Our dear friend and colleague Peter Mallard

Our dear friend and colleague Peter Mallard

Published: 07 October 2020

It is with grief and gratitude for a life well-lived that we let you know that Peter Mallard passed away on Tuesday 22 September at dawn. He had been living with cancer for the past five years.

Peter was the Manager at the Barn from 2010 to 2016 and is well loved by The Barn and the Sharpham Trust community. 

If you knew Peter and he touched your life, we invite you to contribute a memory which we will gather and share in the coming weeks. Please email [email protected] before 15 October with anything you would like to share in honour of Peter.

To start us off, here is something that Peter’s good friend - and Sharpham mindfulness retreat leader - Patti Summerville has written about him:

Peter Mallard with flowersThere is an empty cushion in my sangha circle, though I still feel your warm presence in the room.

Peter was the Barn Manager when I was a coordinator with Brenda, Dino, Linda and Paul. Peter so skilfully didn't 'manage' us. He let us graze alongside each other, watching over us like a wise herdsman with his motley flock, keeping us safe, yet encouraging us to bring to The Barn our unique spirits.

Peter brought a kinetic, radiantly warm and curiously intelligent energy to our days at The Barn. Retreatants relaxed and flourished in his presence and loved his down-to-earth, humorously self-effacing Friday morning Q & A library sessions.

What fun I've had with Peter over the years debating the dharma, the pros and cons of building an outdoor meditation/yoga platform, and how frequently (or infrequently) a bathmat requires laundering.

Peter's morning bike ride arrival at the Barn brought bear hugs and a foot-wide smile that could instantly erase the irritable memory of a night punctuated by a false fire alarm and concerns that the Riverford organic full cream milk supply had gone off, due to the vacuum cleaner and fridge plugs getting mixed up yet again.

Peter MallardPeter would fold his long, gangly frame into the small Barn office space the three of us would often share and good humouredly tolerate successive co-ordinators' new organisational systems. He would time just right his mid-morning departures to chop wood or clean out roof gutters, thus skilfully maintaining his and our sanity.

I have been in awe of Peter's energy, optimism and how he brought his intelligence and dharma practice to the last few years and hope in some way a bit of that has seeped into my bones for the challenges of life ahead.

Ah Peter my dear one, no longer in my life, though the memories bring warmth to my heart and a smile to my face to soothe my sadness. Rest well.

Patti Summerville




Memories from past retreatants and coordinators on social media:

Good memories of him at The Barn ... often trying to keep the noise level down at table.... but in a gracious way!


Such a kind, warm, genuine gentleman. Met Peter on 3 retreats. He'd mix managing retreats, whilst also climbing ladders and fixing the Barn.


Such a kind, unpretentious man.


Peter was a rare breed of manager, he felt more like a friend and older brother. He guided me through my year as coordinator with such kindness, generosity and good humour. Metta to all who miss him - from Tamsin Scott, former Barn coordinator


I have good memories of conversations with Peter. He was inspiring


I'm sad to hear this. I remember him fondly from my retreat. Sending love to everyone who feels the loss of his comforting presence.