Cancer Lifeline

Local Cancer Charity

We provide residential therapeutic breaks for cancer sufferers and their carers

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Beyond the illness

Taking time out to reflect on the impact of having had a cancer diagnosis can help restore a sense of oneself

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Peaceful environment

To provide, free of charge, residential breaks facilitated by appropriately trained therapists in a safe

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An Opportunity

For participants to express emotions and explore issues arising from being diagnosed with cancer

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"All three of the facilitators were excellent. I felt completely 'held' and safe all the time. They managed everything with such professionalism, feeling and sensitivity and it was like a well oiled procedure, it felt very reassuring.

They cared for our every need with such compassion. They were quite amazing and made the break so enjoyable."

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01364 388697


Taking time out to reflect on the impact of having had a cancer diagnosis can help restore a sense of oneself beyond the illness – sometimes in a different way with fresh priorities and new perspectives.

Spending time with other people who have undergone a similar experience, can contribute to the well-being of cancer sufferers and be a beneficial experience to family members and carers.


To provide, free of charge, residential breaks facilitated by appropriately trained therapists in a safe and peaceful environment.


To offer an opportunity for participants to express emotions and explore issues arising from being diagnosed with cancer and to offer support to both patients and their carers as they experience anxiety and uncertainty.

A huge thank you

A Huge Thank You to our accountant Mel Allday who gives us her services for free and is always so positive and good humoured!

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Who Are We

We have a team of 6 Trustees who are responsible for all aspects of running the charity.

We have a pool of 8 facilitators who are all trained counsellors who work with people with life-threatening illness.

We have a pool of Fundraisers who meet regularly AND we have an accountant – Mel Allday – who gives her services free of charge.

Our patron is Sir Ranulph Fiennes, OBE and our details our:

There will be a memorial service for Margaret Merrington, one of the co-founders of the charity in The School Hall, Steiner School, Dartington, on Sunday 22 October between 2 and 4 pm. All are welcome.

Margaret Merrington, co-founder of Lifeline Resources, now Cancer Lifeline South West, died on the morning of 13th July at home. There will be a memorial for her life in September and details will be posted on the website.

A Tribute to Margaret

Margaret was a woman with an indomitable spirit who had had boundless energy for so many different interests in her life, most importantly her large family. However, she was also up for the next inspirational idea, particularly if it had the potential to benefit others.

While we both cooked up the vision for Lifeline by sitting on our cushions together over many hours and then bringing it in to being at Sharpham House, with the hands of Chris and Susie Nicholls at our backs, it was Margaret who always held on to the ethos of Lifeline through thick and thin. The administration became more onerous and Margaret held on doggedly to the importance of not being tied-bound by protocols and the like, focussed on the organic (now rather an overused word, but not so much back then) and responsive charity it became.

We laughed a lot, we cried a lot, we used to drive each other mad – Margaret by always being late and me by sticking to the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ of forming a new charity. We met amazing people and I know that for Margaret it was a shining star in amongst so many of her wonderful projects and achievements.

Margaret never lost her enthusiasm for helping others and for opening her doors to everyone. She demonstrated her resilience over the last few years throughout her husband’s Tom’s illness and the re-building of the shack after the fire that destroyed the original. The phoenix that rose from the ashes was immortalised in the stain glass window that shines on you as you enter the door. I think I, maybe amongst many, believed that Margaret WAS that phoenix and she would always rise again. Sadly this was not so.

We always started with silence when we met – and we recently met again in silence as Margaret neared the end of her life – resting into the comfort of a deep friendship which was founded on a shared passion, commitment to what mattered to us and love and Cancer Lifeline is testimony to Margaret’s hard work and dedication.

Sarah Delfont – July 2017

I want to just extend our, Margaret and my, thanks to all those involved as Trustees, Co-ordinator, facilitators and volunteers, not to forget all the amazing people who spend time enjoying the support, for continuing that original vision. We were always proud to have been a part of Lifeline’s journey.

I had heard of Cancer Lifeline long before I became involved and jumped at the chance to become a facilitator when a vacancy arose.

I took over from Sarah Delfont as Chair of Trustees in 2009 and as you can imagine she was a hard act to follow.

All the people involved with Cancer Lifeline, since inception to date, are passionate about the cause and work hard to keep the charity on the map.

Feedback from participants consistently lets us know that we really do help people affected by cancer which means Sarah and Margaret’s’ vision was spot on.


I was asked to become a Trustee in 2009 and was honored to accept.

The unique service we offer compliments the bigger charities involved with helping cancer sufferers and I am always humbled by the response of participants who have attended our breaks.

Our facilitators are experts in their field and their work continues to strengthen my resolve to consolidate our charity.

As ‘the accounts person’ I supply the years’ figures to our wonderful accountant Mel Allday and I help out with fundraising events whenever possible.

I have been a trustee since late 2007 having attended a ‘Time to Retune’ break with my husband in the summer of 2006.  I experienced first-hand what an amazing opportunity the break provides to help people move forward positively with their lives and I wanted to be part of a team creating that opportunity for others in the future.

I am lucky enough to co-ordinate the fundraising group – the commitment and creativity of the members is amazing!  I also produce an anonymous summary of feedback from each break – you only have to look at that to get the motivation to carry on and to be grateful for everything that everyone involved in the charity does!


My name is Ian Deakin and I have been a trustee for six years. I went on a Cancer Lifeline break in 2004 with my late wife and we found it really valuable and enjoyable to refocus after her treatment and take quality time out from our busy family life.

We shared experiences with others who had travelled a similar journey with cancer, in a beautiful, caring and tranquil environment; which was simply wonderful.

