Meet The Team

No Mud, No Lotus – how the Lotus Heart came into bloom!

Most organisations name a founding member or members – however, here at Lotus Heart Sanctuary we know only too well that Lotus “came together” through a series of very fortunate events, people and animals.
Just as a beautiful Lotus flower grows from the dark murky and muddy depths, this Lotus also had to grow from somewhere.

We have three main cogs in the Lotus wheel – Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay), Nipper (Jack Russell) & Prince (Holstein Friesian) – the common denominator in all three is Lynn.

© Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism - Photo used with permission from Parallax Press

Hello, my name is Lynn –
Following a retreat with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (or Thay as he’s affectionately known to his students) and listening to a talk he gave which delivered clear explanations as to why the whole world needs to be vegan, I immediately went from lifelong vegetarian to vegan. His talk covered meat, eggs & dairy, the violence towards animals, and the fear & terror we instil into them. He described how we ingest their cells of fear and anger when we consume their flesh, eggs and secretions. He then explained how all that impacts on our own mental and physical health; it made so much sense.
He ¬articulated the colossal impact animal agriculture has not only on animals, but also on world hunger, and the very planet we live on – he announced this was the single biggest cause of global warming! Back then in 2010, I literally had no idea…truth was, as a vegetarian I had become complacent – I truly believed by being veggie I was doing the best I could!
We all have our own inspiration and motivation for going vegan; it might be a documentary, footage viewed on social media, a friend or family member, a celebrity, visiting a sanctuary etc. – my reason was a talk from this lifelong peace activist.
Thay’s words instantly inspired me to commit to not only becoming vegan, but also to become more active…to do more, to serve in whatever way possible…and to be engaged with this world!
On returning home from the retreat I set up a new local Sanga in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh; it was based in Renfrewshire and was simply called “It’s Now”; and I created the vision board for Lotus Sanctuary. The absolute need for us all to do more for our planet and all her inhabitants had been made crystal clear and had never been more apparent. It was time for change – the time was NOW!

At that time there was little going on in the way of activism in Scotland – so it was quite challenging to actually become very active at all.
I truly wished to practice Right Livelihood – at that time I was working as a Holistic Therapist & Stress Manager – this involved me working very closely with people as I was dealing with both their physical and mental health. However, due to the recession that had deeply impacted the UK at that time, I allowed myself to be pulled out of holistics – this definitely contributed to the Lotus vision being put on the back-burner for a while, but it was never forgotten.

Momentum began to pick up again in 2014 – I decided to start weightlifting with PT & pro bodybuilder Craig McConnell with a specific goal in mind.

I was frustrated at the misconception that we need animal protein to build muscle; so it became a big part of my advocacy/activism to simply prove the point that we absolutely do not need anything from anyone other than ourselves to build muscle; just sheer hard work, a healthy wholefoods plant-based diet and determination!

That year I also started volunteering with Animal Aid and began work on the idea for Bohemian Hippy

In 2015 I began involvement with street activism and became a regular participant with Earthlings Experience Scotland, but I still wanted to do more.
I began to discuss with a handful of other activists the idea of bringing the Save Movement to Scotland – no sooner said… we set it up and began bearing witness 2016 was encouraging as it saw a huge shift with advocacy & activism in Scotland (there are various blogs on this Lotus website you can read to learn more about the Save Movement, bearing witness, setting up Bo Hip, Happy Moo Year and much more – it’s too much to go into here)
Bearing witness to animals going to slaughter was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life – their fear can be picked up with all our senses – I do a lot of energy work, so for me, I was intensely picking up on the energy of often hundreds of animals per vigil. It broke me at times, but mostly it heavily motivated me to do more.
During the Spring, Summer & Autumn of 2016 when I was out walking Nipper (Jack Russell), I met and befriended a certain young black bullock – the young son of a dairy cow who was uncommonly being fattened up for slaughter – Friesians are genetically bony, so rarely are they used for beef production. This particular bullock has received so many blessings in so many ways – he was saved from slaughter literally in the nick of time; it was all meant to be. It was quite a story at the time, and he has successfully touched the lives of many people and helped them to make the connection.

After Prince I continued to save & rescue animals, but without the land, (apart from Prince who has always been registered to me), I had to find the animals forever homes at other sanctuaries around the UK. I was constantly receiving phone calls, texts and emails about rescuing animals. So I would try to find them a home and then I’d organise their transport and fundraise to cover all the costs. Moving big animals like cattle hundreds of miles is both expensive and time consuming – but at that time, it was the only way to do it to save them from death.

