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 Newsletter Editions
No. 115 - August 01-08-2008


(illustration by Paul Swailes)

 

BERRYNARBOR LADIES' GROUP

Twenty members attended the meeting on the 3rd June with Janet Gibbins presiding. The Coastguard Line Manager, Ian Lyndsay, gave an interesting talk. He is responsible for the coastal area from Woolacombe to Bridgwater. There are six teams to look after, made up of 60 volunteers. Eighteen rescue centres are manned continuously, with the Maritime Rescue Service organising the rescues. If a person is lost overboard, computers work out which direction he or she will be drifting due to the tides.

Each merchant ship has a beacon to show its location and so can be contacted to assist in the rescue. Our coastguard organisation is the best in the world, with 3,600 volunteers nationwide but there are big challenges ahead, not least the fact that all volunteers will require medicals. Coastguards are also responsible for the recovery of pollution at sea.

The Meeting ended with the usual tea or coffee and biscuits with Joan Wood winning the raffle. On the 9th June some members visited Chambercombe Manor in Ilfracombe. After an interesting tour of the house, they enjoyed a delicious cream tea and a walk around the garden. Helen Latham made a welcome return on the 1st of July. This time she spoke about Leonard Cheshire and his involvement in the Cheshire Homes.

Leonard Cheshire was born in August 1917 and during the Second World War was a pilot with Guy Gibson. He met and married Constance, who was the first American war bride. She eventually returned to America and they divorced.

Observing how injured service men and women were treated, Leonard was concerned and so he bought a manor house from an aunt and fitted it out with the help of the matron from a local hospital. It was difficult to run it properly, due to lack of finances, but this improved after obtaining a £50,000 grant and the appointment of trustees.

Civilians were also accepted in the home and one old lady always wore a hat with a red feather, so a red feather was adopted as the emblem of the Cheshire Homes. Leonard spent the next few years renovating old buildings in Cornwall, although he wanted to become a monk. The second Cheshire Home was called St. Teresa's and the third was Holy Cross - a psychiatric unit. A local bus company gave him two buses which were adapted as living accommodation and he travelled around the country talking about the Homes.

About this time Helen wrote to him suggesting he came to Wales as there was a great need for a home and he was very happy to oblige!

He later married Sue Ryder [Sue Ryder Care] but the two organisations operated separately. Helen remembers him as a very caring man. He made you feel wanted, treated the handicapped well and had a dirty laugh! He died in 1990 of motor neurone disease. There are now hundreds of Cheshire Homes.

After Helen's interesting talk, there was the usual time for a chat and refreshments. Janet Steed won the raffle and Marion Carter made a plea for cakes for the cake stall at the Berry Revels on the 19th August.

There is no Meeting in August so the next Meeting will be on 2nd September when Dave Webb will be telling us about mining in Combe Martin and on the 7th October Mr. K. Pugsley will be talking about hypnotherapy.

These Meetings take place in the Manor Hall on the first Tuesday of each month at 2.00 p.m. Visitors and new members are always welcome. Doreen

 

WEATHER OR NOT

The last day of April was cold, wet and miserable - the temperature only reached 9.6 Deg C. - exactly one week later we were basking in 25.2 Deg C! The fine weather broke on the 15th, the first day of the Devon County Show. On the Bank Holiday Monday, 26th, we recorded wind speeds up to 32 knots, these were higher in more exposed positions and there were quite a few trees and branches down.

The total rainfall for the month was 81mm [3"] of which 14mm [9/16"] fell in about one hour on the 22nd. If anything, this total is slightly below average for us, but April is another very variable month - other parts of Devon reported rainfall well above average. The maximum temperature of 26 Deg C on the 12th was warmer than the last few Mays, but was not record breaking, neither was the minimum temperature of 3.7 Deg C on the 19th.

June was a dry month with a total rainfall of only 38mm [11/2"] and it was also quite cool with a maximum temperature of only 23 Deg C on the 9th. This was the lowest June maximum that we have ever recorded by over 2 Deg C. The minimum temperature of 6.4 Deg C was nearer to the average. The most notable feature of June was the wind, which was up to near gale or gale force on at least three days, and for the second half of the month was quite strong on most days. The maximum gust was 30 knots on the 29th, which was not unusual but we were sheltered here from the worst of the wind.

In May 156.27 hours of sunshine were recorded and in June the total was 180.08 hours. Looking back these figures are fairly average for these two months.

The total rainfall that we have for the first six months of the year is 509mm [20 3/16"] and if July carries on the way it has started, that figure is going to increase considerably - more about that in the next newsletter.

Simon and Sue

 

 

IN MEMORIAM

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.

But with such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Alfred Lord Tennyson [1809-92]

 

LEN COLEMAN

It was with deep sadness the village learnt that after his long and patient struggle, Len had died peacefully on the 27th June, at home with June at his side. He will be sadly missed.

Len loved the village and took an active interest in its many events and activities, serving on our Parish Council for many years. St. Peter's Church was filled with family, friends and neighbours for his final farewell on the 9th July.

Len's last couple of years had not been easy for him but they were made more bearable due to the incredible care and love given him by June, and we send her our love and prayers at this time of sorrow.

________

Len was born in London in 1916 but spent most of his life in Buckinghamshire, where he and his first wife, Peggy, owned and ran The Old Swan public house near Great Missenden. They bought Swan Cottage as a holiday home and retired permanently to it in the late 1970's.

After Peggy's death in 1989, Len devoted his life to serving as a Councillor with the Parish Council for more than twenty years. He also became Chairman of the Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station - a position he held for over twenty years - a cause close to his heart because of the succession of boats he kept at Watermouth Harbour.

Len loved this village and enjoyed the friendship and kindness of its inhabitants.

He and I met and married in June 1998 and have spent ten happy years together. The last year of Len's life was difficult, but the kindness, help and support of so many friends and neighbours made his last few months more bearable. He passed away peacefully in my arms on the 27th June.

I should like to offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who sent such kind messages of sympathy and who attended Len's funeral service at the Parish Church in such appalling weather conditions. The service was conducted beautifully by Keith and the love and support of all those present meant so much to me.

This village and its residents are truly wonderful - long may it stay so.

June

 

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

Christians Together in Combe Martin and Berrynarbor held their United Service at St. Peter's on Sunday, 29th June. We had a good congregation and the service was led by Rector Keith with the Baptist Minister, Philip Young, giving the address. Christian Aid collections, made during May, were offered up from both villages at the end of the service, resulting in a final total of £664.98.

