31 July 2020

Dear Living Tree members and friends,

FRIDAY 21 AUGUST will be our next Living Tree by Zoom meeting from 2-4pm. Hannah Smart from Project Food (formerly HALFF) will be giving us a short talk on the work her charity does and the importance of a healthy diet. If you have any questions related to healthy eating and cancer and cancer recovery you can send your questions to our email address below and we can forward them to her prior to her talk. She will also be happy to answer your questions on the day.

For those who might like to have the opportunity to talk in a smaller group or even on a one to one basis, especially if you would like a private chat with someone, we can create break out rooms which you can join and return to the main meeting when you wish, just at the press of a button! If you ask the Zoom host, usually Vince, he can arrange that for you.

Please email us at to let us know if you would like to join this session 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.

We have taken a break this month with only one Zoom meeting in August but the trustees are hoping to run these Zoom Tea & Chat meetings every two weeks from September for the foreseeable future. We are also hoping to offer a variety of activities/talks/demonstrations including the regular art and creativity afternoons which Libby and Chris have very kindly led over the past few months.

A sad piece of news: some of us were lucky enough to take part in Wendy Lowis Bates’ jewellery making workshops for LT members and have worn the beautiful jewellery made with her. Wendy died quietly at home this month.

Last year, The Living Tree committee decided to arrange for a bench in memory of The Living Tree co-founder Jo O’Farrell (who died in July 2018) to be placed near Highlands End overlooking Eype, a spot she loved to visit and sit to take in the view. The committee – now the Trustees of the newly-registered Living Tree charity – have got to the stage of the project where they are inviting donations from Living Tree members to help with the cost of the bench. The total cost is expected to be between £1,000 – £1,200 – this includes the design and construction cost and the engraving of an inscription by a local stone- and wood-worker. This is an initial sketch of the inscription to be engraved on the backrest of the bench:

If you wish to make a donation, please put your cheque made payable to The Living Tree or cash in an envelope marked “The Living Tree – Jo’s bench” and hand to any Living Tree Trustee or one of the staff in the Good Books shop in Gundry Lane which is open each weekday morning. Alternatively, phone or email The Living Tree Treasurer Vince O’Farrell on 01308 427851, 07754 270370, or for details of how to donate directly using bank transfer.

A message about loving kindness and self-compassion from our regular mindfulness teacher Sue Howse is printed in full at the end of this newsletter.

Chris Edwards is making face masks for £5, including a £1 donation going to The Weldmar Hospice. She has a range of fabrics and 2 sizes, M and L. The masks have a pocket to add a tissue creating a third removable layer. Fabrics are shown in the images below and there are more available if you contact Chris. Postage, delivery or collection can all be arranged.
If you would like to place an order please message Chris on Facebook.
or email
For those not on FB, Chris can email you the images of fabrics to choose from.

Here is a poem from THE LIVING TREE BOOK OF WORDS, a collection of writing and artwork produced by members of the Living Tree cancer support group, all of whom have been touched by cancer in some way.
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.7 AUGUST 11.00AM. WORRY BUSTING with Louise Wender
Worry Busting Zoom session next Friday 7 August at the earlier time of 11am. Please email no later than Wednesday 5th to let me know that you want to join, and so that I can send you the Zoom link. I look forward to seeing you there, warmly, Louise.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).15 NOVEMBER CHARITY AUCTION
The next Living Tree CHARITY AUCTION will now be on 15 November 2020 at The Ropemakers in aid of Weldmar Hospice. For this event contact Roz Copson on 01308 422650 with items to donate.

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

PATHWAYS TO CARE 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.

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

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.

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.  From September these classes may be live with social distancing measures in place.

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 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 email, telephone, or Zoom.

The three therapists are:

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.


AXMINSTER AND LYME CANCER SUPPORT – now have a beach hut at Lyme, Other Dorset support groups include C’SIDERS WEYMOUTH & PORTLAND CANCER GROUP, BUTTERFLIES CANCER SUPPORT Dorchester and STALBRIDGE CANCER & RECOVERY SUPPORT. Please contact these groups directly to find out about other kinds of support available.

MINDFULNESS & SELF-COMPASSION – a message from Sue Howse
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Jalaluddin RumiI have been reflecting recently on Rumi’s poems. ‘The Guest House’ invites us to put out the Welcome Mat for all our experiences – the pleasant and unpleasant. Rather than having a large PRIVATE sign saying KEEP OUT. Trespassers will be prosecuted!The metaphor of a gracious host captures the blend of Loving Kindness and Mindfulness that is Self-compassion.

Ironically, the more compassion we give to our suffering selves, the more flexible it becomes. Compassion with the truth of our experiences with softness and kindness takes the struggle out of it.

If, in this time of uncertainty and change, we can start with self-acceptance and compassion first, this simple shift can make a tremendous difference in our lives. This means opening ourselves to the emotional pain with uncommon kindness instead of blaming, criticising and trying to make it right for ourselves, (or someone
else, or the world) when things go wrong, and we feel bad.

When we get caught up in our pain, we can go to war with ourselves. We become our own enemy, caught up in self-criticism, self-isolation and self-absorption.

Can we cultivate a new relationship to ourselves, with, as Kristin Neff prescribes “Self-kindness – acknowledging that this moment is maybe difficult. Connect with the rest of humanity – you are not alone in your suffering! Balanced awareness and Mindfulness”?

So in the middle of the night when you are tossing and turning, and you feel alone and vulnerable, can you bring Loving Kindness to yourself with Self-compassion?

Self-compassion can soothe the mind like a loving friend who is willing to listen to our difficulties without giving advice.

Self-compassion is goodwill to ourselves – it creates space for all feelings, good and bad. We are not favouring one emotion over another, pushing away some feelings and sugar-coating others.

Just as a gracious hostess can send her guests home feeling happier, goodwill and Self-compassion has a tendency to shape our feeling for the better.

Loving Kindness practice can help to hold us in a gentler way: with each kind word you are planting a seed that will, in due time, grow into good feelings.

Perhaps,when difficult emotions or thoughts arise, just repeat the intention:

May I love myself just as I am
May I find peace in this uncertain world
May I be free from sorrow
May I be truly happy

(You may need to create your own phrases. Just give it a go! Start watering and nurturing your seeds.)

With much love