In August 1997 The Mail focused on a man whose life changed after he attended a workshop in Buddhist philosophy and meditation at the Manjushri Centre of the New Kadempa Tradition sect of Buddhism at Ulverston's Conishead Priory.

Fifteen years previously Steve Palmer had been a chemical engineering graduate retraining as an outdoor activities teacher.

But after visiting Conishead Priory he went on to be Kelsang Tsultrim, a shaven-headed, orange-robed monk who taught the faithful philosophy and meditation at one of the sect's several regional centres nationwide.

In 1997 he was teaching in Derby. But in August that year he was due to spend a fortnight as one of a team of teachers leading a summer festival for 1,300 followers of the faith at the Manjushri Centre.

Kelsang, 42, was 27 when he first came to the priory, which was to be his home for the next few years.

"At the time I was training to be an outdoor activities teacher. I had no intention of becoming a monk.

"I was just interested in Buddhist philosophy and wanted to learn more.

"When I saw it first-hand I knew this was the life I wanted to follow."

Not every devotee of the sect became a monk or nun, reported The Mail. Most stayed in their communities living and working as normal and using the faith as their religion, like regular churchgoers.

Kelsang's day began at around 6am or 7am when he rose and prepared offerings for his personal shrine, usually symbolic bowls of water,

Then he prayed or mediated before breakfast.

From 9am to 11am he studied a teacher training programme, which helped him to instruct others. He then had an hour of private studies before a lunch of rice and vegetables.

The afternoon was taken up with voluntary tasks around the centre, such as cleaning.

After an evening meal until bedtime, he ran classes in Buddhist philosophy and meditation for devotees and newcomers to the faith.