Church members were out again at the end of June delivering Gift Day envelopes around the village. It is surprising how quickly the time goes at the lych gate on a fine day! To date donations for the upkeep and running of the church have reached a generous £840. Thank you all once again for your continuing, unstinting support.

DON'T FORGET the Summer Fayre to be held in the Manor Hall on Tuesday, 5th August, 6.30 p.m. onwards. Admission is free, so come and join in the fun.

Harvest celebrations will be on Sunday, 5th October with the Supper and Auction of produce on Wednesday, 8th October. Full details will appear in the next Newsletter.

Friendship Lunches at The Globe will be on Wednesdays 27th August and 24th September.

Mary Tucker

 

BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE

Since the new Shop opened in the spring, Berry in Bloomers have concentrated on the car park area, with a work party weeding and tidying. It has been decided to cover the area behind the Shop with weed suppressing membrane and to plant shrubs and flowering plants through this.

Thank you to Tony Summers for his magnificent job of repairing the very tatty finger post at the bottom of Barton Lane/Castle Hill.

We have continued with the litter picks and planting of tubs around the village. This includes planting up and looking after the tubs in the centre of the village outside empty houses, either up for sale or holiday homes. This adds to the commitment of watering, so many thanks to those that do this very necessary task.

Late May saw the arrival of the hanging baskets. The van arrived in the village centre to unload and the heavens opened! But once again they look lovely and defy the elements.

The first of the Open Garden events was the Sterridge Valley in June. The afternoon was well supported, especially by locals, and why not, as the gardens and weather were lovely and a scrumptious cream tea was on offer all for only £4.00?

The second event in July followed horrendous weather that week and could easily have been a washout. However, we must have done something right as although cold, windy and threatening, the rain held off until 5 o'clock. There were many holidaymakers at this event and again the gardens were lovely, with Longacre and Sloley Farm new gardens for this year. Thank you to all the good folk involved with both these events.

Friday, 11th July and the Britain in Bloom judges came to inspect the village. They learned of all our plans, saw our handiwork and visited the gardening club at the School in the middle of a very heavy shower. Their visit took in a trip around the village and finished with morning coffee at The Lodge. They appeared to love everything, but we'll not have the result for a few weeks yet.

Thank you to everyone in the village who supports us, especially Mike Hart and family for their very generous donation.

 

P.S. Look out for our posters as to when the next litter pick takes place.

 

New Zealand Moist Carrot Cake

There are lots of recipes for carrot cake, but this one from New Zealand is one of the best. Do try it!

9oz [250g] Wholemeal Flour
6oz [175g] Soft Brown Sugar
3 Large Free Range Eggs
2 tsp pure Vanilla Essence
2 level tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
3oz [75g] Desiccated Coconut
6oz [175g] Raw Brown SugarMuscovado
or Barbados]
6 fl. oz [175ml] Sunflower Oil
2 fl. oz Soured Cream
Approx. 1 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
11oz Grated Carrots

For the Topping

4oz [110g] Full Fat Soft Cream Cheese
Juice of half a Lemon

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 2, 300 Deg F, 150 Deg C. You will need one 8" [20cm] round cake tin [lined with greaseproof paper] and 2 mixing bowls.

In the first mixing bowl you place the eggs, oil, vanilla essence and soured cream, then sieve the sugars in to it as well [to avoid any lumps]. In the other bow, sieve the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, soda and salt.

Now beat the wet ingredients and the sugars together, then fold in the dry ingredients followed by the carrots and coconut. Mix well to distribute everything evenly, then spoon in to the cake tin and bake on the centre shelf for 11/2 hours. When the cake is cool, mix the topping ingredients and spread thickly over the top.

Enjoy a thick slice with a cuppa and kid yourself it is healthy because of the carrots!

Wendy

 

TWO AUBADES

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

Edward Fitzgerald - from the Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyam

 

Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With every thing that pretty is,
My lad sweet, arise!
Arise, arise!

William Shakespeare [from Cymbeline]

from Trev with Illustrations by Paul Swailes

I have to confess that I did not know the meaning of aubades. According to my Oxford dictionary, it originates from the French and is music for singing or playing at dawn. The 'Free on Line' dictionary describes the word as [1] a song or instrumental composition concerning, accompanying or evoking daybreak, and [2] a poem or song of or about lovers separating at dawn.

Persian astronomer, mathematician and poet, Omar Khayyam [1050-1123] was born in Nishapur, where he founded a school of astronomical research and assisted in reforming the calendar. It is thought that as a result of his observations, the jalali calendar era was begun in 1079. He wrote a study of algebra, which was known in Europe as well as in the East.

Here in the west he is chiefly known as a poet through Edward Fitzgerald's version of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 1859.

Edward Fitzgerald [1809-1883] was born in Suffolk on the estate of his Irish landowning family, and educated at the King Edward VI Grammar School in Bury St. Edmunds before going up to Trinity College, Cambridge. Here, his friends included Thackeray and Tennyson to whom Fitzgerald became patron, granting him an annual gift of £300 for many years.

A younger, intimate friend of his, Edward Cowell, sparked Fitzgerald's interest in collating and translating the Persian Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. He adapted the source material so freely that it could almost be regarded as his own work and there is some doubt as to whether the entire original can be attributed to Khayyam.

Ed.

 

NEWS FROM OUR COMMUMITY SHOP

Maybe the recession is biting! Our shop hasn't received any advanced orders from visitors this year, in spite of self-catering owners hopefully sending out the annual order forms with confirmation of bookings. Still, the information is getting through as many visitors arrive even on Saturday afternoons knowing about us. So thank you all self-catering owners who are doing a good job. If you need more forms for autumn bookings, please ask at the shop or 'phone Pam Parke on 883758.

Our weekly sales are considerably higher than this time last year - which is a relief! This is due to the increase in stock items, the larger space with easier parking, our support from customers - and of course our teams of managers and volunteers. Obviously our visitors appreciate it too. Many of the staff report glowing comments about our shop. Firstly they admire the 'bucking of the trend' of closures; secondly they like not only the building with its beautiful flowers, but also the wide variety of stock inside; and last but not least, they say how pleasant it is to shop where the staff are so happy and helpful. Well done everyone who works there.

Plans for our official opening are underway - and the event will hopefully have happened before the next newsletter, so please look out for notices - and come if you can.

Don't forget to bring along your summer visitors to the shop - even if only for a coffee!

