News in brief: A round-up from across East Devon and Exeter – including stories from Exmouth, Sidmouth, Honiton, Axminster, Seaton, Budleigh Salterton and Lympstone.
East Devon and Exeter
Exmouth, Honiton and Exeter have been named among the top ten worst places in Devon where your bicycle is at risk of being stolen.
Crime data collated by an online cycling coaching business found Exeter posed a ‘significant risk’ for cyclists leaving their bikes in the city, because of a ‘high theft rate’.
Exmouth was found to be a ‘moderate risk’ while Honiton came in seventh.
Axminster, Ottery St Mary and Seaton were all named ‘ideal places to leave your bike’ with a theft rate of zero.
Alex Dowsett, former British cyclist, founder of Thighs Club who commissioned the study, said: “As an elite cyclist who depends on my bike, seeing the bicycle thefts across Devon is truly disheartening.”
He urged cyclists to buy quality locks, leave bikes for short periods only, and register them on databases.
A free screening of award-winning film The Iron Claw, starring Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen
White and Harris Dickinson is being shown in Exmouth.
Scott Cinemas has teamed up with Escapes, to show the film for free on Monday, February 5, at its screen in Exmouth, in The Strand.
The showings are part of a series of free screenings from ‘Escapes’ which is sponsored by the British Film Institute, which aims to offer everyone the chance to enjoy the big screen experience and discover independent cinema.
The film, which tells the true story of the story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers
who make history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early
1980s, will be previewed in 126 independent cinemas across the country, with more than 15,000 free cinema tickets available.
Book your free tickets here.
A Honiton student has scooped a £1,000 Academic Scholarship Award after his first year of university studies.
Ryan Salter, aged 19, pictured here, is now in the second year of a Joint Honours in Computing and Education Studies at the University of Worcester.
He said: “I was so surprised to get the scholarship. It’s made me even more eager to continue my studies.
“I will likely use some of the money to fund teacher training after my undergraduate degree, as well as helping towards the cost of travelling to and from home during holiday breaks.”
Ryan, who studied for A-levels in computing, English literature and biology at Honiton Community College, praised the support of the head of sixth form, Selena Burroughs, who helped him achieve his university plans.
What’s on Honiton
An exhibition of work by members of the South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts opens in March at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton.
The exhibition will include original paintings, sculpture, photography and limited-edition prints. All the work will be for sale.
Among the artists exhibiting work will be Jenny Pery, Geoff Shillito, Adrian Edwards and Karen McEndoo.
Gifts of thanks were presented to staff at Raleigh Manor care home in Exmouth in recognition for their work organising residents’ activities.
The home was celebrating National Activity Providers & Professionals Week, an annual event from January 22-26.
Pictured here, below, is Louise O’Sullivan, home services advisor, presenting each of the activities team a personalised gift for their ‘wonderful work’.
An animal charity based in Exeter has been supported by a developer over the last year through volunteer work.
The RSPCA Little Valley Animal Shelter recently was helped by a group of volunteers from Barrat David Wilson Homes Exeter, who painted gates and fences, plus set up a winter wonderland for a festive fair.
Last year the developer’s volunteers helped to transform the shelter’s dog sensory garden into quiet area for nervous animals, and those recovering medically.
And the homebuilder donated paint, railway sleepers, tyres, plants, and a ball pool.
Emily Mayer, RSPCA Little Valley Animal Shelter manager, said, the extra help had been a ‘godsend’, adding ‘there is so much more to do than we have time for’.
Pictured here are the volunteers at the animal shelter.
Exmouth police supported the launch of a new youth club cafe aimed at secondary school and college age students.
Police Community Support Officers Colin Balch and Karen Capey attended a TOAST session, which are run weekly during term time at the Open Door community centre, in Church Street, Exmouth, from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.
Rose Doyle, Youth Services Lead at Open Door Exmouth, said: “Toast is a new youth café run by Open Door Exmouth for secondary-school aged young people to hang out in a safe space. “Each young person can receive a free after school snack and hot or cold drink.
“There are board games, video games, and crafts available, as well as support from a member of the youth team if they require it.”
She said young people can come and go as they please.
The police community support officers handed out free merchandise and gave safety advice to those interested.
Pupils from Honiton Community College teamed up with an international artist to showcase ideas to tackle climate change.
Acoustics of Resistance is the first UK showing of a project by international artist Mikhail Karikis.
The Weather Orchestra, a three-channel video installation at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton turned the space into an indoor weather system, alongside musicians performing instruments and noise machines imitating natural sounds.
Part of the exhibition included work by 30 pupils from Honiton Community College, created during workshops with the artist.
The exhibition runs until March 9, 2024.
Students from East Devon interested in environmental issues are invited to apply for work experience with a non-profit environmental education company based in Lyme Regis.
