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Lynne Franks: My West Country

Lynne Franks: My West Country

Lynne Franks, renowned as the doyenne of 80s fashion PR, inspiration for Ab Fab’s Edina, chanting Buddhist, buddy of Kate and latterly  champion of the female entrepreneur with her successful SEED network, and her latest incarnation as West Country aficionado. Later this year she moves into a historical house in Wincanton, the small, often neglected town predicted by many to become Bruton’s successor.

Lynne who has lived all over including a long stint in California, says the move to Somerset ‘felt like coming home.’

She is currently living in an eco house just outside Bruton, oblivious to its hipster credentials when she moved there but since reconnecting with many old friends.

A committed Buddhist, Lynne is inspired by the area’s spirituality and plans to host a festival near Glastonbury this year, celebrating the power of seven, with drumming in the surrounding hills, music and workshops.

At 68 she seems busier than ever. The SEED network, founded 17 years ago, now fosters sustainable enterprise for women across the world.

“When I came out of PR I realised the state of the world for women. I saw that women needed a new kind of leadership which comes from a more holistic and loving place.’

Her response was to hold a 2 day festival called What Women Want which was attended by 10,000 women. Then came the SEED Handbook, a best-selling guidebook for female entrepeneurs, published in 2000.

“People still come up to me and say I bought your book in 2000 and it changed my life and that to me is the greatest accolade of all.’

It’s easy to see why Lynne became the zeitgeist of fashion PR, representing everyone from Katharine Hamnett to Jean Paul Gaultier and celebrities such as Lenny Henry, Ruby Wax and Annie Lennox. More than 20 years on she’s still a whirlwind of ideas and enthusiasm.

“I’m supposed to be in my wise woman phase but I stlll love dancing and going to festivals. I think in many ways my generation of baby boomers have more in common with the Millenials, we like the same things – yoga, going to India, festivals.’

Her Wincanton house, a beautiful old place which dates back to the 15th century in parts, complete with wood panelled walls and a rediscovered elmwood floor, is currently undergoing a major refurb, right down to a cleansing of its ghosts.

Once finished, there will be space for a lifestyle shop and a studio for SEED workshops. Lynne also plans to form an agency for freelance creatives – ‘There is so much creative talent here, artists, photographers, designers. People are attracted to the West Country because it reflects who they are.’

And that’s not all. There will be retreats at Earth Spirit, the spiritual centre in the Vale of Avalon,  and vlogging via Facebook Live once she’s set up in Wincanton. It’s safe to say Wincanton is about to be put firmly on the map.

Can you tell us a little about Wincanton soon to be your new home?

Wincanton is halfway between Stonehenge and Glastonbury and has ley lines running beneath it, it’s a place of extraordinary history and charm. It used to be a postal town where they changed over the horses and it still has 11 pubs and lots of cobbled streets.

Would you share a hidden gem with us?

Divine Wines in Wincanton, a café and wine shop with a beautiful garden run by my friend Jenny, a fellow Buddhist who is unofficial mayoress of Wincanton.

Where would you go for a last meal in the West Country?

Lots of places but I think I’d have to choose a walk at Alfred’s Tower followed by Sunday lunch at the Bull Inn (in Hardway).

Where’s your favourite place for a campfire beach party?

I’ve never been to a campfire beach party but if I was invited to one I would go! I love the Jurassic Coast and Burton Bradstock in particular.

Where is your favourite view?

I love Stourhead. But every time I go for a walk in the West Country I discover another favourite view and my heart goes in my mouth every time I see the Tor.

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