PP of DC

 

THE MANOR HALL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

The Committee would like to thank members of the BBC for their gift of £700 to help with the expenses of the Hall. This was very much appreciated and will be spent wisely. Thanks, also, to the Parish Council and the men involved in cutting back the overhanging branches of trees in the car parking area, and well done the committee for painting the toilets in the Bassett Room.

Bob Hobson - Chairman

 

LETTER FROM THE RECTOR

The Rectory,
Combe Martin.

Dear Friends,

I've just got back from a short trip to the island of Arran in Scotland. Five hundred miles from door to door, not including the ferry crossing.

We had a good journey both up and down from the isle. It was great to get in the car and drive off at 6:15 a.m. and arrive at the ferry terminal at 3:15 p.m. Across the blue water, the sleeping warrior (name given to the mountain range by some Scots on the mainland) beckoned to us. The crossing was very calm. With the car safely tucked away with the other vehicles, it was time to relax in the lounge looking through the forward windows towards our destination.

It suddenly struck me. I was no longer in control. In the car I could steer the vehicle any way I wanted. I could travel at any speed I wanted. I could stop at a service station if I wished or even turn off the motorway. But now, my path across the water was determined by the Captain who could go as fast or as slow as the ferry would allow [and most comfortably and safely for his passengers], and I couldn't do a thing about it! In one sense it was a great relief. I had been driving for miles, and now someone else had the responsibility. If I trusted the Captain to do his job I could relax and enjoy the trip until we arrived safely at our destination.

It was a bit like life really. Once we realize that we are in God's hands, and let go, and allow him to take over we can enjoy the trip. Oh yes, we need to have faith or trust in our Captain - that he knows the route and the destination and that he will bring us safely to our eternal home. But that reassurance comes from the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Our Lord.

Enjoy the trip.

With all good wishes,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer

 

THE EVACUEES - DAVE & TOM

Part IV - Boats & Semaphore

It was one late summer week-end in 1943 that our evacuee friends were chatting at the cottage at Goosewell.

"Got any ideas about what we should do over the week-end?" said Tom to Dave.

Dave's eyes lit up, "Yes," he said, "Come down the road to where `there is a field gate on your left, I want to show you something. It's before you get to East Hagginton Farm." So, they got up and off they went.

Once down the road, they opened the gate and Dave said, "Look to your left."

"I can't see what you mean," replied Tom, looking puzzled.

"Well, if you look carefully, it looks as though there has been an old, shallow quarry there at one time. Although there is short grass on it, because the sheep have munched it that way, it would scrape clear and when it rains we could have quite a nice, safe, shallow pond."

Tom still looked puzzled. "Yes, but why do we need a pond?" he muttered a little impatiently.

"For our boat competition." Dave smiled and went on to explain the idea. "Each of us should make a little wooden boat, say six inches long, and the one which sailed the best would be the winner!" Dave was definitely the best at wood carving and felt confident that he would win.

"I can probably cadge a spade, fork and rake from our next door neighbour. That should be all we need, and I don't suppose the farmer will mind what we do, as his sheep will be able to drink from the pond."

They borrowed the tools and went back to start clearing the grass away to make ready for the expected rain to fill it. They broke a prong off the rake - about which the owner was not very happy!

The following week-end Dave found some bits of wood and started carving perfect little hulls for his boats.

The sails were just one piece of stout paper, pierced with a mast made from a butcher's skewer. All he needed for the rudder was a thin shaped piece of aluminium, cut with his mother's scissors, and fastened to the bottom of the boat with a long pin.

Tom, on the other hand, searched and searched to find some suitable wood to make his couple of boats. Eventually he hit on the idea of using some wooden plant tags which he found in the garden shed. Hardly cutting the plant tags to any real boat shape, he finished the rest in much the same way as Dave.

As predicted, a couple of weeks later it rained and the area they had cleared flooded to a nice depth of about six to eight inches. Dave had a look and being satisfied, called round to tell Tom.

"Got your boats made?" he enquired. Tom said he had and off they set to try them.

They both launched their boats at the same time, and what happened?

Well, Dave's, though perfect in appearance went anywhere but straight across. Tom's, on the other hand, rickety and badly made, sailed right to the other side without a problem.

"You've won," conceded Dave.

"Well, where's the prize?!" joked Tom, pleased with his own efforts.

Thinking for a moment, Dave generously declared, "I'll give you one of my slowworms."

So off went Tom proudly with his prize in a jam jar.

"You can get rid of that straight away!" exclaimed his mother.

Our two evacuee friends had now become good wartime friends but communication between their two homes was difficult, with one of them in the cottage at Goosewell and the other in Barton Lane.

One day they were talking about things in general when Dave suddenly announced, "I think I've got a good idea. Have you ever heard of semaphore?"

"What the heck's that?" came the reply.

Dave explained. "People wave two flags at each other in such a way that they can communicate. It's a bit like Morse code and I think there's a book at home which explains it."

"Well " said Dave, "If you find out about it and we learn it, you could signal me across the valley from the stone stile up Hagginton, and I could reply from our terrace. If we made quite large flags, we ought to be able to see each other more easily." The book was found and both boys duly learned their semaphore code.

A day and time was arranged for them to take up their respective positions. It worked! On the first 'chat', it was arranged that Tom should call at Dave's cottage that afternoon to go scrumping. A bit naughty true, but then what's what young lads did in those days.

By half-two, Tom was at Dave's.

"What are you two up to today?" enquired Dave's mum.

"Oh, we'll just wander around and muck about" they told her.

"Well, off you go then" she said in a doubtful tone, knowing that there was probably mischief in the air.

They made their way down to a nearby farm where Dave knew there was an orchard with some choice fruit. "Look at this", he called to Tom. "They've got a fig tree." The figs were plump and tasty and both boys ate far too many, as well as a quantity of juicy apples.

Being rather greedy, they wanted more. So, tucking their trousers into their socks, they filled their trousers with apples.

"Listen, I think someone's coming", whispered Tom. "We'd better get out of here." By pulling their trousers out of their socks they released the apples, and ran.

That evening, surprise, surprise, both boys complained of tummy ache. Mum's are not that daft and the lads didn't get much sympathy!

 

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

Illustrated by Paul Swailes

 

'MATCHED'

How nice to be able to report a wedding! With an appalling week of weather, and a Wednesday that was wet, wet, wet, fingers were firmly crossed for the Saturday. The 12th July was the wedding day of Tim, son of Wendy and Chris Jenner of Little Gables. and it turned out fine and sunny! Tim and his wife Jackie,who are currently living in Switzerland, chose St. Peter's Church for their marriage ceremony with a reception in the Manor Hall followed by a barn dance and hog roast. They will be returning to Switzerland at the end of August.

