Showing posts from August, 2009

A New Englander’s view of Old England

A US-born writer who has settled in Devon and become of the county’s best known historians will be holding a local history workshop in the picturesque village of East Budleigh on 5 September. (Left: East Budleigh's prettily twisting High Street with its many ancient thatched houses, looking down from the church)

Dr Todd Gray was born and raised in the Massachusetts towns of Ipswich and Gloucester, and first came to England on a school trip in 1973. He now has dual nationality.

He returned in 1978 to complete his undergraduate studies and in 1989 was awarded his Doctorate in History from the University of Exeter. He remains an Honorary Research Fellow of the University.

Dr Gray has written more than 40 books on the history of Devon and Cornwall and more than a dozen scholarly articles. He is Chairman of the Friends of Devon’s Archives, and a past Chairman of the Devonshire Association.

He has not shied away from awkward subjects in his writing. His Blackshirts in Devon studied the hist…

RNLI sea rescue at Budleigh Salterton

[Budleigh beach is generally reckoned to be a fairly safe place for swimming, and the River Otter estuary (pictured left) can look like a beautifully tranquil playground for kids. But even in mid-summer the currents and tides can suddenly transform it, as this story a few days ago of the dramatic rescue of a father and daughter shows. Even a fit adult – the father is a member of the Army Air Corps – can get into difficulties.]

Exmouth RNLI volunteer crew were tasked by Portland Coastguards on Tuesday 25 August 2009, to rescue an eight-year-old girl and her father after they got into difficulties in the sea off Otterton Ledge, Budleigh Salterton.

The young girl, Kerys Nash, had been boogie boarding in the River Otter when she was swept out to sea. Her father rushed into the sea to help, but with the strong outgoing tide they were both swept further out to sea. The alarm was raised by his sister-in-law who had been watching from the beach.

Dad, Adam Nash, 29, from Exeter explained: “When I…

Murder, Mayhem and the NHS in Budleigh Salterton

I should point out to my American readers that the title is nothing to do with the current political furore that has arisen from President Obama’s proposed reforms to the US healthcare system and the inflammatory contributions to the debate made recently by certain politicians on the right wing of the UK’s Conservative Party.

‘Murder, Mayhem and the NHS – Three one act plays’ is simply the latest production by the Salterton Drama Club.

‘Bang, You're Dead’, by Paul Reakes, is a comedy thriller, set in the lovely home of Lydia and Theo Spink which is about to be burgled. Lydia knows this because she has planned the burglary with Marcus, her boyfriend. However, the arrival of her husband, Theo, with his secretary, Miss Trim, throws the plan into confusion. Or has it? Not everything is as it seems in this play full of surprises, laughs, sadness and a little gunplay. The only thing it lacks is scruples.

Cast in order of appearance:
Lydia Spink - Jenny Roberts
Marcus Harwood - Daniel Wilson

Book sale at Salem Chapel

East Budleigh's historic Salem Chapel will be open to the public over the weekend for a sale of second-hand books. Entry is free on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 August, from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm. The Chapel, dating from 1719, is located in Vicarage Lane at the junction with B3178, close to Bicton Cross.

Proceeds from the sale will go towards maintenance of the ancient building, which was saved from dereliction when it was acquired by the Historic Chapels Trust in 1998 and underwent a £700,000 programme of repair and upgrading.

Salem Chapel is now available for bookings and for suitable community events such as concerts, exhibitions and meetings. It also retains its wedding licence. East Budleigh resident Kathy Moyle, a key figure in the campaign to restore the building explained that although the main cost had been met by the Historic Chapels Trust, donations and revenue from events like the book sale were vital for the day-to-day maintenance.

For further information please contact Kathy …

The Dove Brothers at Brewster Baptist Church

Brewster Baptist Church’s final Gospel concert for this year will be held on Saturday, August 29, at 7.00 pm in the sanctuary, and will feature The Dove Brothers, a talented group of five men who specialize in Southern Gospel music.

Formed in 1998 by brothers McCray and Eric Dove, The Dove Brothers Quartet has quickly become a household name in Southern Gospel music with their unique throwback style and current Southern Gospel sound.

The group is best known for their hit songs, Didn’t It Rain, Get Away Jordan, and their biggest hit to date, I Can Pray.

The group was awarded Horizon Group of the Year in 1999 and Favorite Traditional Male Quartet at the 2002 Singing News Fan Awards and hasn’t missed a beat since. Their recording, Never The Same, is the group’s most critically acclaimed and groundbreaking album to date.

Earlier this year they were named Favorite Male Quartet at the 2009 SGM FanFair Awards in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, having won the same award in March 2008.

The group’s latest …

Ageing or Aging?

[It’s not just the way we spell the word that’s different when it comes to looking after old people.
In almost every country of the world, the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group, as a result of both longer life expectancy and declining fertility rates.

