

Dear All,

I was recently listening to a Buddhist teacher, who said ‘There is nothing that

says things should be nice’.  It reminded me of the popular song ‘I never promised you a Rose Garden’.  Constantly, with the pushing & pulling minds we have, we want the pleasant and not the unpleasant – which, of course, is part of human nature. So in times of great uncertainty, change and unease,

we can ignore what we most need. How do we hold both of these ‘wants’ together, letting them co-exist, and asking ourselves ‘How are we with what we have right now?’

It becomes important to find anchor points, when our world is turned upside-down, whether in nature, a special place, soles and heels of our feet, touching hands, or contact of our body on a seat,  If the weather is stormy, can we remember to re-anchor to do this?  Just asking ‘What is my orientation to what is here now?  We are not powerless:

Mindfulness reminds us that we have choices, and helps us to navigate among them.  Placing our attention in a neutral part of the body is grounding.

Self-compassion reminds us that we are doing the best that we can in the circumstances -By bringing a softening and allowing a greater space to the story and asking if we need to add more fuel to it.  We frequently hang onto the narrative “I shouldn’t have done that, or it would be different now” and get stuck like a limpet on a rock.  The light of awareness can dissolve the negative associations. like putting a teaspoon of salt into a large pond, rather than into a small cup. Seeing when we are ignoring what we need and asking “What can I best do as an act of kindness to myself?” and holding ourselves more lightly.  I wish you all well and do contact me if you would like to.

With love and kindness, Sue Howse


AXMINSTER AND LYME CANCER SUPPORT, C’SIDERS WEYMOUTH & PORTLAND CANCER GROUP, BUTTERFLIES CANCER SUPPORT Dorchester and STALBRIDGE CANCER & RECOVERY SUPPORT face-to-face group meetings are now cancelled until further notice. Contact these groups directly to find out about other kinds of support available in these areas.