Over the last ten years the charity has provided many more people with this opportunity and I wanted to direct it forward as a trustee and provide help wherever needed.  I have four sons, am married to Esther and live in the South Hams of Devon. I work as an NHS manager and in my spare time enjoy sailing, nature, antiques and gardening.


Clive Smith joined Cancer Lifeline as a trustee in 2011. With a family history of cancer, he considers that he has some understanding of the challenges and needs of those suffering from the illness and the associated effects on their relatives.

Clive has over 40 years’ business experience as an executive and non-executive director of both private and public listed companies, and he is keen to see the charity continue to operate effectively and efficiently in what are tough financial times.


Information to come soon.

Information to come soon.

I have been working for Cancer Lifeline, as a facilitator, since 2009. I am a registered psychotherapist with many years experience in the Health profession as a counselor, psychotherapist, mindfulness trainer and group facilitator.  I have practiced meditation for many years and find it enormously helpful in my personal and professional life.

Having worked as a therapist for several years I have learnt that many people are affected by cancer regardless of age or circumstances. Cancer Lifeline is unique in that it offers people the opportunity to be with others who genuinely understand.

I live locally and enjoy all the pastimes this wonderful part of the country offers. I have a grown up family and a chocolate Labrador called Bisto and enjoy walking him on the moor whenever the opportunity arises.


I am a qualified Community Mental Health Nurse (RMN) and a Psychological Therapist (PgDip Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapies, University of Exeter). Over the past 29 years I have worked in: Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Services, Adult Mental Health and a Cancer support service.

I have instructed and co facilitated Mindfulness Based programs in all of these settings and provided work based training for groups of staff/employees in the Health Service.


I have been involved with running the groups for Cancer Lifeline South West since 2006.  I have found it a privilege to repeatedly witness the changes that take place within members of the group as a result of their sharing of common experiences on Lifeline breaks.

I am a registered Psychotherapist and worked in the NHS in that role for 20 years, I now just  have a small private practice.  I also work on a smallholding, which keeps me busy and I have a grown-up family.


I was first employed by Lifeline in November 2011. I currently co-facilitate one or two ‘residentials’ per year for Lifeline. I have worked for several charities since 1981 and lived and worked in Devon since 1987.

My main profession is as a UKCP Registered Psychotherapist in private practise.


I am a UKCP registered Psychotherapist offering long and short term psychotherapy to individuals in Exeter and Plymouth. In addition to my MA in Core Process Psychotherapy my professional development has included further training in Mindfulness and Somatic Trauma Therapy for PTSD.

Alongside my therapeutic work I have experience in the business and charitable sectors and am currently a Charity Trustee. I am a mother of grown up children and am delighted to be able to contribute to the work of Cancer Lifeline Southwest.


I joined SW Cancer Lifeline facilitation team in 2011. I have supported both friends and clients through the complexities of cancer and feel passionate about the goodness of a supportive space being offered to those who wish to use it.

The settings of the Lifeline retreats are beautiful and enhance the nourishment and opportunity for reflection. I have a deep respect for meditation and mindfulness practises – and for the way they have personally enriched my life and supported my work.

Career wise my background is in social work, psychotherapy and craniosacral therapy. I currently live and work in Devon.


I am an accredited counselor and psychotherapist and have worked for the Macmillan Mustard Tree cancer support service for many years.

I was fortunate to have worked with the founders of Cancer Lifeline in this context and over the years, have encouraged many of my clients to attend the retreats.

I was very pleased to accept the opportunity to join the charity as a retreat facilitator in 2012. I live in the Plymouth area, have a grown up family and have a passion for horses and the ‘great outdoors’!


Fundraiser: Jean Potter

Jean Potter

Fundraiser: Helen Fulford

Jean Potter

Fundraiser: Darrell Fulford

Jean Potter

Fundraiser: Jo Swift

Jean Potter

Fundraisers: Scrambled Legs

Jean Potter

Online supplier of display and exhibition stand printing and design. Visit

Being with people

Being with people

“The most important aspect for me was being with people who truly understood where I’ve been”

A Way Forward

A Way Forward

“You created the calmness required to look inside myself, take stock of the recent past and mentally adjust for a way forward”

Finding Peace of Mind

Finding Peace of Mind

“It has helped me in so many ways – most of all it has helped me find some peace of mind.”

Valuable Experience

Valuable Experience

“The whole experience was valuable: I have not laughed, cried and felt so close to a group of people for a long time.”

Extraordinarily Special

Extraordinarily Special

“Everything about it was so extraordinarily special that I know none of us will ever forget it. Why can’t life always be like this?”

Sense of Belonging

Sense of Belonging

“I felt emotionally safe in the environment and very much enjoyed the ‘sense of belonging’ whilst there.”

Time to Retune

Time to Retune

“This break helped my recovery from breast cancer so much. I have since left my job and am setting up my own business. It really proved to be ‘Time to Retune’. I returned uplifted and positive about the future. I will remember it forever.”

Life Changing

Life Changing

“A huge thank you to all. This has been a real life changing experience for me. I’m astonished how after only four days my way of thinking has been changed so much.”


  • Giovanni Cookery Morning – Torquay Academy

    Many thanks to Darrell Fulford for organising a wonderful cookery morning at Torquay Academy (many thanks to the venue for hosting us free of charge). Giovanni once again ran an amazing course – see the photos in the gallery. We raised £275!

  • Giovanni’s Italian Cookery Course

    Giovanni’s Italian Cookery Course

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Cook wanted

Cook wanted to shop for and prepare food for approximately 12 people on a 3 day residential therapeutic breaks in South Devon.

There are 4 to 6 breaks per year and the next break is in the autumn.

For more details contact Judy at

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