Saturday, 21 July 2012

Survival! continues to thrill

Above: On show in Fairlynch. (L-r) Harry Dickason, Victor Campbell, George Abbott, Raymond Priestley, Murray Levick, Frank Browning.  

These six men, the northern party of Captain Scott's last expedition, stand outside the entrance to the snow hole in which they have just spent the 1911-1912 Antarctic Winter in darkness. Photo taken 24 Sept 1912. Photo credit: Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

Half-through the final year of Fairlynch Museum's exhibition about the epic story of Scott's Northern Party it seems an appropriate moment to record some recent enthusiastic comments from visitors, made since this season's opening in mid-April.

Free admission is bringing in many more of them than in previous years, and 2012 being the centenary of Scott's death - as well as that of  R.F. Delderfield's birth along with the Year of the London Olympics and the Royal Jubilee - may see even more in the coming months.

The 'Survival!' exhibition really will be the last chance to see some of the rare artefacts and personal belongings on display in Fairlynch which give such an insight into the extraordinary bravery of these Antarctic pioneers.

It's especially gratifying to see how the Museum has been praised for its part in bringing Levick's story to light.

"What a wonderful, informative exhibition!" wrote Dr and Mrs Kurt Ebner from Kansas, USA. "Levick's and companions' story has been overshadowed by Scott's story, and it is very impressive to see it told so well here at Fairlynch Museum. Thank you."

Equally pleasing have been comments from visitors like Pauline Young, a former member of the Committee of Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. "A wonderful find, having worked with SCOTT 100 for three years," she wrote in our visitors' book. "Fantastic exhibition which told me a lot I did not know!!"

Further comments are below:  

"I particularly enjoyed the polystyrene ice-cave - very innovative!"
Mable, Budleigh
"Extremely interesting exhibition with excellent displays. Shows a different side of the known story."
M. and T. Rowlands, Sheffield
"Brilliant, fantastic to see some of Levick's photos and original equipment. Very well laid out and very absorbing."
"Very interesting and very informative."
"So pleased you have been able to mount this exhibition. We need to learn about such great people. Much enjoyed."
"What courage and tenacity! Such bravery."
Penny Turner
"Very interesting exhibition. Thank you for the display."
"Their story is well known but still fascinating and touching."
"Excellent exhibition. Good to have detail of the Northern Party and their amazing story of survival and achievement, thanks mostly it would seem to Budleigh Salterton's Levick."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope to come back."
Peter White
"Superb. My congratulations and thanks for the thought and effort that has gone into this exhibition!" "Came here especially to see Antarctic display re Levick and Inexpressible Island because we actually visited this Island in January this year during our expedition to the Ross Sea area."
Phil and Karen Tempest
"Loved the Antarctic display."
Rosie and Adrian Bower.

Visitors' experience of the Museum in general have been excellent judging by the following comments:

"I would find it hard to say which section is my favourite!"
S. Targett
"We have all said we could spend a whole week in here!"
The Mann Family, Birmingham
"I'd like to live in the museum! Fantastic collection and family history."
J. Kennard
"Lovely looking at the Royal Folder."
S. Davies
"Amazing museum - thank you!"
Archie and Jerry Smith
"Loved all of it and the school records."
Gill and Terry Day
"Very enjoyable."
Sue and Colin
"Very interesting. Well displayed artefacts."
Ron and Lesley Turner.
"Lovely. Thank you."
Julie Faber
"A very interesting museum! Thank you."
H. White

Comment from Dave Pearce, outdoor survival expert :
"This is an amazing story of survival and true grit which is so well laid out by the museum for all to enjoy."  Dave Pearce

Friday, 20 July 2012

Stephen Chambers RA at the Brook with A Survey Show

 The Art of War

 Budleigh's Brook Gallery is now, like Fairlynch Museum, a member of the recently launched Budleigh in Business group. Owner Angela Yarwood and her team have been busy with further exhibitions. Along with the town's festivals, events at the Fore Street gallery are making it an increasingly lively hub of the arts in East Devon. 

Internationally celebrated artist Stephen Chambers RA joined the team at the Brook to launch his solo show on Saturday 14 July. The exhibition runs until 21 August 2012.

The Professor

Trained at Central St Martins and Chelsea School of Art, Stephen Chambers was elected a Royal Academician in 2005.   He has held solo and group shows in galleries across the world including a large retrospective in the Frissars Museum, Athens in 2002.  Of note is his collaboration on three dance projects with the Royal Ballet: Sleeping with Audrey, Room of Cooks and This House Will Burn.

During the show, Stephen was able to elaborate on his major new project - a ground-breaking 70+ panel composition to be hung in the Royal Academy of Arts later this year.

"Stephen’s work is strong and beautiful, fascinating and intelligent, revealing some of the more interesting aspects of life not always recognised," reads the catalogue.  Although his style is seemingly narrative, Chambers notes ‘they are caught moments’ where generally his composition 'speaks of states of mind, behaviours and sensibilities’.   The work is instantly recognizable from its intense colours and clean lines, often using intricate patterns borrowed from Japanese screens."

