News from across East Devon – including stories from Exmouth, Sidmouth, Axminster Lympstone, Sidbury, Honiton and Ottery St Mary

A roundup of news from across East Devon – including stories from Exmouth, Sidmouth, Axminster Lympstone, Sidbury, Honiton, Whimple and Ottery St Mary.



The graffiti on the noticeboards in Lympstone.
Photo: with permission Devon and Cornwall Police.

Police in Exmouth investigating vandalism to five noticeboards in Lympstone want to hear from anyone who may have information to help identify the culprits.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the parish information boards, next to Londis, on The Strand, Lympstone, were targeted sometime between 8pm on Sunday, October 1 and 8am the following morning, October 2, causing around £200 of damage.

Police, who have released this photo showing the graffiti, are appealing for CCTV from the area, or to hear from anyone who might help identify the red ‘tag’, daubed across the cabinet fronts.

A police spokesperson said: “If anyone has any information regarding this spate of graffiti, CCTV or local knowledge of who the offenders are, please contact police.”

Quote reference #50230278693.

East Devon

Firefighters were called to a bungalow in Offwell, East Devon, on Thursday afternoon (October 26) after an electrical box inside the property caught fire.

When crews from Colyton, Honiton, Ottery, Seaton and Middlemoor, in Exeter, arrived at the home in the village they found the fire was well alight, having spread to the roof after overhead cables began sparking.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “An occupant from the property suffered from light smoke inhalation and was treated on scene by fire service crews administering oxygen therapy until the arrival of ambulance paramedics.

“There were no further casualties and once the property was made safe duty of care was left with the owner.”

Crews wore breathing apparatus and used five hose reel jets, ladders and small tools to tackle the blaze.

The fire service spokesperson said: “Crews then thoroughly checked the property with thermal imaging cameras and cleared the property of smoke using a positive pressure fan.”

East Devon – Whimple

East Devon

East Devon Crematorium staff, at Whimple, presented the Young Lives Vs Cancer charity with funds raised through recycled metal remaining after cremation.
Photo: with permission.

A £20,000 donation from an East Devon crematorium will help fund stays for families needing accommodation near their sick children.

East Devon Crematorium staff, at Whimple, presented the Young Lives Vs Cancer charity with the funds raised through recycled metal remaining after cremation.

It is believed the funds – raised thanks to the East Devon families giving their permission for the metal left behind after cremation to be recycled – could fund more than 300 nights in one of the Young Lives Vs Cancer’s Homes from Home properties, which offers free family stays near hospitals.

Katherine Sawyer, Young Lives Vs Cancer spokeswoman, said: “The donation from East Devon Crematorium is one of the largest we have ever received from the recycling scheme. I was completely blown away as it will allow us to help and support so many families when they need us most.

She added: “The donation will make a huge impact. We are so very grateful to East Devon Crematorium as, without wonderful people like them, we simply couldn’t do what we do.”


Exmouth’s annual Remembrance Sunday Parade and service in The Strand will take place on Sunday, November 12, starting at 10.50am.

Exmouth Town Council and the Exmouth Branch of The Royal British Legion is inviting veterans, residents, businesses and organisations along on the day.

The parade will meet in Imperial Road at 10.25am and will proceed along Victoria Road into The Strand for the start of the service at 10.50am.

Exmouth mayor, Councillor Olly Davey, Chairman of the Royal British Legion, Neil Gregory, Reverend Benedict Cambridge and Exmouth’s town crier Roger Bourgein will lead the service at the War Memorial with the help of members of the Royal British Legion.

Members of the public are welcome to lay their own tributes on the south side of the memorial.

Exmouth Town Council said Imperial Road, Victoria Road, Chapel Hill, Rolle Street and St Andrews Road will be partly closed to traffic from 10.15am on November 12, while the parade passes, reopening at noon.


Sidmouth is gearing up to switch on its Christmas lights with a festive big countdown planned for Saturday, November 18, at 5.30pm in the Market Square.