Little Green Change is offering Year 12 students across schools in West Dorset and East Devon an opportunity to gain work experience with them, as part of their school’s work experience week.
The firm said Colyton Grammar School students had signed up to take part.
The company said it had ‘a number of opportunities available’, including environmental project planning, fundraising research and bid writing, plus creating written content for their website’s inspiration pages and 2024 magazine.
There will also be opportunity to shadow the firm’s founder and director for a day.
Interested school can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Trees collected after Christmas by Hospiscare has raised £38,000 for the charity.
Supporters from Exeter, Exmouth, Ottery St Mary, Honiton,
Sidmouth and mid-Devon recycled their tree using the collection service in return for a donation to the hospice charity.
Hospiscare said it was ‘so grateful’ to the community for supporting the recycling fundraiser and helping to raise an ‘incredible amount’ for the charity.
Volunteers collected more than 2,067 trees in January in return for a donation.
What’s on Budleigh Salterton
An range of authors has been announced to appear at Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival’s spring weekend in March.
Well-known names heading to the East Devon town include BBC newsreader and journalist Clive Myrie, Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy.
The main festival takes place in September.
Exmouth residents are invited to a beach management update, highlighting how the town’s beach and coastal defences will be maintained.
The Exmouth Beach Management Plan (BMP) drop-in event is on Thursday, February 15, 9.30am-12.30pm, at Exmouth town hall council chamber.
A district council spokesperson said: “The BMP sets out how the risks of flooding and erosion from Orcombe Point to Exmouth Marina will be reduced, and how the beach and coastal defences will be maintained.
“Representatives from East Devon District Council and its contractors will be at the event to talk about the project and answer any questions.”
A teenager is backing National Apprenticeship Week (February 5-11) thanks to her placement at Specsavers in Exeter.
Josie Loten, aged 19, pictured here, is in the final stage of her Level 2 apprenticeship, having worked at the store for 13 months.
She said: “Being an apprentice has helped me find a career path, because I didn’t really know optometry was something I was interested in before starting the apprenticeship.”
Josie said she enjoyed learning on the job because it helped her gain more experience and made her feel a part of the team.
Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, has called on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to give extra funding to repair and resurface the county’s roads.
The pair, pictured here, met in Parliament, where Mr Jupp highlighted concerns raised by East Devon residents about the state and condition of the roads.
He said many were ‘coming to the end of their service life, especially in more rural areas’.
Mr Jupp said: “I’m out and about speaking to people from across our part of Devon every week, and a common grumble is the state of our roads.”
A parkland beauty spot in Sidmouth has been taken over by the town in a bid to involve the community in its future upkeep and care.
Sidmouth Town Council (STC) has taken over the management and conservation of Knowle Parkland – with its gardens and amphitheatre – formerly owned by the district council.
The town council hopes to involve the community as part of its plans to improve natural biodiversity, adding paths and trails throughout the parkland for the public to enjoy.
There are also plans to increase the parking available in the lower car park on the site.
Chair of STC, Councillor Chris Lockyear said the transfer of the parkland was now complete, adding: “The town council will do all it can to manage and enhance the parkland for the enjoyment of all parts of our community.”
The district council confirmed the transfer took place in early December 2023.
Part of the Exe Estuary Trail near Lympstone has reopened after a ‘major overhaul’ of a stretch of deck planks and timber structures.
Courtlands Boardwalk, the section between Lympstone and Exmouth, was closed for several weeks while structural work took place when it was found timber structural beams and deck planks had deteriorated and become unsafe.
Devon County Council (DCC) said ‘minor finishing touches’ will be carried out without the need for further closures.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC cabinet member for highway management, said: “It was essential that these repairs were carried out and now that it’s re-opened we have a much safer boardwalk on this section of the trail, which will have a much longer lifespan.
“The work has unfortunately taken longer than anyone would have wanted but the end result provides us with a high-quality route which I’m sure users of the Exe Estuary Trail are looking forward to using once again.”
More than 94 tonnes of timber was removed during the repairs, and has been replaced with 70 new spans of a ‘more durable fibre-reinforced material’, known as Glass Reinforced Polymer (GRP).
The county council said around 6,000 GRP elements were installed during the project, using more than 26,700 steel bolts and screws.
Free tickets are now available to book for the Visit Exmouth event, showcasing the town’s tourism and visitor hot-spots.
The event, with more than 20 local exhibitors, will take place at Ocean Exmouth on Wednesday, February 28, from 2pm until 6pm. It is open to all who keen to meet and network with tourism businesses in and around Exmouth.
The event aims to showcase local attractions, hotels, foodie destinations and things to see and do in Exmouth.
Lisa Bowman, Exmouth town council clerk, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Visit Exmouth Tourism Showcase again this year.
“This is a great platform for our tourism and hospitality businesses to meet up and promote what they have on offer for 2024.”
Sign up to attend here.