The Moon is down

"In this exhibition I am keen to illustrate the full extent of Stephen’s artistic vocabulary.  Working with him has been an absolute pleasure," said Angela Yarwood.

"Representing an artist of Stephen’s calibre is a huge responsibility. It is my aim to reference Stephen’s expansive repertoire of printmaking media, books and paint, with their powerful and often unusual colour combinations - a show which is guaranteed to excite the mind and refresh the spirit!"   

The team at the Brook was delighted to welcome Mayor Courtney Richards and his wife on the evening of the preview. Photos of the event are below.

Joss & Darren Salter with Pene and Mark Duffelen

Angela Yarwood, Mayor Courtney Richards, Stephen Chambers,  and Pauline Richards

Chrissie Parrott, Fay & Harry Carter and & Tim Parrott

Richard & Judy Frazer-Axten and Adam Cox

Brook Gallery, Fore Street, Budleigh Salterton, Devon
Tel: 01395 443 003
Open 10.30am to 5pm, closed Sunday mornings and Mondays

Devon Dub Fest follows Fairlynch

Devon Dub Fest: not just about camper vans

Budleigh Salterton is fast becoming a festival town par excellence with celebrations of literature, jazz, science, classical music and Budstock well established with plenty of enthusiastic supporters. 

Now Fairlynch Museum Twitter followers have been joined by yet another local music festival now in its second year and boasting its own quirky flavour.

Based this year in the extensive grounds of Bicton College, Devon Dub Fest was formed, as the organisers say, by "a few of us VW lovers thinking that a VW festival was missing a little closer to our own homes." 

Quirkhill, described as "a young four-piece indie-punk band from Devon, deliver a unique and punchy contemporary sound that draws influence from a great and distinctive retro indie era. The creative energy, which fuels their song writing, is evident in all their edgy original tracks." Influences include The Horrors, Radiohead and Muse along with The London Symphony Orchestra.

More than just a gathering of camper van enthusiasts the Festival aims to give local bands and performers somewhere to share their talents with everyone. And impressively the organisers are seeking to raise as much money as they possibly can for the children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent to which they will be donating every penny of profit from proceeds of the event.

Obviously they're also aiming to make Devon Dub Fest a happy and successful occasion with visitors having a great time and plenty of smiling faces.   

Above: Budstock's Joe Holroyde

Joe Holroyde's Fireflies band, familiar to Budstock followers, will be one of the sixteen bands listed for the 2012 event at Bicton. With a strong West Country flavour to most of the performers  Devon Dub Fest looks as if it's going to be putting down firm roots in the Budleigh area.

Also playing at Devon Dub Fest: The Loose Cannons, praised as a "rather excellent 13 piece multi genre Devon based band with an intoxicating mix of soul, funk, ska, pop, classic covers and original material." 

They might even be tempting some of the town's opera-loving Music Festival fraternity, with the Saturday occasion being a VW Summer Ball – black tie and ball gown VW style, including a prize for the best dressed.

Devon Dub Fest runs from Friday 27 - Sunday 29 July, from 9.00 am - 5.00 pm.

For ticket and other information click on

Thursday, 19 July 2012

East Devon Heath Week

Above right: The silver-studded blue butterfly (Plebeius argus) is one of the wildlife  jewels of East Devon heathland.  Photo credit: Olaf Leillinger

Bats at Bystock, Dartford Warblers, Reptile Rambles... They're all part of East Devon Heath Week along with many other attractions in an annual series of events that aim to celebrate the fantastic heathland landscape of the region.

Above: Woodbury Common's heathland, a peaceful haven for wildlife

Each year the Heath Week takes place at the end of July, when Woodbury Common and its wildlife are at their best.

Not a snake but a harmless and beautiful sloe worm
Photo credit: Devon Clinton Estates

Heath Week offers a unique opportunity to take part in a wide range of activities ranging from the active to the relaxed and the light-hearted to the serious. The fun starts on Sunday 29 July 11.00 am at Woodbury Castle.

Download the East Devon Heath Week events leaflet for more information about what's on offer.

A Dartford warbler
Photo credit: Peter Beesley

There are specific events which will concentrate on different species that make lowland heath their home. Particular favourites are bat walks, pond dipping days and reptile hunts. One of the stars of the show is the rare Dartford warbler, shown above.
East Devon Heath Week is organised by the RSPB, Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, East Devon District Council, Devon County Council and the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Click on East Devon Heath Week events leaflet to find out more

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Another strand in the Budleigh web!

Guests at the Budleigh in Business launch party at Bicton College's EaRTH Centre in May

With the imminent launch of a community email newsletter local businesses - including Fairlynch Museum - will find yet another useful way of publicising themselves online.

Launched on 21 May this year, Budleigh in Business has hit the ground running with a rapidly growing membership and a lively programme of events.  

"We are an ever growing group of new and existing businesses and individuals who have come together through our shared enthusiasm to see the area we live and work in be the best it can be," the BiB website explains.

"We believe that, working together we can have vibrant local shopping, busy cafes, restaurants and pubs, a range of high quality local services and become an all-year-round tourist destination."

