Community news and photos from around East Devon – Exmouth, Cranbrook, Sidmouth, Honiton, East Budleigh, Budleigh Salterton, Ottery St Mary, Axminster

Community news from around East Devon – a round-up of stories and photos from your areas; Exmouth, Cranbrook, Sidmouth, Honiton, East Budleigh, Budleigh Salterton, Ottery St Mary, Axminster


Super-fit Royal Marine Ben Clough, from Exmouth, spent his summer break tackling a 482-mile run from Scotland to Wales, plus scaled the three highest peaks in the UK, in aid of two charities.

The physical training instructor at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTC) set himself a 10-day Summit Attack challenge – finishing ahead of time in nine days – raising more than £14,500 for the  RMA, The Royal Marines Charity and mental health charity, MIND.

He ran a daily average of 50 miles  and in summiting Ben Nevis, Cumbria’s Scafell Pike and Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) on days one, five and nine, climbed a total height of 14,500 meters (47,592 feet) – more than one-and-a-half times the height of Mount Everest.


Royal Marine Ben Clough is raising funds for charity.
Photo: with permission.

Ben, pictured here, said “ Summit Attack was definitely the biggest challenge I’ve done to date. I finished way under schedule so was definitely shifting throughout each day. It was very mentally draining and I had a few niggles physically but a solid mindset made me get the job done.

“I spent the rest of my leave getting my body back moving properly again – and catching up on all the calories I missed along the way.”


Cranbrook residents celebrated the town’s Ukrainian friends this summer with a party to mark the country’s 32nd Independence Day.

More than 180 Ukrainian guests, hosts, family members and friends shared food, watched live music, took part in craft workshops and tucked in to traditional dishes then joined hands in a unity chain – taking to the street to show their solidarity for the war-torn country.

East Devon

Celebrating Ukraine Independence Day in Cranbrook.
Photos: Ihor Andriienko.

A spokesperson for the community event said: “Attendees sung Ukraine’s national anthem and enjoyed Ukrainian food, live music, and craft workshops. Many guests wore traditional Ukrainian attire, competing to win the best national embroidered dress contest.

“The night was a celebration of Ukrainian culture and the people’s strength, but after 18 months of conflict, the minute of silence and speeches underlined that this was also a sombre occasion.

“At the end of the event, attendees joined hands in a ‘unity chain’ in a procession from the venue, outside and along the street – inspired by other human chains in Ukraine.”

The event was hosted by the district council’s Homes for Ukraine team.

East Devon District Council flew the Ukrainian flag outside its Blackdown House headquarters in Honiton.


Author Colin Andrews recently published a new book, Mumming in Devon Past & Present – which shines the spotlight on traditional Sidmouth and Lymstone plays, some modern scripts in the mumming style from the Sidmouth Sisters Guisers and the Colyford Goose Fair.

Colin, former editor of the Devon folk magazine, What’s Afoot, for more than three decades, has been involved the county’s folk music scene for almost 50 years, as a singer, musician, Morris dancer and mummer.

The book is available from Paragon Bookshop, in Sidmouth, and the author’s website


A free family fun day to celebrate new play equipment in Exmouth was hailed a success.

The official opening of the Crescent play area, in Littleham, Exmouth, was enjoyed by more than 100 residents who turned out for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Families at the community day celebrated with an ice cream, taking part in circus skills, and playing supersized games including Jenga and Connect 4.

The upgraded play equipment is part of 283,000 district council investment across East Devon.

Kids living locally were consulted on what they wanted to see in the new play area.


Fun was had at the official opening of the new play equipment.
Photos: EDDC.


Sidmouth will have a new Police Community Support Officer from late September, after the successful recruit finishes their training.

Exeter, East and Mid Devon and Sector Inspector Phil Gray – who leads the neighbourhood policing teams across Rural East Devon – announced the new officer for Sidmouth when he was invited by the town council to discuss the area’s policing levels and visibility of officers.

In addition to the new PCSO, Insp Gray told the town council that a police officer has also been seconded to the Neighbourhood Beat Team in Sidmouth for the next six months.

And he reported that crime figures in Sidmouth remained ‘very low’ and that tackling anti-social behaviour continued to be a ‘priority’ for the team.


Care home residents from Hill House, in Honiton, visited a World War Two Nissen hut and Upottery Airfield Heritage Centre, while remembering their own experiences as armed service personnel during the conflict.

Residents Stan, Carey, Derrick and Mervyn relived their WWII wartime exploits – where they ‘relished’ the opportunity to sit once again at the controls of a Lancaster Bomber.

Stan said the visit ‘really took me back’ to his time as an aircraft engineer during the war.

He said: “It was a very tough time but it really made us appreciate what we had. I made sure to always make friends with the American airmen as they always had much nicer food than we did.

“They would turn up with the most amazing sandwiches with huge cuts of ham – I can still see and taste them now.”

Derrick, from Dunkeswell, remembered the airfield being built and drinking in The Royal Oak with US airmen.

After the visit, the residents made potato shortbread using a recipe from one of the cookbooks on display at the museum.

