Harrogate cancer survivor, 74, launches holistic health retreats
Last updated Feb 9, 2024
Patricia Sutcliffe (right) with business partners Sarah Butler and Tomm Melody.

A 74-year-old Harrogate woman and cancer survivor has launched a holistic health retreat business with two people more than half her age.

Patricia Sutcliffe has gone into partnership with a yoga teacher and a fitness coach to create retreats for people aged over 45. They have founded Serene Escapes, which focuses on fitness and spirituality.

The first event, on September 20 to 22, held at Mainsfield House, Settle, will offer motivational talks, training sessions, yoga, walks in the Dales and healthy food.

Ms Sutcliffe said:

“We are aimed at those people who feel age prohibits them from living life to the full. I am proof that you are never too old.

“There is nowhere you can go to do yoga, holistic health, and meditation all together, they are all kept quite separate, so we are combining our skills to provide holistic retreats.”

Six years ago, Patricia was diagnosed with cancer, shortly after her husband recovered from it.

She said:

“You can’t help but think this is it, but you’ve got to help yourself.”

During her recovery she began exercising at home because she felt out of place in gyms and fitness classes. She then decided ‘you’ve got to prove to yourself you’re not too old’ and attended a gym. Unsure of where to begin, Patricia sought the help of a fitness coach, Tomm Melody, who is now one of her business partners.

Patricia has now made a full recovery and goes to the gym four times a week alongside her husband.

The Serene Escapes founders practicing meditation led by Patricia Sutcliffe

She said:

“I suppose I should be putting my feet up now, as many tell me but there is no such thing in my life.”

Ms Sutcliffe has practised meditation for many years after learning the art from Buddhist monks in Singapore.

She said:

“Health is just so important, a lot of it is mental you tell yourself you can’t, but you have to tell yourself ‘Yes, I can. I can do this’. I strongly believe that you have to work at your wellbeing irrespective of age.”

At the gym Patricia met Sarah Butler, a yoga instructor and the trio was formed with the aim to “combine disciplines to offer something special and we believe is unique”.

Patricia calls her business partners youngsters at 28 and 30, and joked that she will stick out like a sore thumb until others of her age join the retreat.

The new fitness venture aims to leave “everyone walking away to feel better spiritually and physically” and is targeted at people over 45 who “need to be rejuvenated”.

She added:

“We want to show people that the young and old all have something to offer and you should never write yourself off or feel embarrassed to give yourself some self-love.”

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