The town is open for late-night Christmas shopping on Friday, December 1.

Ottery St Mary


Nicci Simpson of Devon Eco Boutique, in Ottery, is waiting to see if she has won an award.
Photo: with permission.

A pair of Ottery St Mary businesses are celebrating reaching the finals of the West Country Women’s Awards 2023.

Nicci Simpson of Devon Eco Boutique, pictured here, is one of three finalists waiting to hear if they have won the Pheonix Award category.

Beth Ashfield and Andrea Broadhurst of Coldharbour Field Kitchen are one of three finalists in The Women in Food and Drink category.

The trio will learn if they have been successful on December 1, when the winners will be announced at an award ceremony.

Nicci said: “I’m so proud to have made the finals amongst these amazing women and being one of two businesses from Ottery St Mary.

“We have such amazing businesses in the area I hope this will encourage more people to visit.”


Wales & West Utilities has announced work to upgrade gas pipes in the Burnt Oak area of Sidbury has finished on time.

The firm said the £40,000 investment work had been ‘essential’ and would enable the gas network to be ready to transport greener gases, hydrogen and biomethane.

Roxanne Whittaker, from Wales & West Utilities, who managed the upgrade work, said: “We’re delighted that we have completed this work on time and want to thank everyone who lives and works in the area for bearing with us while we completed this essential work.”


The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth is celebrating being awarded VisitEngland’s highest gong – Gold – in its prestigious Visitor Attraction Accolades for 2022-2023, making it one of only four attractions in the South West to win a top spot.

Marianne Steele, CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary, said of the award presented to the free-to-enter attraction: “The gold accolade in these prestigious awards are testament to the hard work and dedication our staff put in to ensure our visitors have a wonderful time at the sanctuary.”

“Our visitors can not only be assured of a gold-standard experience when they visit us, but their unfaltering support ensures we can continue our work reaching more donkeys in need across the world.”


Honiton is to host a Light Up a Life remembrance and celebration event in aid of Hospiscare.

The free events are returning to Honiton, Cullompton and Exeter this festive season, where people are invited to remember their loved-ones.

Susie Healey, friends and family officer at Hospiscare, said: “We know that the festive season can be a difficult time when you have lost someone close.

“We hope people may find comfort in joining with others at our Light Up a Life events to commemorate, and honour, the lives of those we miss so much.”

The Honiton event is being held on Sunday, December 3, at Deer Park Country House, while Light Up a Life is at at Exeter Cathedral on Wednesday, December 20.

In addition, there will be carols at Padbrook Park, in Cullompton, on Sunday, December 10.

The events are free to attend and open to all, but due to limited space booking is essential for Honiton and Cullompton, closing on November 20. See here to book a place.

Ottery St Mary

Donations of second-hand coats were collected in Ottery St Mary at the end of October as part of a charity drive to help those in need.

Rotary e-Club South West Peninsula members organised drop-off boxes across the town where clean coats could be donated to charity.

The club, who teamed up with project organisers, Hands On London, and local partners, said the collected coats would be distributed to local charities who work with people who are in need of a warm or waterproof coat this winter.

East Devon

East Devon

District council residents receiving training.
Photo: EDDC.

East Devon council tenants were invited to become ‘actively involved’ in a project aimed at boosting its housing service.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) said its community development team has organised and hosted a range of programmes and events to improve tenants’ experience.

An EDDC spokesperson said: “The team have been busy arranging training to help volunteers to question, scrutinise, and monitor the actions and performance of the council and to reflect the wishes of residents.”


A community pub in Exmouth has raised more than £1,000 to help pay for private treatment for a resident with a brain tumour.

The Strand pub raised the funds through events including disco bingo, quiz nights, raffles and a donation jar on the bar.



Stalls in Church Street, Axminster Gate to Plate Festival.
Photo: with permission.

Axminster Gate to Plate festival 2023 has been hailed a success after 7,000 people flocked to the event.

The Gate to Plate festival – a first for Axminster – hosted more than 65 food and drink producers, alongside live entertainment, in a bid to attract footfall to the town centre and showcase local businesses.

