A mega news round-up from East Devon – including community stories and photos from Exmouth, Seaton, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Exeter, Cranbrook, Axminster, Honiton, Ottery St Mary

A mega round-up of news from across East Devon – including community stories and photos from Exmouth, Seaton, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Exeter, Cranbrook, Axminster, Honiton, Ottery St Mary, plus crime, business, farming, what’s on. 

Honiton

Affordable homes have been announced for Honiton after 90 were sold by a developer to Sovereign Network Group (SNG).

SNG bought the homes in a deal with housing developer Baker Estates on the 291-home site at the Hayne Lane area of the town.

The properties are a mixture of one and two-bedroom flats, plus two and three-bedroom houses.

Of the new homes, SNG has made 45 available for social rent and 45 are earmarked for shared ownership customers.

James Gibson, SNG regional managing director for the west of England, said: “This is the first large scale development of new homes in Honiton for many years, so it is fantastic that we have been able to secure 90 much needed affordable homes for both shared ownership and social rent.

“Working with East Devon District Council on the lettings and nominations of these homes has made a real difference towards meeting local housing demand and in helping to create a new, thriving community in Honiton.”

Councillor Dan Ledger, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for Sustainable Homes and Communities, said: “This will make a huge difference to a lot of families within the district. The need for affordable housing, across East Devon, cannot be understated. There are currently around 5,000 households waiting on East Devon’s own housing register.”

Developer contribution cash – Section 106 funding – totalling £1,562,000, has been ringfenced to boost the town, for education, highway improvements, public open space and play areas.

Cllr Ledger added: “This development also has the positive impact of £1.5 million in funding for Honiton. This will be used to improve the local area and its facilities, on play parks, doctors’ surgeries and other key improvements needed for the community.”

Cranbrook

A vehicle spotted on fire in Cranbrook on Monday morning (March 25) resulted in firefighters from Middlemoor being called to the town.

The crew was called to the Yarlington Mill area of Cranbrook shortly after 7am, where they found the vehicle had caught fire accidentally, and involved wiring.

The crew found the fire was out on arrival, so carried out a safety check of the vehicle.

A fire service spokesperson said: “Fire control mobilised crew from Middlemoor to reports of a vehicle on fire in the Yarlington Mill area of Cranbrook.

“The crew confirmed that the fire was out on arrival in a private vehicle, but carried out an inspection on the vehicle.

“The cause of the fire was accidental involving a wiring loop.”

Exmouth

Free support is available to residents in Exmouth who have been affected by TV interference after mobile networks were upgraded at the end of February.

Restore TV has been providing free support in Exmouth to anyone watching television through an aerial, who may have been left with interference.

The support team said there could be a ‘small chance’ of interference to watchers using Freeview, BT, TalkTalk and YouView, which could include ‘intermittent sound, blocky images (pixelation) or loss of TV signal’.

For residents who are affected by the upgrades, free support is available from Restore TV – an independent programme created by Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL), an organisation owned by the UK’s four mobile network operators: EE, Virgin Media O2, Three and Vodafone.

Ben Roome, CEO of Restore TV, said: “We know just how important TV is to inform, entertain and provide welcome company. Restore TV exists to ensure we all can continue to access free to view TV as mobile services are improved across the country.

“If you see new TV interference, we’re on hand to help you resolve the issue. We can send a Restore TV filter, free of charge, for you to fit between your aerial lead and TV or set-top box to remove mobile signals and allow you to watch free to view TV as normal.

“Full instructions are included, and we can provide further advice online and by phone if needed.

“In most instances, fitting the filter will resolve any issues, but if this isn’t the case, we may also be able to arrange a follow-up visit from a Restore TV engineer at no cost, depending on eligibility.”

Any viewers who experience new interference to free-to-view TV should contact Restore TV on 0808 13 13 800 (free from landlines and mobiles). For more information, see here.

Exmouth 

Grants totalling £48,000 have been awarded to 13 not-for-profit groups from Exmouth who benefit the community.

Exmouth Town Council has announced it has awarded ‘vital funding’ in recognition of the voluntary and community groups.

Grants awarded on March 21, were:

  • Open Door – Men’s Shed: £1,500.
  • Exmouth Sea Scouts: £5,000.
  • Adventure Therapy: £1,215.
  • Exmouth Tiny Forests: £1,050.