But across the Atlantic they handle matters very differently from the UK when it comes to dealing with issues faced by the elderly.

Here in the UK, we have private organisations like the Centre for Policy on Ageing and charities like Age Concern Help the Aged which have recently decided to work together. There is no Government ministerial involvement, although a year ago the broadcaster and writer Dame Joan Bakewell was appointed an unpaid champion of the elderly by the government. And in July this year Health Secretary Andy Burnham unveiled proposals to set up a new National Care Service to help cope with …

Budleigh Salterton Art Club Summer Show 2009

Established in 1979, Budleigh Salterton’s Art Club is in the words of its website “a vibrant and active forum for the professional artist, the competent amateur or the budding wannabe” who live in the local area. I was told that there are currently 110 members, and newcomers are welcome.

With its 75 exhibitors the 2009 summer show – the Club’s 31st – offers an impressive display of talent in Budleigh’s Public Hall. There are 244 items on view and they cover a wide variety of subjects in different genres. All are for sale, although many have already been snapped up.

This is the artwork most famously associated with Budleigh. ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’, painted by the Victorian artist Sir John Millais in 1870 when he stayed in the town. I’ve always admired it, and often thought about how it might be viewed, as in

The first item on…

Lions’ Bank Holiday event to get off the ground

Budleigh Salterton seafront will be the setting for the Lions Club’s 11th annual balloon race on Bank Holiday Monday 31 August.

The spectacular event which takes place by the Longboat Café, complete with barbecue and stalls from 10.00 am until 5.00 pm, will raise funds for the Lions’ campaign to provide Medic Alert pendants and bracelets.

MedicAlert® is the only non-profit making, registered charity providing a life-saving identification system for individuals with hidden medical conditions and allergies.

This takes the form of body-worn bracelets or necklets – known as MedicAlert Emblems – bearing the MedicAlert symbol on the disc and supported by a 24-hour emergency telephone service.

MedicAlert® was founded in America in 1956 by Dr Marion Collins and Mrs Chrissie Collins after their daughter almost died following an allergic reaction to the horse serum used in a routine tetanus antitoxin test. From this small beginning, MedicAlert® has grown to a worldwide membership of over four mil…

Mini Grummage Sale at Fairlynch

Whatever a grummage sale is, it sounds interesting, as if it’s a chance for a good rummage both for donors wanting to clear out their attics and for bargain-hunters on the day. Budleigh Salterton's Fairlynch Museum grummage sales have been an annual event for many years and one is coming up this Bank Holiday Monday 31 August 2009.

From 10.00 am onwards you have the chance of grummaging through piles of bric-à-brac, jewellery, china and brass, linens, small kitchen equipment and garden tools, books, garden ornaments, plants, cakes and any other collectables.

Proceeds from the sale go towards the upkeep of the Museum (pictured above).
Good hunting!

Further information about Fairlynch Museum is at,com_mumancontent/task,view/sectionid,12/

Not a loopy idea at all

The crime rate in Budleigh Salterton is fairly low, but you can’t be too careful and local police are helping the public to protect their property against pickpockets with a novel but simple scheme.

Yesterday PCSO Malcolm Maguire was visiting the town’s charity shops to distribute blue nylon lanyards which can be looped through bag handles and clipped to wallets and purses to keep them safe.

Here at Oxfam, where the picture was taken, volunteer staff reported that the lanyards – which are free – were being taken at a brisk rate by the public.

A great run for a great cause in Budleigh Salterton

“Fantastic scenery”, “a challenging course”, and “a good friendly atmosphere” are just some of the comments that have been made over the years by runners in Budleigh Salterton’s Jurassic Coast Run 10K.

The 2009 event on Saturday 22 August is likely to continue a successful tradition, with an anticipated 250+ runners from all over the UK taking part.

As in previous years, the Jurassic Coast Run has raised money for Exeter-based cancer charity FORCE and is again being organised by Exmouth’s Jane Newman.

With a course embracing coast, cliff, river and rural paths the Run offers amazing views as well as some tough challenges. Starting at 11.00 am at Budleigh’s Lime Kiln car park, it follows the River Otter before turning on to the Jurassic Coast path as far as Crab Ledge, where the route turns inland. It then follows beautiful country tracks before turning back along the River Otter and ending at the Lime Kiln car park where the runners are rewarded with …

Reel deals in Budleigh and Brewster

After its successful launch last year with the showing of nine films, Budleigh Salterton Film Society’s second season will be starting in September with new members queuing up to join.

The original target of 250 members for the Society has been exceeded to such an extent that an additional session had to be arranged, and the 2009-10 season will follow the previous pattern, with monthly screenings on Wednesdays.

