How a near-fatal accident spurred a baker onto a more mindful way of life
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A man who nearly died after falling off a cliff in France has combined his love of baking with his interest in mindfulness to create a unique business after his life was turned upside down.
After studying law at university in Bristol, Tim Leach, from Nayland, hoped to follow in his father's footsteps, and pursue a career in law.
Then he suffered a freak accident on his ski season in 2007, which changed his outlook on life.
The then 27-year-old was put into an induced coma after suffering head injuries, a broken back and neck and shattering various bones.
Doctors told his family it wasn't looking good, but miraculously he regained consciousness three weeks later.
After six weeks in intensive care in France he was flown to Addenbrooke's Hospital where his real recovery started.
At first he didn't recognise people and his memory was shot. He couldn't remember the fall at all and the first memory he has is waking up at his parents house in Suffolk, realising law was no longer an option for him.
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From there it was a long road to recovery for Mr Leach, who plunged himself into a shirt making business but quickly realised his mindset was "not right".
He said at that point all he wanted was to make money and described it as a "cathartic" way to get his life back on track.
"It was a great experience but it wasn't what I wanted to do with my life," explained the 41-year-old.
It wasn't until a few years ago on a pick up artist course in London, that he discovered the world of meditation and how important it is to love yourself to help you find the right path in life.
"I was suddenly changed by it," said Mr Leach, who now lives in Nayland. "I began to meditate every day and I realised this what what I wanted to go into."
He learnt all about the mind and self-love, discovering how important it is to appreciate the situation you are in, rather than try to change.
He completed a mindfulness teacher training course, and one on meditation, and passed both with flying colours.
But Mr Leach only realised the correlations between baking and mindfulness after being taught how to make sourdough bread by a family friend a few years ago.
Instead of bringing wine to the party, his cousin's husband brought two loaves of bread, and this inspired Mr Leach to learn more about it.
"They all go hand in hand," he said. "You can't make sourdough bread with the flick of a switch, you have to spend your time baking it over 36 hours.
"Baking is so peaceful."
While still living in London, Mr Leach reached out to his local community on the neighbourhood hub website, Nextdoor, offering to teach people how to make sourdough.
During the sessions he would explain the idea behind mindfulness and how it corresponds with baking, and he was inundated with people wanting to learn more. He soon began to charge people for the sessions, before officially launching his business the 'Mindful Baker' in January of last year.
He had clients from as far as South Africa and Asia, but lockdown completely put a stop to his success, so he began to bake again for the people in his street to keep spirits up in lockdown.
He returned to Nayland in October and has been converting his shed into a bakery, where he hopes to invite people for life coaching and mindfulness courses - and of course to make more bread.
He is donating one of his pizza kits to anyone struggling during this third lockdown, and offering his expertise in life coaching.
He said: "It makes me so happy to help people.
"I am using what I have learnt from my accident and my mindfulness courses to show people how I am here now."
For more details about the Mindful Baker and his sessions, visit his website.