Thursday, 31 March 2011

Good neighbours watch over museum

PC Simon Evans flanked by the two recently recruited Fairlynch stewards Hanneke Coates and Catrine Waller along with some of the Museum's loyal team of volunteer helpers

"It's one of Budleigh's treasures, and we're proud to support it," say Hanneke Coates and Catrine Waller. "We're looking forward to welcoming visitors and telling them something of the area's fascinating history." Local residents Hanneke and Catrine are among the newest recruits to a stewarding scheme at Budleigh Salterton's Fairlynch Museum which has been supported by Devon & Cornwall Police.

With its displays of local geology and natural history, mementos of Budleigh Salterton's railway and volumes of researched information on local events, developments and personalities, Fairlynch - the only thatched museum of its kind in the UK - is a precious repository of much of the town's heritage. The building is also one of Budleigh's best known landmarks, and celebrates its bicentenary this year.

Fairlynch is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers. It is home to one of the finest collections of costumes dating from Georgian times through to the 1950s, although only a small part can be displayed at any one time. There is also a beautiful display of local lace.

Now thanks to a local police initiative the museum's team of stewards is being enlarged by publicising their role through the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. "We know that Budleigh Salterton people see the museum as one of the town's valuable assets," says Police Community Support Officer Chantalle Major.

"We've been more than happy to help ensure proper security at Fairlynch by encouraging residents to volunteer as stewards. The town has a strong community spirit and we've been delighted to have the opportunity of contributing to it by using the Neighbourhood Watch scheme in this unusual way."

If you would like to learn more about the Fairlynch Neighbourhood Watch steward scheme please contact Sylvia Merkel on 01395 446493. The museum opens for the new season at 2.00 pm on 10 April.

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