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‘We have to go back and help’: Findhorn Foundation member on returning from Australia to help rebuild fire-hit buildings

John Talbott is determined to rebuild two buildings burned down at the Moray eco-village.
John Talbott is determined to rebuild two buildings burned down at the Moray eco-village.

A returning Findhorn Foundation member is leading major efforts to rebuild two iconic buildings burned down at the Moray eco-village.

Last April, flames destroyed the community centre and main meditation sanctuary, leaving only charred supporting pillars and an external staircase of some of the oldest landmarks on the park.

The striking wooden hexagonal community centre building was home to large communal lunches and dinners with residents, shared Sunday singing sessions and workshops.

This blaze caused £400,000 of damage.

Returning to Findhorn from Australia

John L. Talbott was appointed as the director of the eco-village project in 1983.

The original community centre was built in the late 60s.

Now he has returned to Moray after 18 years away in Australia, which included eight years at Narara eco village in New South Wales.

He has become chairman of Findhorn Foundation’s development committee, who are pushing forward plans to rebuild both buildings.

Mr Talbott said: “I lived here at Findhorn Foundation for 25 years.

“I was involved in a major renovation and extension to the community centre in 1987  which created the beautiful two storey twelve sided structure.

“We were in Australia, when we heard about the fires and my wife was the one that said we have to go back and help.

“Over there, we had been living in another eco village and work was moving into retirement.

John L. Talbott is leading work to rebuild both buildings.

“Fortunately, we have been able to return to Moray.

“The loss of the two iconic buildings to the arson attack was really worrying and devastating for the foundation and community.”

Ambition to make vital progress to meditation sanctuary to mark foundation’s birthday

In 1962, Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean set up the foundation.

The eco village began in the 1980s to develop connections between the environmental, social, economic and spiritual aspects of life.

Mr Talbott hopes the rebuild project on the meditation sanctuary can make significant progress in time of the foundation’s 60th birthday.

He said “We have made a good start of working out the costs for the mediation space.

“We are hoping to get a design brief agreed in the next few months and apply for planning consent and make a start on it this year.

It is an ambitious target, however wouldn’t it be good to open up the meditation sanctuary on the day of birthday celebrations?”

John Talbott

“We would like to make the meditation sanctuary a bigger space and have room for up to 100 people.

“Previously it could hold from 60 to 70 people but felt packed.

“November 17 is the birthday of the founding of the community.

“We would love to open up the meditation building on our birthday.

“It is an ambitious target, however wouldn’t it be good to open up the meditation sanctuary on the day of birthday celebrations?

The meditation area as it looks now.

“The general feeling is we don’t want to create pressure, however it is nice to have a target.

“Even though not completely finish but so progress and building work going on for 60 years celebration.

It is hoped that design work will start on the project to rebuild the “vital” community centre later this year and building in 2023.

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