Published: 25 November 2021
Lindsay Alderton has made good on a promise to serve at Sharpham as a Volunteer Barn Coordinator.
In 2019 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent gruelling chemotherapy and surgery. During this time she was given a bursary to attend a Sharpham Trust 9-week course in Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living.
"Having that anchor of regular community and practice and clarity was really important and a lifesaver," she said. "I made a promise at the end of it, when I was well enough, that I would come back and offer service".
Now she's supporting Barn retreatants in her role as a Volunteer Coordinator.
"I was due to be here March 2020, which was six months after finishing treatment, but Covid struck and I didn't come. It was put on hold for a year but now's the right time," she said.
Previously, Lindsay worked for six years in an activist education centre in the mountains of Cataluna in Spain, supporting burnt-out activists from all over Europe. Sharpham retreat leader Rupert Marques was also there and the two worked together.
However, she had a hunger for the English landscape and having visited Devon and Sharpham before (she'd been on Barn retreats and participated in a dharma practitioners' course in Sharpham House), decided to relocate to Totnes. Shortly afterwards, she was diagnosed with cancer.
That meant that she went out into the landscape more and this gave her succour and support.
"When I got sick, this was definitely the best place that I could get sick in...there's so much community, health and beauty here," she said. "I'm looking foward to having a full year here to see the seasons".
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Pictures by Guy Clarke