This site is a sort of museum in cyberspace full of odds and ends about life in Budleigh Salterton.
It celebrates among other things the connection between our corner of East Devon - birthplace of both Sir Walter Raleigh and Roger Conant, founder of Salem, Massachusetts - and the United States of America.
The site was inspired by the friendship link established in 2001 with the Cape Cod community of Brewster.
Brian Pepperrell (10 October 1938 - 21 June 2013) Trustee of Fairlynch Museum and Arts Centre
Brian Pepperrell, pictured at a Fairlynch grummage sale in
Most of the volunteer helpers at Fairlynch live in the
immediate area of Budleigh Salterton. Brian’s loyalty to the Museum was
demonstrated by his tireless devotion to the Local History Group and his
willingness to attend Trustees’ meetings, despite having
to travel from Dunkeswell, near Honiton. It meant making a round trip of 44
miles on a regular basis for ten years.
Brian began his education at SouthvillePrimary School
in Feltham, Middlesex. He took his 11-plus and, after achieving a remarkable
98% in Maths, he won a place at HamptonGrammar School. After a
promising start he ‘left at the Headmaster's Pleasure’ at fifteen to join the
RAF as an Apprentice Tradesman.
Brian Pepperrell's RAF experience included working on aircraft like this Valiant V bomber
Photo credit: Adrian Pingstone
After successfully completing his training as a Electronics,
Instruments and Radar Technician at RAF Locking, Weston-super-Mare, Brian was
posted to 90 Sqn. RAF Honington in Suffolk working on Valiant bombers, and
later to Boscombe Down. He eventually left the RAF and began working at ICL in Reading and Putney as a
Computer Engineer. This was followed some years later with a move to BAA at
Heathrow as, initially, a Security Officer on the High Altitude bomb detection
facility followed by the role of Traffic Control for the Local Emergency
Management Agency (LEMA) which he held until retirement. During this time he
was also made a Freeman of the City of London.
Following retirement Brian took the opportunity to approach
the volunteer service. He was sent to help at FairlynchMuseum
where he joined the Local History Group, performing research for people who
approached the Museum for help with genealogy questions. Henriette
Feltham, a member of the Local History Group for seven years, remembered his
very good eye for detail. “His computer skills were of great use in the
laborious task of filing into an easily accessible system the ‘stock’ of items
of local historical interest in Fairlynch's possession.”
Fascinated by history, Brian set out to research the origins
of one particular photograph unearthed by the Museum. The little open fishing
boat in the picture eventually proved to be the vessel used by the Savident
family to make their daring escape from the Channel
Islands prior to the German occupation of 1940 during World War
Two. Asked to make a formal presentation of his discoveries to the family he
was surprised to discover the family member stepping forward to receive it was
none other than John Savident – the future actor, best known as the cheerful
butcher Fred Elliott in Coronation
Street - had been born on Guernsey
Brian’s other major ‘hobby’ was the Freemasons where he held
both London Grand Rank and was the Provincial Grand Supreme Ruler, Order of the
Secret Monitor (Province of Devonshire).
Brian Pepperrell, pictured left, at a Freemasons’ event in
the Mount Edgcumbe Masonic Hall, Plymouth September 2012. Photo courtesy of The Ancient and Masonic Order of the
“He was certainly a committed
and able Freemason,” noted Lt Cdr Angus Hannagan, Deputy Grand Secretary.“It
was indeed a big part of his life and he will be missed by the many Orders of
Freemasonry in which he made a significant contribution.” His funeral at
Whimple was attended by over 40 senior figures from various Masonic Orders,
with both London and the Channel
Brian’s commitment to Fairlynch
was steadfast in spite of the ongoing illness which he endured. “He was
researching for our 2014 World War One exhibition right up until the end,”
recalled his colleague and fellow-Trustee Margaret Brett.“His steady manner, as the deadline for
Easter openings fast approached, will be much missed, as will his ability to
ferret out that extra piece of information. He turned his hand willingly to all
aspects of the work including display, computing, repackaging artefacts and, of
course, his main interest, research.”
With the centenary of Scott of the Antarctic's ill-fated polar expedition very much in mind, a play with close links to Fairlynch Museum's 2011 exhibition 'Survival!' is coming to Budleigh Salterton's Public Hall on Wednesday 25 May.
I spoke to Jenny Coverack, the actress who will be performing it.
If you're a BBC Radio 4 listener you may well have heard her reading the Book at Bedtime 'Flush' by Virginia Woolf in February this year. More recently she was the midwife in 'The Archers.' Other BBC productions including 'Poetry Please' and 'The Afternoon Play' have also employed her acting talents.
Actress Jenny Coverack: "passionate" about playing the character of Kathleen Scott. She is pictured here performing part of her play 'A Father for my Son' in Scott's hut at Cape Evans, on Ross Island, Antarctica
Trained at the Bristol Old Vic, Jenny Coverack has a voice familiar to millions of radio listeners. She grew up…
Reginald Alfred 'Reg' Varney was an English actor, most notable for his role as a cheerful Cockney bus driver in the 1970s TV sitcom On the Buses.
For ten years he lived at Dark Lane House on picturesque Dark Lane in Budleigh Salterton, seen above. Millions of television viewers remember him with affection. He has been described as belonging to the old school of comedians, with his dislike of much contemporary television and his pride in never using swear words to get a laugh.
Varney was born on 11 July 1916 in Canning Town, which was then part of Essex but is now part of East London. His father worked in a rubber factory in Silvertown and he was one of five children who grew up in Addington Road, Canning Town. He was educated at the nearby Star Lane Primary School in West Ham and after leaving school at 14, he worked as a messenger boy at the Regent Palace Hotel, pictured above.
Above right: A Windmill
Theatre poster. The first 'Revudeville' act opened in 1932. The show…
with bridge, with two figures on a path, a red brick wall and two cattle
grazing. Oil on canvas, framed, signed by the artist.490mm
W x 400mm H (approx.) From today,
you have the extremely rare opportunity of owning an original painting by Reg
Varney and supporting a wonderful local charity.
The star of
The Rag Trade and On the Buses was a talented artist as well as a successful
actor and gifted musician. In his
autobiography he reveals that his dream as a boy was to go to art school, but
he failed the maths test. The above sketch of two dogs was done by Reg at the age of 13.
As part of
Fairlynch Museum’s exhibition ‘Our Little Clown’ his paintings are being
offered for sale by his family to raise money for The Children’s Hospice South
West. http://www.chsw.org.uk/ To buy a
painting, choose one you like. Make a note of its number. The one featured here is Number 1. Seven paintings are being sold and the best way to see them is to visit Fairlynch Museum where they are all…