Our Trustees & Team

Jo Millar

Jo Millar

Chair of Trustees

Jo is Co-Founder and Chair of the Living Tree. She is due to retire from her role as a GP in the spring of 2021, and is looking forward to devoting more time to helping the Living Tree recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic. When Jo is not busy with Living Tree activities, and our allied cancer exercise rehabilitation scheme (Stepping Out), Jo might be found helping on our new allotment, weeding her own garden, and walking the dog!

Jo co-founded the Living Tree in 2012.

Mecki Testroet

Mecki Testroet

Trustee

Mecki joined the LT in 2013 after her breast cancer diagnosis. Mecki used to be a translator but is now retired and divides her time between enjoying the Dorset countryside, being active in the local community, organising a folk dance festival and enjoying her grandchildren. Mecki has helped look after the LT website and is now involved in the LT allotment project. 

Mecki has been a Trustee since 2013.

Alison Boyland

Alison Boyland

Trustee, Allotment Team

Alison leads our Allotment Team. She is 24 years clear of cancer, with a few pre cancers since to keep her on her toes! She began her work by studying Occupational Psychology, going on to work as a Recruiter, Trainer & Management Development Consultant. Her favourite work, however, began by volunteering at a Sue Ryder Hospice and soon progressed into employment as a Diversional Therapist.

Alison has been a Trustee since 2020.

Vince O'Farrell

Vince O'Farrell

Treasurer

Vince is our Treasurer. He was married to co-founder Jo O’Farrell. Vince has two grown-up daughters, five grandchildren, and lives in Bridport. He is Secretary or Treasurer of a number of other community-based and volunteer-led organisations and charities in the town. He was previously a software developer, project manager and primary school teacher.

Vince has been a Trustee since 2018.

Peter Green

Peter Green

Trustee

I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in May 2010 and was placed on Active Surveillance. I joined The Living Tree in January 2013, shortly after Jo and Jo set it up in October 2012. In July 2013, an MRI scan showed the cancer was much worse, so in October 2013  I had a Da Vinci Robotic Radical Prostatectomy. I consider that I am now cured but will always be in remission.

Peter has been a Trustee since 2013.

Diane Stanley

Diane Stanley

Trustee

Diane has lived in the Bridport area since moving with her husband to Dorset in 1993. Over the past nearly 20 years Diane has worked as a GP in Bridport and Crewkerne, and currently works at a practice in Beaminster. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 & again in 2020. With the Living Tree she has enjoyed creative writing & other workshops. Diane also helps with outreach events, booking speakers and attends integrative oncology & genomic study days. Her hobbies include jogging, playing tennis & family history.

Diane has been a Trustee since 2021.

Liz Baker

Liz Baker

Web & News Editor

Liz works as a professional photographer specialising in weddings and portraits. She holds a fascination for design and typography, and has created websites for a number of small charities over the years. Liz is the mother of five children, and the daughter of co-founder Jo O’Farrell. As such the Living Tree is a project close to her heart.

Rita Bechervaise

Rita Bechervaise

Amblers Group

Rita has been a key member of the driving force in keeping the Living Tree running smoothly for several years, and then stepped down as Trustee in April 2021. Knowing how much she would miss the work Rita has opted to remain an active part of the team, and she continues to lead the Amblers walking group. Rita intends for the Amblers Group to grow and meet more regularly as we move out of lockdown.

Sherry Porter

Sherry Porter

Trustee, Social Media Manager

Sherry manages our Facebook page which aims to provides a daily source of inspiration and encouragement in our everyday lives.

Our Founders

The Living Tree began in 2012, as a seed of an idea shared by Jo Millar and the late Jo O’Farrell MBE. Both were going through cancer treatment, and a chance introduction led to a flurry of activity & planning.

They both also believed in the need for a holistic lifestyle approach to supporting anyone affected by cancer. Over the coming months they went on to secure premises for a weekly drop-in group, start-up funding from Macmillan, and generous offers of help from the local community.

Jo Millar

Jo Millar

Founder

Jo continued to Chair the Living Tree, and alongside Jo O’Farrell as Secretary (plus many other roles besides), we became a well-known local support group. 

In 2020 the Living Tree became a Registered Charity. However, we continue to remain true to the original vision shared by our founders.

Jo O'Farrell MBE

Jo O'Farrell MBE

Founder

Jo lived a full life with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for almost 9 years, and passed away in 2018. She was a most beloved grandmother and a powerful networking force in her community. The Living Tree was without doubt her highest priority in her final years, and Living Tree meetings were her most cherished time every week.