Early sessions start at 5.00 pm for those with white membership cards. Doors open at 4.30 pm, and tea is available. The later sessions are at 8.00 pm (cream membership cards). Doors open at 7.30 pm, with wine available. ‘Early’ and ‘Late’ cards may be exchanged between members.

The price of membership has been kept as for last year – £24 per person for existing members, £29 for new members (includes a one-off joining fee of £5)
People interested in joining should contact the membership secretary, Kirsten Goodesmith, 11a, Westfield Road, Budleigh Salterton. Tel: 01395 446257; Email:…

Music at the Mill: 20, 27 August 2009

Music at the Mill: Michael Weston King (20 August) and Corinne West (27 August)

Two star performers in their particular genres will conclude the Music at the Mill summer season on successive dates at Otterton, picturesquely situated on the River Otter just a few miles north of Budleigh Salterton.
On Thursday 20 August 2009 former leader of the Good Sons and now a highly respected solo musician, Michael Weston King brings his trademark vocals and melodic songs back to the Mill. Expect great originals plus stunning interpretations of songs by such stars as Neil Young, The Beatles and Bob Dylan. “One of Britain’s most eloquent singers - achingly beautiful stuff,” was a verdict from a Daily Express reviewer.
Then a week later on Thursday 27 August, Otterton Mill music lovers will have the chance of hearing American artiste Corinne West. This is a very welcome return from one of the most exciting and soulful country/ folk/ bluegrass musicians to have emerged from the US in recent years. “Cor…

Homeowner lops 157 trees on protected bluff

[Conservationists and tree-lovers are as active in Cape Cod as they are in East Devon when it comes to defending the area’s natural beauty, and Brewster, as seen in the aerial picture, has even more trees to protect than Budleigh.]

A Point of Rocks Beach homeowner has a date with the Brewster Conservation Commission following the topping off of 157 trees on a protected bluff overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

Salvatore and Deborah Vasta, of Lenox, property owners at 83 Dune Road in Brewster, have submitted a re-vegetation mitigation plan to restore the coastal bank where they trimmed the trees without approval from the conservation commission earlier this spring.

Salvatore Vasta cut the trees to between four and eight feet along the crest of the 20-foot-high bank. The property shares a 1,200-foot private beach with 100 other homes around Point of Rocks. A number of the topped trees were on community beach property, the rest were on the Vastas’ property.

Under Brewster bylaws, there’s a no-disturba…

Ellingtonia @ Budleigh

The stunning Ellingtonia are set to return to Budleigh Salterton in September, presenting a celebration of Duke Ellington's extraordinary music of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Those who saw the band at Budleigh's festival last year will know what to expect: classic songs and great swing tunes performed with great style and energy for a 21st century audience.

Formed in 2004, Ellingtonia are the only band in the Westcountry, and one of very few nationally, to specialize in this repertoire.

I'm Beginning to See The Light, It Don't Mean A Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing, Take the 'A' Train, Mood Indigo and Don't Get Around Much Anymore: the band's two-hour show features a stack of well-known songs, ranging from sophisticated ballads to driving dance numbers, from sultry blues to exotic instrumentals.

With a nine-piece line-up of top musicians, the band makes a big sound, performing with a real love of the music. The 'front line' features all the specia…

Massachusetts cancer group’s triathlon today in Brewster

[With its massive Nickerson State Park on the doorstep, Brewster is an ideal location for sporting events of all kinds. A Quincy-based breast cancer organization, the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition is holding a triathlon today in the Park from 7.00 am to noon to raise money for its educational programmes.]

The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s Against the Tide event in Brewster could feature as many as 400 participants swimming, walking and kayaking for their cause.

“Breast cancer has touched my family,” said Quincy resident Debra Tobin, whose partner, aunt and sister all were diagnosed with breast cancer. “These are all young women who are afflicted with a disease that is preventable.”

Each participant will make a minimum contribution of $150 to the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, which provides information to women on how to lessen their risk of developing breast cancer.

“It is important to educate…

Beavering away to give you a fabulous family day out

It’s not just the beaches of East Devon, including Budleigh Salterton’s, that make the area popular with tourists. The cathedral city of Exeter with its shops, ancient buildings, quayside and guided tours is not far of course.

But Devon is a largely rural county with major visitor attractions based on country estates which are still independent family-run affairs. Bicton Botanic Gardens with one of the finest collection of trees in Britain are just outside Budleigh Salterton. And just outside Exeter is Crealy Great Adventure Park with a huge list of rides, attractions and events attracting up to 500,000 visitors a year.

One attraction with its own special character is Escot (pictured above), near Ottery St Mary and only 30 minutes from Budleigh. Set in 220 acres of 18th century parkland, Escot prides itself on being a place for people who love nature, being uniquely attractive to garden enthusiasts and families alike. …