For the last six years I’ve visited a writing retreat in Devon. The bucolic village of Sheepwash provides the perfect antidote to the advert splattered, people-clogged, over-stimulated, fast pace of Canary Wharf.
Instead of fearing I’ll be fired for being late, I stare into the crackling fire till late. Instead of commuters there are sheep. Instead of bankers there are the banks of the river.
Read more: On the end of a motoring era at Canary Wharf
Instead of glass towers I catch reflections in the stream that wends it way over shiny pebbles.
Years ago the owners Bob and Deb quit the rat race of Surrey, where everything turns toward London, and left for the countryside dream.
What they created at Retreats For You was a haven from the pressures of contemporary life, and opened up a safe space within which to think, grow, and write.
I may be inspired by the cold towers of E14, but I need the peace of green fields to get it onto the page. And then the unthinkable happened. Bob passed away.
Death jars with the every day, ripping apart the curtains of daily niggles and making us confront our true hopes and fears.
The writing community is devastated. A huge outpouring of grief has come in the most modern way; a JustGiving page to honour Bob and help Deb, whose small, family-run business has had to close.
It is in times like this when social media comes into it’s own. Writers who have stayed at Retreats For You are scattered across the world. Whether we’re in the rocky mountains of Canada, a windswept Sheffield, or standing outside Canary Wharf station, a part of our hearts will always be by that river in Devon.
A fund in memory of Bob Cooper has been set up here .
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