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Living Well Right to the End - 2017

Photo © Ian Stevens

Living Well Right to the End

Rydal Hall, near Ambleside Cumbria
26th - 29th June 2017

Living Well Right to the End... Sounds impossible…?

How to live well at all can prove elusive and has been much debated for thousands of years. Is it to do with physical health, or pleasure, or a general sense of wellbeing, or happiness, or fulfilment, or meaning, or is it merely the absence of suffering? Can we somehow enable those we care for to achieve a level of wellbeing even as they decline into terminal illness or perhaps face the simple fact of old age and the prospect of death? We may be confronted with the ethical dilemma of quality versus quantity of life and the prolongation of suffering. Can we achieve a measure of wellbeing in our own lives?

Our meeting this time takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Rydal Hall amongst the lakes and fells of Cumbria where we will be considering all of these issues. Our speakers include:

  • Prof. Karol Sikora, Dean of Buckingham Medical School, speaking on ‘Living with the Uncertainty of Cancer’
  • Dr Sara Booth, Lecturer at Cambridge University and at King’s College in London, who has researched breathlessness and has an interest in the characteristics of wellbeing
  • Kate Binnie, a music therapist who uses music and song in her work to relieve suffering
  • Steve Johnson, a Buddhist teacher, mindfulness trainer and healthcare chaplain in hospital and hospice settings
  • Dr Emmylou Rahtz, who has a PhD in Psychiatry and is interested in how healing can be achieved
  • Fr Andy Graydon will speak about the concept of ‘deep acceptance’ around living and dying
  • Dr Jeremy Swayne’s talk ‘Coming Alive at Last’ will deal with enrichment and wholeness despite serious or even terminal illness.

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination

Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person (1987), p. 187.


  1. Programme
  2. Accommodation
  3. Travel
  4. Queries


Monday 26th June

16:00 Arrive, tea
18:30 Dinner & housekeeping

Tuesday 27th June

08:15 Yoga in the gardens with Kate Binnie
08:45 Breakfast
09:30 Welcome & introduction
  Moderator: Dr Peter Gorman
09:45 Living with the uncertainty of cancer
  Prof Karol Sikora, Dean of Buckingham Medical School, author and oncologist. Former Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cancer Medicine at Imperial College School of Medicine and currently honorary Consultant Oncologist at Hammersmith Hospital, London. Prof Sikora will be speaking about how patients’ higher personal expectations and increased knowledge along with targeted approaches to diagnosis and treatment will individualise care in the future.
11:00 Coffee
11:20 Taking care of the person in chronic illness
  Dr Sara Booth, Lecturer at King’s College in London and an Honorary Consultant and lecturer, University of Cambridge. Dr Booth has researched breathlessness and will be speaking about ways to increase resilience and wellbeing in those living with chronic illness.
12:20 Discussion
13:00 Lunch
14:00 - 16:00 Walking & recreation with the option of a session of 30 mins of relaxation (Yoga Nidra to aid digestion and restoration)
16:00 Tea
16:30 Creative approaches - Palliative Care
  Kate Binnie a music therapist who uses music and breath-work in palliative care settings. Kate works in palliative care settings in Oxford. She recently completed her MSc thesis at King's (Cicely Saunders Institute) on the uses of mind-body interventions for pain in chronic & advanced disease. Kate will illustrate ways of being with suffering, and how we can include and build on people’s innate desire to connect, create and to grow when faced with terminal illness.
17:30 Discussion
18:00 Reflection on the day
18:30 Dinner