Thay’s words and work inspired me to do more. Through walking Nipper I met Prince. Without meeting & rescuing Prince I really cannot say how much of the Lotus story there would be to tell – it is just impossible to say!

Thay, Nipper & Prince are our 3 cogs in the Lotus wheel and I was the common denominator in it all – a mere vehicle for the work which so desperately just needs to be done.
It certainly is a series of very fortunate events!

And that my friends, is the real blooming of the Lotus Heart!

Hello, I’m Janine!

I have known Lynn for over 30 years and we have a special connection. I was aware of the Lotus vision probably long before it was public, and we always knew deep down it would happen.

We both share a love & respect for all animals as does my partner Mark. Mark & I have 3 rescue dogs also known as “The Stinkers” – they are our world and are with us wherever we go – currently in Spain!

I was closely involved with the rescue of Prince in 2016! Like I say, I have rescued dogs before, but this was my first bovine experience!

I have been involved with fundraisers and helped out with activism trips etc. I also do a lot of work online.

Mark and I are so looking forward to seeing Lotus finally up and running and being a safe haven for more sweethearts like Prince!

Hi I’m Lisa –

I have been vegan for almost 6 years. I went vegan pretty much overnight back in April 2014 after watching some slaughterhouse footage online along with other well-known documentaries. Not long after I went vegan, so too did my family; once you know the truth and see it in the eyes of the animals it’s impossible to not be vegan. It wasn’t long after I began to realise that being vegan alone wasn’t enough and I decided to get more active and joined AR groups such as the Save Movement, Earthlings Experience, AV and other forms of street activism. I have been involved with AR for about 4 years, whether it’s on the streets, outside slaughterhouses or online promoting veganism to as many people as I can. I am a wife to my husband Stewart and mum of two vegan kids Lewis and Sophie; we all view animals as equals and not objects for us to eat, wear and use. So much so, it was not long after them becoming vegan they also got involved with

AR activism. We have 5 rescue cats and in early 2019 we rescued a 5 month old Border Collie pup – I spend a lot of my time looking after them all. I enjoy walking on good Scottish beaches, doing yoga, watching tennis (Andy Murray), cooking, baking, watching a good movie or reading a great book. I’m also keen and have an appetite to learn more about alternative medicines and more natural ways for people to heal. For the past 3 years I have been actively involved with Lotus Heart Sanctuary, and I help out as much as I can with stalls, talks and online promotion. Going forward I am really looking forward to seeing Lotus Heart Sanctuary grow and grow and become a forever home for as many animals as possible. I will continue to be part of the team and support such a wonderful cause and very special place.

annette h

Hi I’m Annette –

I’m an ethical Vegan and animal rights advocate dedicated to promoting justice, equality and liberation for all species who reside on this beautiful planet of ours.

I became vegetarian in 2001, the year of Foot and Mouth Disease in the UK which saw 6 million cows and sheep being killed in an effort to halt the disease. I remember watching the news one night and witnessing the horrific funeral pyres. The sight of these beautiful cows being unceremoniously slung into ditches before being set on fire will haunt me forever and I went vegetarian overnight! This is when it first hit me just how many millions of animals were being bred, enslaved and killed each year in the UK alone. Although I stopped eating any kind of animal flesh, or wearing their skins, I continued to consume eggs, milk and honey and thought nothing of it. I believed that these industries were ‘cruelty free’.

Then in 2007 I joined Facebook where I befriended some amazing Vegans whom I learned so much from. Up until then I had convinced myself that my choices weren’t harming others as, after all, I wasn’t eating their bodies, or, wearing their skins. However, once I learned about the cruelty and suffering in the dairy and egg industry, I knew I had to become Vegan. I wanted to live my life causing the least harm possible and recognising that sentient beings have the right not to be treated as our property. I no longer wished to be the cause of any animal suffering for my choices.

Everyone is Someone and should be afforded equal consideration and respect.

In 2016 I heard about the street activism group, Earthlings Experience who had regular activism events in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The main purpose was to show the public the truth behind the animal agricultural industry. They also talk about Veganism and its importance to the animals, the environment, our health and the planet. It was wonderful to be involved and meet so many amazing like-minded people who wanted to be advocates for the animals. It was also where I first met and connected with Lynn and Lisa.

