Trustee Claire Ash Wheeler steps down
Our longest-standing Trustee Claire Ash Wheeler has stepped down from The Sharpham Trust board after 30 years' dedicated service.
Claire, daughter of the founders of The Sharpham Trust Maurice and Ruth Ash, told staff and fellow Trustees that in her work to shape Sharpham, she'd 'been shaped by Sharpham' and she hoped that would continue to happen for all those associated with this special place.
She is the final member of the Ash family to have served on the board of Trustees at Sharpham, which also included her mother, her sisters Kate Caddy and Marian Ash and her cousin Mark Sharman.
Claire's family lived in Sharpham House from 1962. Maurice's land management ideas (including grape-growing and cheese-making), together with his interest in Eastern philosophies, shaped The Sharpham Trust.
Today the Trust oversees the 550-acre Sharpham Estate, home to mindfulness courses and retreats, arts and outdoor learning events and Sharpham Wine & Cheese.
Said Claire: “At this point in time, the Trust is in a strong, positive position and is offering the sorts of much-needed courses that my father said were crucial to transforming a mindset that perpetuates the separation between the natural world and our own nature.
“I believe my parents would be pleased, as I am, with the direction that the Trust is going in.
“I’m confident in the continuity of those ideas at Sharpham, and how we are serving not just the local community, but all the people who participate in and have contact with what’s happening here.
William Lana, chair of Sharpham's Trustees, thanked Claire for her fantastic contribution, paying tribute to her diligence, tenacity and spirit - as well as her smile and her laughter. He read a poem by monk and mindfulness pioneer Thich Nhat Hanh, Please Call Me By My True Names, which opens with the line 'Don't say that I will depart tomorrow - even today I am still arriving'.
Claire was presented with a Cork Oak sapling, which she planted close to the site of a previous, fallen - and much-loved - Cork Oak.