Our congratulations to the happy couple and we send our very best wishes for their future happiness together.

We also send our best wishes and good luck to Tim and hope to be able to report on his success in the next Newsletter. Read on . . .

"TIM IN THE SWIM"

Sometimes a resident of Berrynarbor, Tim has taken on a daunting twin challenge this summer. The first, his brand new bride Jackie might maintain, is less of a challenge and more an unmitigated pleasure, as she and Tim took their marriage vows in St. Peter's church on a rare sunny Saturday in July. Bride and Groom looked resplendent as friends and relations enjoyed a reception in the Manor Hall and typical Berrynarbor hospitality.

The second challenge may be more problematic as Tim attempts a solo swim of the English Channel in August. Twenty months of training for "The Big One" has involved swimming in the lakes and rivers of Switzerland, avoiding the ferries in Dover Harbour, stroking his way across Scottish Lochs and, more recently, battling against the tides and currents of the Bristol Channel. Taking the pleasure boat from Ilfracombe along the North Devon Coast, you might be forgiven for thinking that you've spotted an overactive basking shark instead of an intrepid Channel Swimmer on his return trip from Combe Martin beach to Heddon's Mouth, accompanied by a local fishing boat. Six hours in salt water at 17 Deg C in Speedo's, cap and goggles every other day isn't everyone's idea of a stroll in the park, but Tim just can't get enough of it. Though his sanity has rarely been questioned, greasing himself in goose fat for body warmth and chaffing reduction, avoiding oil spills, sewage and jelly fish stings and negotiating ocean going boats in the world's busiest shipping lane might suggest that Tim is one sandwich short of the full lunch pack. However, undeterred by popular opinion and determined to succeed Tim says, "The sense of achievement in swimming from England to France will be unbeatable. The joy, satisfaction and sense of accomplishment after 20 months of training must be immense. It's this goal that keeps me motivated."

Tim is hoping that the challenge will raise £5000 for charity. All money will be donated to Cancer Research. If you would like to provide a donation, no matter how small, then sponsor forms will be in the Globe and the Village Community Shop. Or visit www.justgiving.com/timjenner. Tim is also looking for corporate sponsors to help pay for the costs of the challenge and can be contacted at Little Gables [01271 882688] or tjjenner@hotmail.com

Fewer than 800 people have swum the English Channel since Matthew Webb in 1875. Let's hope that Tim can boost the numbers.

Fact File:

Matthew Webb was the first man to swim the Channel from England to France in 1875. He took 21 hours 45 minutes to complete the swim.

Comedian David Walliams completed the swim in 2006 in 10 hours 29 minutes.

Fewer than 800 people are officially recognised by the Channel Swimming Association as having completed the swim from England to France. Fewer than 200 people are listed by the Association as completing the swim in the opposite direction.

 

I'M STILL STANDING

The North Devon Group of Epilepsy Action is putting on a charity concert, called "I'm Still Standing", at the Ilfracombe Pavilion Theatre on Friday, 24th October, doors open 7.00 p.m.

At the event, Guy Stoker, a successful songwriter who has epilepsy and attends the North Devon group, is reuniting to perform with his brother and acclaimed guitarist, Gavin Richardson, for the first time in 10 years. The band will play an eclectic variety of music including rock 'n' roll and songs from the shows, so there will be something for everyone. There will also be supporting artists.

Guy has previously recorded a charity CD with renowned opera singer, Suzannah Clarke and has organised concerts in the past but this one is very relevant to him because of the charity for which it is raising money. The name of the concert sums up his story perfectly. Although having suffered setbacks in the past, he is still standing and able to do something as big as putting on a concert. Guy is keen to show to others who suffer from epilepsy that despite having the condition you can still shine.

Guy has had epilepsy since he was twelve years old. He wasn't aware of Epilepsy Action or its services until he attended a conference in Exeter last year, an experience he found quite moving as it was the first time he had been in a room full of people who knew exactly what he was talking about. At last he felt he was not the only one. After that he joined the North Devon Group and found it helped him enormously.

The group provides support through monthly meetings in Barnstaple Library, where people with epilepsy and their carers can come together to discuss and share their experiences. Our members also attend excursions and meals, in turn providing a social outlet for those who, due to the severity of their condition, might not otherwise participate in such activities. Both the outings and the hire of the room for group meetings are paid for out of branch funds.

The funds are also used to assist members in attending seminars and conferences on epilepsy. Our own regional seminar is taking place on Saturday, 1st November and hopes to increase awareness of epilepsy in the North Devon area.

Guy's aim is to raise in excess of £1,000, monies which will go towards the cost of our seminar, the North Devon Epilepsy Action branch funds and the Southwest Epilepsy Action Regional Forum, a recently formed group of which we have become an active member. Bringing together all the Epilepsy Action branches in the Southwest, it is hoped that as a larger body we can improve services for people with epilepsy in our region.

Some of the money raised will also help fund the vital advice and information services provided by Epilepsy Action. Last year the charity directly helped over 660,000 people through a range of services including its Helpline, Advice and Information Centre, Branch Network and Accredited Volunteering Scheme.

Tickets for the 'I'm Still Standing' concert cost £10 and can be obtained by telephoning the Landmark Box Office on 01271 324242.

For more information about the concert or the North Devon Group of Epilepsy Action, please contact me, the secretary, on [01271] 863087.

Steve McCarthy

 

THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH

Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Unlucky Thirteen -

The Turks so dislike the number 13 that the word is almost expunged from their vocabulary. The Italians never use it in making up the numbers of their lotteries. And, in Paris, no house bears that number.

Horse-Sense -

Something a horse has that prevents him from betting on people.

Horse Radish -

Equus Radix?

Queen Elizabeth the First Slept Here -

That notice, according to the British Tourist Board, can be seen in approximately 2500 residences in the United Kingdom.

She got around a bit, didn't she?

Walter

P.S. Debbie did get it right - I do hold my single malt in my right hand!!

 

LOCAL WALKS -109

"Swallows and Amazons"

A lot has happened at Wistlandpound Reservoir in recent months. A bird hide, boardwalk and viewing platforms have been constructed. There is a new shelter; a choice of two way-marked trails and a lively programme of events and activities has been planned throughout the summer.