I share my life with my husband who’s as passionate about Veganism as I am. Over the years we have been lucky enough to be owned by 3 wonderful dogs and 3 beautiful rabbits and they have been our lives. Having been made redundant over 2 years ago I decided I wanted to work for myself and started my own wee dog walking/small animal sitting business which I absolutely love.

I am so happy to have been asked by Lynn to be a part of her beautiful vision that is Lotus Heart Sanctuary

Hi I am Lesley-Anne, also widely known as L-A –

I was born in the 70’s and always felt comfortable around animals. At the age of 12 I knew it was wrong to eat animal flesh and I became vegetarian. When I left home my beliefs grew stronger
& stronger and I eventually became Vegan. I share my home with my husband Neil (who is also vegan) and our 3 rescue boy chinchillas, Chilli, Pepper & Eddie Van Scott.
Throughout my life I was always aware that what you put in your body has an impact on how you function. I was always interested in nutrition and fitness, spending many, many hours at the gym in my 20’s. I then became a Zumba Fitness instructor and now I meditate and run to keep myself fit.
I love to spend time with animals and actively promote Veganism and fundraising ideas, supporting many sanctuaries throughout the world. I have been actively involved with Lotus since day one – I met Lynn at Happy Moo Year back in December 2016 and have been an active part of Lotus since it launched in January 2017. I volunteer on stalls, do fundraising, share posts and blogs online, and brainstorm ideas with the rest of the team around everything from logos to merchandise.

Hi I’m Iona –

I got involved with Lotus a couple of years ago when I came across Lynn and Prince’s amazing story on Facebook.
I started helping out on the Bohemian Hippy stall at a few vegan fairs and now I help out on a regular basis with the social media side of things.
I love helping to spread the values and compassion that are shared by the Lotus team and I can’t wait for when the sanctuary is finally up and running to save more lives and makes a difference in this world.

Hi, I am Alison –

Most of my life I was vegetarian but following a chat in 2017 with my daughters business partner Mark regarding the health benefits of being vegan; on his advice I decided to watch Cowspiracy, Forks over Knives and What The Health – I watched them ALL in one afternoon and that was it…there was no going back. I had absolutely no idea how the dairy industry worked and to be honest, I was pretty ashamed that I had reached this age and no understanding about the truth behind eggs and dairy.
I then began to seek out vegan activists and animal sanctuaries to follow on social media as opposed to the ones I’d previously favoured…views and pretty interiors. One day, I came across Lotus Heart Sanctuary and I was delighted to find that this was a sanctuary which would be based in Scotland. I connected with Lotus first of all by purchasing products from Bohemian Hippy.
Shortly after I met Lynn and Lisa at a vegan festival; we all just totally clicked; it was like meeting up with old friends. We all had the same aim and it was great to be with likeminded people, who I didn’t have to justify my choices to.
I have written blogs, I help out on stalls, I share posts and Lotus information on social media, and I am part of the team who consult together about how we move forward as a team and organisation.
I am so looking forward to helping out even more in the future as the Lotus dream finally becomes a reality.

Hey I’m Leah –

I’m 19 and currently a student. I’ve been vegan for nearly 4 years now, and vegetarian long before that. I got involved with Lotus because I wanted to be involved in something positive. I wanted to give what time and energy I could to help a team working towards a goal that I share and who also have the same values as I do. Through Lotus I’ve met some amazing people who inspire me every day. I’m so thankful to be part of an amazing team who share my beliefs.

Hi my name is Annette –

I am a qualified Occupational Therapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Reiki Practitioner whose interests include animal rights, animal welfare, veganism, and promotion of a healthy lifestyle. I live my life accordingly, ensuring I exclude all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
I first got involved with Lotus over 2 years ago – I connected through other groups we were all part of. I have volunteered at stalls and do online promotion. I am looking forward to finally seeing this vision become a reality – so much time and hard work has been put into it all.
My favourite quotes are: –
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? – Jeremy Bentham.

Hello, I’m Ann –

I have been vegan for almost 5 years, 20 years prior to that I was pescatarian and vegetarian…my only regret is I didn’t make the decision sooner to go vegan.
I first started to get involved with Lotus through the Happy Moo Year event in 2016 and since then I have volunteered in a variety of ways including lots of stalls, online promotion, my son has donated art work. I try to be as actively involved as possible.