Showing posts from July, 2015

Kimmo Evans (1972-2014)

There’s a poignant air about this photo that I took of Kimmo Evans in November 2013, a year before his death from leukaemia. 
He’d come to Budleigh Salterton’s Peter Hall to give a talk jointly organised by the Otter Valley Association and Fairlynch Museum.  As Community Development Officer for East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty he wanted to explain why the AONB is celebrating its 50 years.
It was an excellent talk: he radiated enthusiasm for his work. I still remember his amazement that so few of the audience had heard a nightjar, and the offer that he made on the spot to organize a night-time trip to Woodbury Common to hear its strange whirring call. 
You can listen to it now at
At the time I noticed how frail he seemed, and later I learnt that he was ill. It was sad to learn of the premature death of such a lively, interested and much-loved man.
The following appreciation of Kimmo’s life was contributed by Chris Woodruff, AONB Man…

Hunting the Ladies of the Raj: Part 2

This post carries on from a previous one at

Lord Byron in Albanian dress painted by Thomas Phillips in 1813. Venizelos Mansion, Athens (the British Ambassador's residence).  Did he know any ladies of the Raj?

My journalist visitor at Fairlynch Museum whom I mentioned previously was Mavis Ellis. She seems to have specialised in writing on 19th century subjects including Lord Byron, who is buried at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Hucknall near her home in Nottinghamshire.

A blue plaque identifies Henry Carter's home on Fore Street Hill, now known as Umbrella Cottage 

I sent her up the hill to look at Umbrella Cottage, the home of Henry Carter, the doctor, geologist and marine sponge expert who had spent so much of his working life in 19th century India.
She did not return to the Museum, so I imagine that she may have gone back to Sidmouth,  disappointed that the ladies of the Raj had disappe…

Heath Week Sunday 26 - Friday 31 July 2015

I snapped a photo of this poster, one of many in the area publicising the 2015 East Devon Heath Week.

But what better way to advertise the event than with this t-shirt, worn by Fairlynch Museum’s own Nicky Hewitt.
Nicky is in charge of the archaeology and geology collections at the Museum in the Priscilla Carter Room, where you can also see displays of the local wildlife which makes our region so special.    
A geologist by training, Nicky works part-time as an administrator at the RSPB nature reserves on the Exe Estuary and at Aylesbeare. You can find out about them here and here.
I regularly mention on this blog around this time of the year the East Devon Heath Week. It starts this Sunday 26 July from 11.00 am at Woodbury Castle, the Iron Age hill fort mid-way between Budleigh Salterton and the village of Woodbury.

Smiles and sunshine for the 'Smugglers and Pirates' Family Fun Day

Serious contenders in the costume competition 
Fairlynch's Smugglers and Pirates-themed Family Fun Day was a hit with the crowds on last Saturday 18 July when the museum welcomed visitors young and old. 

Attractions included games, stalls, 'Smugglers in the Stocks', and a costume competition judged by the Mayor of Budleigh Salterton, as well as cream teas.
"It was great to have parents and children from the local schools and pre-school groups join us for the Fun Day," said organiser Christine Bailey.  "The museum is a resource for all the families in this area and we want them to recognise us as a source of entertainment as well as information."
Museum Chairman Trevor Waddington  congratulated the volunteers for having worked so hard to make the Fun Day event the huge success that it undoubtedly was.

Smiles and sunshine for the Smugglers and Pirates Day

A fun outing for the family in Fairlynch Museum garden 

That knife shows that he means business

Entering comp…

Obituary: Bernard Quinn (1926-2010)

This blog, as I write elsewhere, is a kind of museum in cyberspace covering mainly news and features relating to Budleigh Salterton and the surrounding villages of the Lower Otter Valley.
Inevitably it’s turning out to be a useful archive for people wanting to stage exhibitions at Fairlynch Museum, or simply to fill gaps in research, with that useful search engine box in the top left corner.
So I was a bit put out to discover that somehow I hadn’t included the following appreciation of the life of Museum volunteer Bernard Quinn, although it was published on the Devon Museums’ Fairlynch site on 2 February 2012.
Well, I can’t get everything  right.  Anyway, here's the missing post:
Although some years have passed now since his death at the age of 84, on 9 April 2010, Bernard Quinn, pictured above, is well remembered at Fairlynch for the cheerful and friendly approach with which he greeted visitors and fellow-volunteers, as well as for his spirit of dedication to the Museum.  Sam Richa…