An enthusiastic new site manager was appointed last august. Employed jointly by the Calvert Trust, the Forestry Commission and South West Lakes, he has to reconcile the different needs of the various users - the anglers, the boat users and the walkers. But at heart and by training he claims first and foremost to be a conservationist, which is good news for visitors who enjoy the flora and fauna Wistlandpound has to offer.

We set off on the 'Discovery Trail', appreciating the improved surface and routing of the path around the circumference of the lake. There used to be several points at which you could get quite 'bogged down', following spells of wet weather.

It might have been this improved access which had brought so many more people to Wistlandpound than we had seen there before.

A string of ducklings ventured out from the shore. A cormorant had perched on a boat, spreading its wings to dry, and a small flotilla of Canada Geese were tolerating a Greylag in their midst. It appeared to be behaving rather aggressively towards them.

At the new bird hide an ingenious display board charts the long journeys which would have been travelled by some of the wildfowl that can arrive at Wistlandpound in the winter months.

In one of the 'arms' of the reservoir, we found Amphibious Bistort; a mass of floating leaves with compact spikes of pink flowers.

Growing in several damp areas was Brooklime with its small, deep blue flowers and sprawling fleshy leaves. Another member of the Veronica family was pale flowered Thyme-leaved Speedwell, a low plant with tiny oval leaves. Cut-leaved Cranesbill, one of our native Geraniums, with its pretty leaves and purple-red flowers, was also present.

Richard Mabey in his book 'The Flowering of Britain' wrote, "Many of the most persistent and decorative garden escapes are also from Southern Europe." He cites "Honesty, Dame's Violet, Purple Toadflax and half a dozen cranesbills." Several of these appear at Wistlandpound, although far from any garden.

Naturalised at one corner of the reservoir were tall plants which on a previous visit I had mistaken for a while flowered form of Honesty. However, this year not only had it spread, making a fine display, but because it was at a more advanced stage [although it had similar leaves to Honesty and its flowers also had four petals], I could see that its long cylindrical seed pods were more typical of a crucifer. The flowers are fragrant.

I was told it was Dame's Violet. Apparently the name derives not from dames but from Damascus [despite its Latin name, Hesperis Matronalis].

We left the 'Discovery Trail' for the 'Challenge Trail' higher above the reservoir and through the trees. Here we came across a few tall spikes of Purple Toadflax, another garden escape. The flowers are snapdragon shaped.

There were patches of Yellow Pimpernel, a neat flowered member of the Primrose family which likes damp, shady woods.

There had been several cream and brown Speckled Wood butterflies but as we reached a clearing, a yellow Brimstone fluttered past. The Brimstone has a shape unlike any other butterfly and when it perches with wings closed it resembles a leaf.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew across the track and attached itself to a nearby tree trunk. It was a female, lacking the red nape of the male. We were pleased to see a young Green Woodpecker in the garden recently - a less common sight these days, although we occasionally hear their distinctive "yaffle".

Illustrations by Paul Swailes

 

HATCHED

A further addition for the Bailey family. Anne and Brian are delighted to announce the safe arrival of Darcy Anne Ayres - their 4th grandchild, but first granddaughter. Darcy, daughter for Sam and Matt, was born after a very speedy delivery at Musgrove Park Hospital on the 23rd May, weighing 8lbs 7oz.

Jim and Jean Constantine have another grandchild. Toby George was born on the 22nd June weighing 8lbs 13oz. A third son for Sue and Andy and brother for Charlie and James.

Elaine and John are delighted to announce the safe arrival of their fourth grandchild, a daughter for Ben and Sara, and sister for James. Harriet Holly Fanner was born on 27th June weighing 6lbs 11oz.

Amazingly, Harriet was born on the same day as her cousin Sunny, Elise and Paul's daughter [3 years apart], and two-year old James was born on the same day as his cousin Stanley, Elise and Paul's son [2 years apart].

We send our congratulations and best wishes to all the proud parents and grandparents, and a warm welcome to the three new little ones.

 

LOOKING FOR LEWORTHY'S

Helen Lawrence e-mailed recently from Neath in South Wales to say that she was currently working on her family tree and had found that three branches of the tree are in Devon. The latest part she is working on is her paternal great-great grandmother who was Emily Leworthy, born in Ilfracombe in 1854. Going back a further generation, her father William Leworthy was born in Berrynarbor in 1833. His parents Grace and Thomas [1811] also came from the village and Thomas was the local blacksmith.

Helen wonders if any readers can give her any more information on the Leworthy Family.

Certainly in White's 1850 Directory, Thomas Leworthy is recorded as one of four blacksmiths in the village and a Thomas Leworthy is also recorded as being a shopkeeper. Are they one and the same?

Hopefully Lorna may be able to help Helen, but if anyone else has information, please get in touch with Judie on [01271] 883544. Let's see if we can help.

 

BLACKPOOL 1921

A Childhood Memory

Not the one in South Devon but the big, brash one on the Lancashire coast. It was our first family seaside holiday - father, mother, my elder brother [12] and myself [8].

I, at least, had no idea where we were bound when we left home that sunny September Sunday morning, all dressed in our best. To the best of my knowledge, travel agents did not then exist and advance booking was for the well-to-do only.

Why was it Sunday? Because, like everyone else, father had to work Saturday mornings and this was no exception. You may remember that it was Attlee's post-war government that abolished regular Saturday working. Why September? Because father, as a skilled electrician, had to take his single week's unpaid holiday during what was known as Engineers Week, and this was always in September.

Anyway, there we were having arrived by tram at the station from which the excursion trains departed for various seaside resorts. We joined one of several queues which snaked their way across the station yard and it turned out to be the one for Blackpool.

I have little or no recollection of the journey, but once arrived we had to find digs. This involved tramping up and down Talbot Road where most of the boarding houses were, father humping two heavy suitcases, until we found a house with a suitable vacancy.

Now in those days there was no B and B, you provided your own food and the landlady cooked it and put it on the table. Mother would not have been allowed in the kitchen. There was a small charge for the use of the cruet [salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar] and crockery and cutlery were provided. So every day had to be partly spent shopping for the day's lunch, tea, supper and tomorrow's breakfast. As there was no Sunday shopping, we must have taken some food with us.

As luck would have it, we left the sun back home and the week turned out damp and drizzly. If we saw the sea at all, it made little impression on me. It was certainly no weather for the beach.

My chief remembrance is of trailing around window-shopping, with father's nose seeming endlessly glued to the windows of hardware shops, especially those selling hand tools, and impatiently dragging mother away from dress shops. As a silver lining to a dark cloud, she did persuade him to buy my brother and me a badly needed new raincoat each.