BiB's Marketing Co-ordinator Trudie Burne is now telling people about exciting plans for the next venture.  

"One of our new projects is Budleigh e-news – a community email newsletter sent out to residents and friends of Budleigh and the surrounding area once a month.  Sections include 'What's on - up-coming events and things to do',  'Made in Budleigh – local crafts people and producers',  'Sales and special offers – in local shops', and  'Other useful things – general advertisers plus useful things you may not have known.'"

"Advertisers are anything from cottage industry crafts people to charity events, gigs on in the area, local businesses, community services such as library events, to shops having sales on, new opening hours etc," explains Trudie. "Plus general interest ads relevant to local residents and visitors with what’s happening locally."

"It's getting launched on Monday 16 July with now 30 advertisers on the first one. We hope it will have something relevant and useful for everyone.  But we need subscribers!  We have about 120 at the moment and need a whole lot more to make this work for the advertisers and to get the content out to our local community. We are running the pilot for just three months."

To subscribe to the newsletter is easy. Just click on
and hit the subscribe button.

"And do please pass it on and spread the word!" asks Trudie.  

Friday, 13 July 2012

Centenary publications at Fairlynch

Two recently published books marking important local centenaries are now on sale at Fairlynch Museum's shop.

Copies of Antarctic expert Meredith Hooper's The Longest Winter sold out within months. A new stock has arrived in readiness for Budleigh Salterton's Literary Festival in September when the author will be one of the distinguished guest speakers.

 Antarctic author Meredith Hooper, left, with Fairlynch Museum Secretary Iris Cooper

The Longest Winter is the harrowing account of former Budleigh resident Murray Levick, the doctor with Scott of the Antarctic's Northern Party who survived the six-month polar winter in terrible conditions.  Internationally acclaimed for its depth of research and readability the book was published to coincide with the Scott 100 celebrations. 

Marking 100 years since the birth of East Devon author R.F. Delderfield, the centenary edition of Butterfly Moments by author Marion Lindsey-Noble appeared earlier this year and is also on sale at Fairlynch.

Following the success of Sidmouth's Delderfield Day Marion expressed her pleasure at the way in which local people, the Delderfield family and friends of the author had turned out in such numbers to remember him.

Meredith Hooper will be speaking about the background to her book on Friday 21 September 2012 at 11.00 am in Budleigh's Church on the Green.  The Box Office opens from 30 July.

For more details of Budleigh's Literary Festival click on 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Happy Independence Day

From his birthplace in East Budleigh, Devon, Sir Walter Raleigh wishes his American friends across the Pond "A Happy Independence Day."

A Raleigh corner is one of the permanent displays in Fairlynch Museum.

We are only a few doors away from The Octagon, the building where Sir John Millais stayed when working on his famous painting 'The Boyhood of Raleigh.'

A blue plaque commemorates the artist's stay in Budleigh Salterton.  

Across the Pond the state capital of North Carolina and its second largest city was named Raleigh in 1792 to honour Sir Walter, sponsor of the Roanoke Colony. A bronze statue, which has been moved around different locations within the city, was made in honour of the city's namesake.

There's even a neighbourhood in the city of Raleigh called Budleigh.

The 'Lost Colony' is commemorated at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

In 2018 we will be commemorating the 400th anniversary of the trial and wrongful execution of Sir Walter.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Photos sought for school centenary by Museum

With St Peter's School preparing for centenary celebrations this September the hunt is on for photos and other memorabilia which could be used in an exhibition. 

The photo above, with scaffolding in the background, shows children at the ceremony of laying the foundation stone for their new school.

The stone was laid on 18 September 1912 by Lady Alice Louisa Ewing, the sister-in-law of local landowner Mark Rolle. It can still be seen in the front of the existing building.

Fairlynch Museum is always on the lookout for local memorabilia of interest to Budleigh Salterton historians.

"We have a good record of the early days of St Peter's School including detailed logbooks in Fairlynch Museum's Local History Room," said Museum spokesperson Michael Downes. "But we're always keen to find out more, and it may be that people in Budleigh or even further afield may have items like old photos that they would be willing to lend for an exhibition."

Do you have any memorabilia of the Moor Lane school that might interest the Museum? If so Fairlynch would appreciate hearing from you on 01395 442666 or email  

Above: The opening of St Peter's Church of England Elementary School on 17 April 1913

Grand start to free admissions at Museum

It looks as though Fairlynch's new policy of free entry is paying off in terms of increased visitor numbers.

Chairman Roger Sherriff reports that well over 1,000 people have been welcomed by the Museum's volunteer stewards since charges were abolished at the beginning of June.   

"That is over four times the number for the same period last year," says Roger. "And we are confident of a continuing increase as word spreads about what a wonderful museum Fairlynch is, with so many interesting collections and exhibitions."

No entry fees are demanded but donations from visitors are most welcome to maintain both the collections and the fabric of the 200-year-old building, one of the very few thatched museums in Britain.

The above poster shows Exmouth Town Crier Roger Bourgein announcing free admission at the Museum. Copies have been sent to local schools.