The organisers said the event, funded by the district council, is set to return to Axminster in 2024, planned for Monday, May 27.

Councillor Matt Hall, East Devon District Council portfolio holder for economy, said: “Axminster was absolutely buzzing with so many visitors all around the town.”

He added: “This event has put Axminster’s local growers, producers, and makers firmly on the foodie map.”



Exmouth RNLI rescued the stricken yacht.
Photo: RNLI/Chris Sims

Exmouth RNLI volunteers launched the inshore lifeboat to a yacht with engine failure on Sunday afternoon (October 29).

The inshore lifeboat towed the stricken vessel from the River Exe, near Starcross, to its mooring.

A man onboard the yacht was transferred to the all-weather lifeboat waiting nearby, and taken to Exmouth Marina.

East Devon

A casualty was taken to hospital after being plucked from the water by Beer Coastguard on Sunday morning (October 29).

The emergency services were called to the River Axe following reports someone was in the water and being pulled out to sea.

Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat launched after it was reported the casualty was 30metres offshore.

A spokeswoman for Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat said: “Lyme Regis RNLI, who were already at sea training in the area, had arrived on scene, but had to remain offshore due to the heavy surf conditions.

“Beer Coastguard, who were already on the beach, were able to pull the casualty from the water when they were washed closer inshore.”


Exmouth is celebrating a raft of accolades in recognition of its green-fingered efforts over 2023.

The town was awarded Gold in the Britain in Bloom national finals and named Champion of Champions at this year’s South West in Bloom awards.

A team effort by Exmouth in Bloom, East Devon District Council and Exmouth Town Council resulted in the town being awarded gold following the judging of the Horticulture, Environment, and Community categories.

Marion Drew, Exmouth in Bloom chair, said: “Exmouth in Bloom has worked hard over the last two years to bring our local councils together to raise horticultural standards throughout the town and are pleased to have been the catalyst for the exceptional teamwork that has been evident in this year’s entry.”

East Devon

The district council has raised concerns about the pressures imposed by new houses earmarked for areas in  East Devon.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) recently wrote to Mel Stride, MP for Central Devon, Richard Foord, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, and Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, calling for their combined support about the way housing needs are calculated locally.

EDDC is calling on The Government to draw up a national housing strategy to address the housing and building issues felt by many communities.

The letter said The Government’s ‘flawed approach’ to building 300,000 homes annually paid ‘no regard to key factors’, such as land availability and environmental constraints.

The council said The Government ‘simply wants to see more homes built which put more and more pressure on our failing infrastructure’.

The district council told the MPs: “The result is a housing need figure for East Devon that can only be met through harming our attractive landscape areas including two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB’s) and areas where development has been shown to have a significant detrimental impact on designated wildlife habitats. Between them these areas make up well over 90 per cent of East Devon.

“We have next to no brownfield sites to develop and so housing has to be built on attractive green field sites to the detriment of the landscape and wildlife.

“The natural environment is what attracts people to East Devon and makes it such a wonderful place to live but the standard method means that we have to sacrifice that to satisfy a housing need generated by a flawed algorithm.”

The district council said:

  • East Devon has accepted huge amounts of growth through Cranbrook new town, large housing developments of thousands of homes on the edge of Exeter and urban extensions of its market towns.
  • The number of homes delivered in East Devon per year has grown from around 700 a year less than 10 years ago to well over a 1000 in 2019.
  • Levels of growth are ‘unsustainable and harmful to the environment and communities of East Devon’.
  • District hospitals and GP practices are oversubscribed, and schools are over-capacity.
  • Some areas and have substandard and insufficient accommodation and facilities.
  • The main roads in and out of Exeter are heavily congested at peak times while public transport is infrequent, un-coordinated and does not serve many rural areas.
  • We have ‘substantial problems’ with the drainage system with foul drainage running down the streets in some villages after storm events as the combined sewers cannot cope while to deal with the excess flows.


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