Wednesday 28th June

08:15 Movement to Awaken Your Brain in the gardens with Gillian Bartlam
08:45 Breakfast
  Moderator: Dr Maureen Tilford
09:30 Living to Die: Deep acceptance
  Fr Andy Graydon, Catholic priest and hospital chaplain who has worked with people with mental health problems as well as in hospice care. Here Fr Graydon will explore the transforming dimension of loss and death and how the dying process is an invitation to enter more fully into the real mystery of life.
11:00 Coffee
11:20 Coming alive at last
  Dr Jeremy Swayne, retired GP, homoeopathic physician and priest. Here Dr Swayne will discuss how people can find fulfilment, enrichment, and greater ‘wholeness’ at the end of life or in circumstances where the ‘quality’ of life is in other respects greatly diminished.
11:50 To Let the Patient Live and Die With Dignity
  Frida-Sofie Borge. Frida-Sofie is currently working as an anaesthetic nurse in the pain clinic at the Haukeland University Teaching Hospital, Bergen, Norway. From her background ranging from nursing in elderly care to anaesthetics she will discuss the dialogue for improving pain relief processes and palliative care.
12:20 Discussion
13:00 Lunch
14:00 - 16:00 Walking & recreation
16:00 Tea
16:30 Buddhist philosophy in health settings
  Narapa (Steve Johsnon) is a Buddhist teacher, mindfulness trainer and healthcare chaplain in hospital and community settings. He is a senior trainer with Breathworks C.I.C. Narapa will be discussing approaches to contemplative care. This encompasses spiritual, emotional and pastoral care for patients, family members and carers including those health care professionals dealing with issues of chronic pain, long term illness and death on a daily basis.
17:30 Discussion
18:30 Dinner

Thursday 29th June

08:15 Movement to Awaken Your Brain in the gardens with Gillian Bartlam
08:45 Breakfast
09:30 Healing while dying
  Dr Emmylou Rahtz has a PhD in Psychiatry and is interested in how healing can be achieved. Dr Rahtz will be discussing how when biomedicine has no more interventions to offer, it resorts to human caring and pain relief. Even when physical health is failing, the possibility of healing remains.
10:15 My recent training in hypnosis
  Dr Tim Johnson
10:35 Valuing end of life care: making the most effective use of a limited budget
  Dr Peter Bennett, previously in Department of Health now with the Science Policy Research Unit, Sussex University
11:00 Coffee

Presentation on behalf of the National Council for Palliative Care: ‘Homeward Bound’ about the diagnosis of a terminal illness from the perspective of the patient

  Gillian Bartlam: Gillian is a psychotherapist who uses a variety of approaches including Gestalt, Transactional Analysis and hypnosis. Gillian is interested in healing through music and movement and has worked with people in 'end of life' settings. Gillian will speak about her work and will introduce an extract from a FILM: Homeward Bound: about the diagnosis of a terminal illness from the perspective of the patient: Kindly donated by Miranda Ryan, Partnerships Manager: The National Council for Palliative Care ( NCPC). For copies and other resources contact: [email protected].
12:00 Creative writing
  Dr Sarah Booth
12:30 Discussion / reflections
13:00 Lunch

Programme items and timings liable to change without notice.

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Some sharing of double rooms may be necessary. Please indicate on the application form if there is anyone you would particularly wish to share with, or if you feel have a strong priority (not just a preference) for a single (or ground floor or wheelchair accessible) room. Beds may be available for accompanying partners if number of applicants permits.

Information about Rydal Hall can be found here

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The nearest airport is Manchester. Trains go from the airport to Windermere station, taking about 2 hours. Liverpool John Lennon Airport is also about 2 hours by train, after a 10 minute shuttle bus. Both airports have a range of international and budget carriers. 

Rydal Hall is to be found off the main A591 road between Ambleside and Grassmere. Approaching from Ambleside, about a mile after leaving the town, take the turning right, signposted “Rydal Mount” (brown sign) and “Rydal Hall” ( blue sign). The Hall is first on the right, through wrought iron gates. The nearest railway stations are Oxenholme and Windermere. “Rydal Church” bus stop is on A591 just 200 yards from the Hall. You can be met at this stop by arrangement.

Telephone Numbers

Rydal Hall 015394 32050
Local bus service enquiries 0870 608 2606




015394 32371 



015394 32857 



015394 44644 


Blue Star 

01539 723670 


Castle Taxis 

01539 726233 

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If you have any queries please email [email protected]  or call 0207 269 7840.

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