We visited the famous Tower and I badly wanted to go into the zoo, then located in the base, but for some reason father vetoed this. We did, however, go into the Winter Gardens which was quite interesting.

In what must have been an evening visit, we watched a variety show. The only item I recall was a tenor in evening dress serenading a lady in tights seated on the tip of a cardboard moon. What we did on the other evenings I have no idea as there were no 'lights' in those days. As we would not have been encouraged to sit around at the digs, we probably went to bed early!

During a rare, fine interval, we watched the making of Blackpool Rock on stalls along the seafront. It was fascinating to see how the letters were formed out of yard-long strips of red caramel shaped, where required, round equally long strips of white before being correctly positioned inside a huge slab of rock. This was then rolled into a cylinder and finally coated with more of the red stuff. Then the whole mass was rolled and rolled, becoming longer and thinner until the correct size was reached. It was then chopped into short sticks and wrapped ready for sale.

Father bought lavishly and we arrived home with half a suitcase full of rock in various shapes, sizes and flavours, which lasted us almost until Christmas.

Trev

 

BERRYNARBOR PRE-SCHOOL

On behalf of the Pre-School I should like to say a huge thank you to all the companies who made it possible for us to complete our garden project. We now have a lovely area with wetpour surfacing and the children have been enjoying growing their own vegetables, fruit, herbs and also learning about composting.

This was all thanks to the following companies who donated raffle prizes or helped financially: Napps Touring Holidays, Advanced Scaffolding, Pall Ilfracombe, Surestart, Tesco, John Fowlers, Black & White Chip Shop, Lambda, Combe Martin Wildlife Park, Berrynarbor Farmers' Market, Ilfracombe Tandoori Restaurant, Ilfracombe Aquarium, Watermouth Castle, Merlin Cinemas, St. John's Garden Centre, Keypitts, Homebase and B & Q.

I should also like to say a big thank you to Louise Richards whose outstanding efforts in her fundraising role makes all events huge successes. And not forgetting Emma our Pre-School Leader, who has completed her first successful year - her organisation and enthusiasm are second to none.

If anyone would like to know more about the Pre-School and availability of places, please contact Emma Lerwill on 07807 093644.

As the summer holidays have now begun we shall be holding activity fundraising days at the Manor Hall. Dates are yet to be confirmed but keep an eye open for the posters for more information.

Many thanks. Jenny Beer - Chairperson

 

BERRYNARBOR PARISH COUNCIL REPORT

The July meeting began with a minute's silence by all present to pray and reflect on the life of Len Coleman - he was a valued member of this Parish Council for approximately thirty years and we thank June for her support which enabled him to continue almost to the end. He will be greatly missed.

The Manager and Operations Manager of First Bus gave a presentation concerning company policy and the reasons for not operating a service through Berrynarbor. Councillors were clearly angered by their responses and so they have agreed to yet again review the situation and report back to us.

The Public Rights of Way Committee met on 10th June and recommended that the claimed public rights of way at Watermouth Cove were valid. As a result of this decision, the County Council will be making an Order within the next few months to record public rights of way on the claimed routes. Notice of the Order will be advertised and served on the landowner affected, whilst giving anyone the opportunity to object or make representation. If objections are made to the Order and not withdrawn, the County Council will be required to submit it for determination by an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which could result in a local public enquiry.

Thank you to County Councillor Andrea Davis for representing the Parish Council at the Committee Meeting, and to everyone who provided the evidence in support of the claimed routes.

Lastly, thank you to Tony Summers for the lovely new Castle Hill sign he made for the village.

Sue Sussex - Chairman [882916]

 

OUR RON

It is lovely to have Ron back in the village after his recent spell in hospital and to see him looking so well and his chirpy self again. It is also lovely to know that he is settling happily into his new home at Lee Lodge, where he is just a stone's throw from his birthplace at Middle Lee.

Ron recently celebrated his 92nd birthday and with Sheila and Tony, his daughter and son-in-law, friends and neighbours, enjoyed a special Sunday tea at Lee Lodge on a beautiful, warm sunny afternoon.

However, his actual birthday was the following Tuesday and a large birthday greeting card welcomed him to the Primary School's Annual Fete at the Manor Hall. But that was not the only surprise - the School had baked him a cake! Before the evening's activities came to an end, everyone gathered in the Hall, the children sang 'Happy Birthday' to him and the candles were blown out - and then everyone enjoyed a slice of his cake!

Friend of everyone and a very special village gentleman, we all wish you, Ron, every future happiness in your new home, and don't forget, if something goes wrong, it's all Walter's fault!

Ron would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kind cards, messages, flowers and gifts, not only when he was in hospital but also for his birthday, and if you have time, do pop in to see him.

He would like to thank Shane, Anne Marie and all the girls at Lee Lodge for their warm welcome, help and care and for the wonderful birthday spread they put on for him, the new boy on the block. He says he is very happy to be there with you and the grub is great!

 

CRAFT GROUP

The Craft Group will recommence on MONDAY, 1st SEPTEMBER 2.00 p.m. at THE MANOR HALL painting, drawing, sewing, embroidery, knitting, lace-making or any other hobby or craft

Why not come and join us? Indulge yourself working on your favourite pastime in company of others. £1.50 a session including Tea, Coffee and Biscuits. Everyone welcome.

 

OLD BERRYNARBOR - VIEW 114

BERRYNARBOR TRAILER PARK , STERRIDGE VALLEY

F. Frith & Co. Ltd. of Reigate produced this Multi-View postcard. This particular postcard has a postmark of 5th August 1960 and was sent to an address in Aberdeen, Scotland. The message on the reverse side reads: "Dear Both, This is where we are, a couple of miles from Ilfracombe. Weather improving steadily". A message that could well be written this year!

I particularly like this card as it gives five dated views of the Berrynarbor Trailer Park and shows how much it has changed. For those fortunate enough to attend and visit the Open Gardens in the Sterridge Valley in June, they were able to see that the Trailer Park has now become a thriving and almost separate community within our village. Indeed, one can only have admiration for the way the properties and gardens are maintained and not a caravan in site! I actually have a total of twelve separate postcards of the Trailer Park, all published by Friths from around the same period of time, 1957.

Mrs. Smith and her son, Paul, purchased the land some time prior to 1952 and developed the site from around that time, Coronation Year. They steadily built it up and sold it to Ian and Simon Kemp on the 1st May 1980 as a site with a mixture of caravans and static caravans, and a Licence for up to 15 tents.

