Budleigh celebrates 101st birthday of last-surviving founder of Fairlynch Museum

The last surviving co-founder of Fairlynch Museum, in Budleigh Salterton, has celebrated her 101st birthday.

101-year-old Joy Gawne, and Fairlynch Museum volunteers, marked the milestone anniversary on September 26.

‘Mine of information’ Joy is the last surviving member of four women who bought the house that became Budleigh’s museum.

Roz Hickman, head of history at Fairlynch Museum, said: “Still taking an interest in all matters concerning her beloved museum, Joy is a mine of information and enjoys sharing her knowledge with us.

“We wish her a very happy birthday and many happy returns.”

Joy, with her sisters Elizabeth and Aalish, and friend Priscilla Hull, bought the thatched house, in Fore Street, in 1967.

A Fairlynch Museum spokesperson said: “Joy Gawne is the last surviving member of the quartet of local women who bought the house that is now the Fairlynch Museum.

“She and her two sisters, Elizabeth and Aalish, had a large collection of period and theatrical costumes they wanted to house and display, while their friend Priscilla Hull wanted to exhibit art, archaeology and geology.

“Her father, George Carter, had been excavating and investigating locally since the 1920s and his collection of finds deserved a wider audience.”

Originally called Primrose Cottage, the house – now the museum and arts centre – was built in 1810 by ship-owner Matthew Lee Yeates.

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