East Budleigh

British adventurer Isaac Kenyon, from East Budleigh, hopes to become the first person to complete a full-distance Ironman challenge while wearing 15kg weighted vest.

Isaac, aged 29, aims to shine a spotlight on the concept of ‘mental fitness’ – drawing on his own experiences of anxiety, feelings of disconnect, and ‘moments of suicidal despair’.

His record attempt coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.

The triathlon challenge Isaac will face, while wearing the additional 15k vest, is swimming a set distance, then immediately cycling and running.

His efforts are to raise funds and support the charity Mind, in Mid Herts.

Issac said: “Wearing a 15kg weighted vest during the Ironman isn’t just about conquering a physical challenge; it’s a powerful metaphor for the burdens of mental health struggles.

“With every step, I carry the weight of those who battle anxiety, depression, and thoughts of despair.

“This journey isn’t just mine—it’s a shared testament of resilience, empathy, and the hope that through open conversations, we can alleviate the hidden weights many carry.”

Isaac added: “By embracing this symbolic challenge, I’m dedicated to shedding light on mental health causes, inspiring understanding, and proving that together, we can overcome even the heaviest of burdens.”

Budleigh Salterton

Free family events are among the programme planned for the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, taking place in the town later this month.

Festival organisers say there will be a weekend full of free activities for youngsters in the mini marquee on the Green, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary – with the focus on Horrible Histories.

Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival 2023, September 20-24, celebrating its 15th anniversary, is a charitable organisation.

This year it will be taking five authors, including David Baddiel and Emma Carroll, into local schools, organisers said.

The main festival is staging three events in memory of its late honorary president Dame Hilary Mantel, including performances by actors Ben Miles and Anton Lesser, who appeared in the adaptation of the author’s novel, Wolf Hall.


Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support (ALCS)  has thanked a father and son who raised more than £1,600 for the charity in honour of a loved-one.

Adam and his dad, Cliff, pictured here, took on the Three Peaks Challenge to thank the charity for the care it gave a family member before they died in 2022.

East Devon

Dad and son celebrations – completing the Three Peaks Challenge.
Photos: with permission.

Dad and son climbed Snowdon, in Wales (1085m), Scafell Pike, in England (978m) and Ben Nevis, in Scotland (1345m).

Kelsey Lawrence, ALCS spokesperson, said: “We appreciate this incredible fundraising challenge completed by Adam and Cliff and are very grateful for the amazing amount of money raised.

“This will help us deliver so many of our activities and allow us to support more families affected by cancer”.

  • Take part in a sponsored walk in aid of Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support, on September 16, 9am until 1pm. See here to register.

Ottery St Mary

If you have got the got the dough to buy a former bakery in Ottery St Mary, the property is going under the hammer later this month.

Brook House, in Silver Street, Ottery is among 178 lots in the latest auction being held by Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers.

East Devon

Got the dough to buy the former bakery in Ottery?
Photo: with permission.

Offered jointly with Hall & Scott, the property is listed with a freehold guide price of £140,000-plus and vacant possession for auction on September 20.

The ground floor comprises two shop units, store room, boot room and a further room used as the former bakery with the old ovens in situ.

On the first and second floors, with independent access, is a large four-bedroom maisonette.

Senior Auction Appraiser Audrey Smith said: “This is a rare opportunity to acquire a spacious period mixed use commercial/residential property requiring complete renovation near the town centre.

“The property is likely to appeal to builders who may see the potential for the sub-division of both the commercial and residential elements, subject to all necessary consents being obtainable.”

Ottery St Mary

East Devon MP Simon Jupp praised support services and thanked volunteers during a visit to FORCE Cancer Charity, based at Ottery St Mary Hospital

Simon Jupp met with the FORCE Cancer Charity CEO, Meriel Fishwick,  and to learn more about the charity’s services and thank its volunteers for their work in supporting cancer patients and their families.

The East Devon MP toured the community hospital, which is now home to an oncology hub set up through funding and support by Force.


East Devon MP Simon Jupp visited the FORCE cancer services in Ottery.
Photo: with permision.

During his visit he was shown around the chemotherapy treatment area and met with cancer patients, who shared their experience of accessing Force’s services.

Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, said he was ‘impressed’ by the service offered locally.

He said: “The best care is normally the care that we receive closest to our homes and around our support networks.

“Force is providing just that with its community-focused service at Ottery St Mary Hospital.

“I saw the positive impact the charity had during conversations with cancer patients who couldn’t speak more highly of their fantastic team and volunteers – a big thanks is owed to them all, and the NHS staff providing care from the hospital too, which is a key community asset.”

Meriel Fishwick, Chief Executive Officer, FORCE Cancer Charity, said; “Simon heard first-hand the benefits to patients of chemotherapy treatment closer to home and he listened to the rewards of being a volunteer.”

She added: “Force volunteers now offer a meet and greet service five days a week at the hospital.

“Alongside chemotherapy treatment, cancer patients having treatment in Ottery St Mary can also access counselling, physio assessments and complementary therapies delivered by the Force team.  The success of these combined services really highlights the benefits of partnership working.”


News in brief – East Devon firefighters called to Budleigh, Sidmouth and Exmouth


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