The Kemp's worked hard and built the site up further and around 1983 Simon bought a Fire Engine which attracted a great deal of attention being kept on the site. By the time they sold the business to Paul and Teresa Crockett, they had obtained permission for about 40 Residential Homes. Sadly, on selling the site, Simon had to dispose of his Fire Engine which went all the way "across the water" to Swansea in Wales.

Paul and Teresa took over from Ian and Simon back in October 1998 - how time flies! At that time there were just six Residential Homes. This has now increased to thirty-three and five Holiday Lodges, all with full services provision, other than gas, which has never reached the Valley. Paul and Teresa are particularly proud that The Park now participates in the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme.

 

IN THE PAPERS 150 YEARS AGO

1st July 1858 ILFRACOMBE

RARE VISITOR IN THE CHANNEL- On Saturday some attention was excited by the appearance in the offing of a ship of unusual stateliness and size, accompanied by a smaller craft as odd as the other was majestic. The Coast Guard were able to give the information that the large ship was the Russel, one of Her Majesty's steam frigates, carrying 60 guns. The accompanying vessel with leg-of-mutton sail fore and aft, and funnel between, was a gun-boat. The frigate was a gallant object with all her canvas spread, going up with a fair wind, the sun shining upon her and everything looking so beautiful. The spy glass revealed her two tiers of guns - she did not appear to have her steam up. It was said she was cruising round this part of the island for the purpose of inspecting and promoting the means of defence along the coast. It is an extremely rare thing to see a ship of war in the Bristol Channel; men accustomed to traverse it do not recollect seeing one for years, hence the anxious inquiry, to what cause is it we owe the unexpected visit?

26th August 1858

PAINFUL ACCIDENT - Yesterday [Wednesday], as the Rev. Thomas Hulme, Wesleyan minister, of this place, and the Rev. Joseph Chapman, with some friends were making an exploratory visit to the rocks and caves at Watermouth, the first named gentleman had the misfortune to slip his foot on the smooth surface of rock, when he fell and broke his right arm between the elbow and the shoulder. To make the matter worse, the bone is fractured in an oblique direction, rendering it more difficult to set and particularly difficult to keep in its place. The case is in the skilful hands of Mr. Foquet.

Tom Bartlett,

Tower Cottage July 2008

e-mail: tombartlett40@hotmail.com

 

NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

Hello All

I am writing this at the end of a very, very busy term.

The children finished school last Friday and are hopefully now enjoying the wonderful sunshine that is streaming in through the office window as I write this. During the term we have had no less than three inspections! Ofsted, SIAS [church school inspection] and a full audit. All these inspections happen at short notice, but they don't usually happen all at the same time! The Ofsted inspection report is available on the Ofsted website and the SIAS one is available on the National Society website.

There is so much news to fill you in with, so I shall try not to ramble!

We launched into the Summer Term with a 'Body Week'. The children learnt about how to keep their bodies fit and well, what a balanced diet looks like, and with much giggling, about what that balanced diet should look like when it comes out at the 'other end'!

Year 6 were working hard in preparation for their SATs exams when we received a call from Ofsted saying that they would be visiting us the following week. After a slight panic about how we could accommodate our inspectors - with all available space already being used for exams - and working out how I could be released from my teaching commitment to enable me to be interviewed by the inspectors - without the use of supply teachers - and with all our staff already at full stretch supporting the children with the SATs, we were able to show them just how good our school is. The inspectors were 'housed' in the church vestry, and we are very grateful to the church members for opening up and allowing us to use the church.

Two days later, two auditors arrived to go through all our systems, policies and paperwork - another arduous few days. And then came the SIAS inspector, looking at our 'Christian Distinctiveness'!

Of course school life doesn't stop because of these gruelling inspections and we all worked hard to make sure that children's learning wasn't affected by the additional pressure we were under. Having had a chance to evaluate the end of term assessments, I am pleased to report that children across the school are doing brilliantly, with most pupils meeting challenging academic targets and many exceeding them. Our Year 6 SATs results arrived back in school a little later than expected, but we are delighted with the results - all of our children achieved the levels of attainment expected nationally and many exceeded them. Two of our Year 6 pupils astounded us with writing which received full marks - a result never heard of before but very well deserved. Alongside this academic progress and success, we have continued with our programme of extra-curricular and enrichment activities.

Year 1 and Reception children have been enjoying a 10-week course of swimming lessons. Year 6 pupils travelled to the Fremington Army Camp to take part in a packed afternoon of safety training, delivered by emergency and health care services. Class 4 took part in a giant Ukulele orchestra at Ilfracombe College which gave them the opportunity to show off their new skills. Following a visit from my old school in Bristol, Class 4 went to Glenfrome for a couple of days, exploring their very different local environment.

The next week Class 4 were off to the Exmoor Centre for a week of outdoor fun. At the end of June, Years 4 and 5 took part in a cricket festival at Lynton whilst Year 6 had volleyball coaching with Combe Martin School.

Our Sports Day was blessed with perfect weather and we had a lovely afternoon of races which was well supported by families and friends. The PTA was great as usual - organising equipment and shelter from the sun and then selling cream teas to the spectators.

Class 3 spent a night under canvas at Daisy's Farm and enjoyed exploring the farm and woods during the day and night! Year 6 took part in a sports festival in Ilfracombe and then joined Years 1 to 5 at The Landmark Theatre for the fabulous performance by the Essex Dancers.

The following day, Class 4 performed their show 'Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat'. Year 6 were then off for another day out - this time to the Eden Project with a stop at Pizza Hut on the way home - a treat for all their hard work.

The last week of term saw KS1 visiting the Tunnels Beaches, play space and the Ilfracombe Museum and then, of course, we had our Summer Fete.

Once again the PTA performed the minor miracle which is needed to organise such a wonderful event which raised a huge £2,068 with the fantastic support of the Berrynarbor community.

On the last Wednesday of term, the children enjoyed a performance and hands-on workshops by a group of Ugandan musicians. Then, at the very end of term we said our tearful goodbyes to Joe, Charlotte, Skye, Kayleigh, Sally, Daisy, Tia, Henry, Gareth, Jack and Lewis, who we send on to secondary education with good wishes and fond memories. The outgoing Year 6 had the traditional BBQ and water fight where they soaked each other and any adults crazy enough to go anywhere near the playground. Even Mr. Newell's carefully researched purchase of a super-size water-gun, automated water pistol and water bomb launcher was no match for the energy and enthusiasm of children allowed to 'get their own back'!

As you can imagine, we are all exhausted and definitely need some summer sun to recharge our batteries. The staff enjoyed an afternoon relaxing together and are [hopefully] now beginning to unwind and start thinking about how we can make 2008-9 even better than this year. We are already planning more development to further improve our English curriculum, an e-safety week, some more camping trips for the autumn term and an international theme week - any ideas, resources or photos about China, Mexico or Nepal would be gratefully received.

The events I have summarised are just a brief snippet of some of the things we've been up to during the last couple of months. All this happens because of the dedication of the wonderful staff team and the support from parents, grandparents and members of the community who give up their time to make our little school such a special place to be. Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last year.

Susan Carey - Headteacher

 

BATS

[Not in the Belfry, but in the Garden]

The sixteen species of bats in the UK eat insects and need a good supply of these from spring through to the autumn. By growing flowers attractive to a range of insects, our gardens can provide feeding stations for bats, birds and other wildlife.

We grow flowers in our gardens for our own enjoyment, but colour and perfume are really the plants' way of advertising themselves to insects. Sweet nectar and protein-rich pollen are bait to encourage insects to visit. In return, pollen is carried from one flower to another on their bodies, thereby fertilising the flowers.

Flying uses lots of energy and so bats have enormous appetites. Their favourite foods are moths, flies and midges, but especially important are crane flies. The most likely bats to visit our garden are Pipistrelles, which depend on catching very large numbers of tiny insects, some of which are pests to the gardeners.

Flowers with long narrow petal tubes, such as evening primrose and honeysuckle, are visited by moths and butterflies. Only their long tongues can reach deep down to the hidden nectar, whilst short-tongued insects like flies, can only reach the nectar in flowers with short florets. By planting a mixture of flowering plants and shrubs, a diversity of insects can be encouraged to drop in and refuel.

So, when choosing plants for your garden think how they might help. Choose flowers varying in colour and fragrance and shape - pale flowers are seen more easily in poor light, single flowers have more nectar than the double varieties and native wild flowers are very useful.

Plant trees and shrubs - they provide food for adult and insect larvae, and roosting opportunities for bats. Hawthorn and elder are useful. Create a wet area. A pond, a marshy area or even a half-tub made into a mini-pond can attract insects and many of the tiny flies favoured by bats start life in water as aquatic larvae.

Always say NO to insecticides - chemical pesticides kill natural predators and may do more harm than good.

Encourage the natural predators - hoverflies, wasps, ladybirds, lacewings, ground beetles and centipedes - they are the gardener's friends and help keep the balance, eating many pests. So allow some weeds to grow to provide ground cover for natural predators; leave hollow-stemmed plants to overwinter as shelter for ladybirds, leave heaps of dead leaves and brushwood undisturbed for hedgehogs and most garden birds are natural predators, so provide them with regular food and water.

Finally, many bats and other small mammals fall prey to our most dangerous four-legged predator, the domestic cat. Cats do not really need to stay out all night, so think about bringing your cat in an hour or so before sunset to allow bats to emerge undisturbed.

The Bat Conservation Trust

London SW8 4BG 0845 1300 228


 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS - No. 16

GEORGE WALLACE

19TH November 1924 - 18th February 2006

Founder of Quince Honey Farm, South Molton

Idly browsing through this weekend's Daily Telegraph, I spotted an article on honey. It gave sound advice on being suspicious of exotic sounding honeys [the honey could come from anywhere in the world], and made a point of shopping for local ones.

The reasons? It is important for the ecosystem, the pollination by bees of clover keeps the pasture and livestock healthy, and shopping locally helps as a defence against pollen allergies. It then gave details of 3 producers, one of which was our own Quince Honey Farm. "Quince Honey Farm" wrote Rose Prince, "is a family-run venture, which was established by George Wallace in 1949 . . ." That really interested me. I picked up the 'phone and dialled Quince Honey Farm, where I was lucky to speak to Patrick [Paddy] Wallace, who kindly told me about his father.

During the war, George read a romantic book about commercial beekeeping called Golden Throng. When he was demobbed in 1947, having served in Palestine, he took a 6-month beekeeping course on a Yorkshire honey farm, came home and acquired 6 hives. Sugar was, of course, rationed but there was an allocation for the bees - and anyway, with a supply of honey, there was already a sweetener.

This was the start of Quince Honey Farm. The name came, not from quince nectar that the bees collected, but from his father's home - Little Quince Cottage in Bishop's Nympton.

To make ends meet, he worked as a farm labourer, part time postman and in a block- making shed, all the time building up his bees in the garden. In Patrick's words, he "had such determination to succeed, that he was blind to the red light", and by 1949 he was selling honey.

In 1951 George married Kate, a schoolteacher, and most of their money continued to flow into the honey farm. There were other calls on their earnings too: Patrick was born in 1953, his sister in 1954 and twins, a boy and girl, in 1956 giving Kate quite a young handful. At the time they were all living in a tied farm cottage with outside loo and a copper for heating water!

1959 was a very good season for honey and in 1960 the family moved to an old converted chapel. They moved to their present site in 1978 and opened as a tourist centre five years later. Their exhibition centre is one of North Devon's most popular attractions and well worth a visit. The unique design of the indoor apiary means that you can observe the honey bee colonies in complete safety, and can find out just how honey and beeswax get from hive to the finished product.

George taking a rare holiday in Scotland c1976

It is a truly family-run business. Patrick joined from school in 1970, helping his father in summer and doing odd jobs in winter for the first five years. His brother Jonathan also worked in the business from 1973 until 2001. Now Patrick's son, Ian, is interested in bees and will hopefully take over in due course.

Over the last 30 years, the farm [and range of products] has grown immensely. You can buy in our village shop their Exmoor Heather and Devon Flower honey, [in ceramic pots, too, for neighbours who feed the cat!], honey marmalade, chutney and mustard, and fudge. At Quince Honey Farm you can feast off 3 varieties of honey ice cream, or get a taste for honey toffee. There is a range of honey and beeswax skin care, ceramic pots filled with honey 'goodies', beeswax candles - and so much more. Their products are not confined to South Molton, they are available nationally, and are exported all over the world.

Quince Honey Farm, started nearly 60 years ago by George Wallace, has developed into Britain's largest honey farm. Sadly, George died on the 18th February 2006, but what a legacy he left! Long may the Farm continue as a family-run successful enterprise.

PP OF DC

[I am indebted to Paddy Wallace for supplying me readily with so much information.]

 
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