Service Level Agreement funding, awarded where the town council has asked the organisation to provide the service on the authority’s behalf:

  • Citizens Advice: £8,000
  • Exmouth and District Community Transport: £5,732.
  • Exmouth Football Club (air ambulance night landing site): £3,500,
  • Exmouth in Bloom: £8,500.
  • Exmouth Town Concert Band: £1,500.
  • NCI Exmouth: £2,000.
  • Open Door: £7,000.
  • Exmouth Beach Rescue: £1,500.
  • Exmouth Museum: £2,000.

Councillor Alex Sadiq, Chair of the council’s finance committee, said: “Exmouth Town Council recognises the immense value of voluntary and community activity and its contribution to residents’ well-being, the local economy and the sustainability of a wide range of services which benefit people living and working in the town.

“We are therefore delighted to be able to support all of these organisations with vital funding.”

Exeter

A housebuilder in Exeter has donated funds to a sporting organisation in the city which aims to tackle loneliness in the elderly.

Developer Barratt David Wilson Homes Exeter presented £1,500 to Sporting Memories, a programme operated by Exeter City Community Trust (ECCT) the partner charity of Exeter City Football Club.

The funds helped pay for trips out for those attending the weekly friendship group sessions, aimed at men and women aged 60-90, where lively discussions on sporting news and sports quizzes are among the planned activities.

Exeter

Photo shows: Members of the Sporting Memories group accepting a cheque from Jo Towns, Marketing
Manager at BDWH Exeter.

Danny Harris, ECCT head of services, said: “This support arrives at a pivotal moment for our organisation, especially with the ending of our previous source of funding.

“The contribution will go a long way in sustaining our operations, including covering staff expenses, venue rentals, and providing refreshments for attendees.”

Sessions are hosted at St James Park in Exeter, and Old Heathcoat School Community Centre in Tiverton.

Organisers said Sporting Memories now attracts between 30 to 40 people per session.

The programme welcomes women and plans are in place to set up a dedicated group.

Sidmouth

Sidmouth Film Society will in April show an anniversary screening of the Titanic docu-drama A Night to Remember, with a collection to benefit Sidmouth Lifeboat.

To coincide with the anniversary on the Titanic sinking, the Radway Cinema will on April 12, at 7pm, screen the film, released in 1958, starring Kenneth More and Honor Blackman.

Tickets are £5 and £6, and include a short discussion about the film afterwards, where free tea and coffee will be served.

On the night there will be a collection in the foyer in support of Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat.

  • Sidmouth Film Society is showing French classic The Umbrellas of Cherbourg on Sunday, March 31 and Brief Encounter on April 28. Both start at 7pm, Radway Cinema.

Devon

Council tax for an average Band D home in Devon is set to rise by £81 a year, and will be spent on services for adults, kids, climate change, environment, and transport.

Devon County Council recently announced the 4.99 per cent tax rise for the coming financial year, which won the majority support of county Councillors at 34 votes to 14.

Devon County Council said the council tax for an average Band D home will rise by £81.54 to £1,715.67 – an extra £1.56 a week.

It said 2.99 per cent would be used for general services with an extra two per cent for adult care.

There will be increases of 10.4 per cent in spending on children’s services, six per cent on adult services and 4.7 per cent on climate change, environment and transport.

A county council spokesperson said: “Councillors also agreed an extra £1.5 million to boost regular road drainage since the target budget was set last month to tackle the increase in potholes caused by this winter’s heavy rainfall.”

They added: “There will also be £716,000 extra to bring the homelessness budget back up to £1.45 million to support the work of district councils and homeless organisations for another year.

“Devon’s revenue spending on services will increase from just under £700 million to £743 million in 2024/25. That’s an overall rise of 6.3 per cent in spending.

“In addition, Councillors approved a capital budget of over £155 million for investment in infrastructure such as schools and roads.”

East Devon

A brown bear saved from death who travelled on the Eurotunnel to an East Devon animal sanctuary has moved to his permanent home.

Diego the brown bear arrived at Wildwood Trust, Escot, near Ottery St Mary, five months ago, in November 2023, while his permanent home was made ready in Suffolk.

Bear

Brown bear Diego photographed on his arrival in East Devon.
Photos: with permission.

Diego, who faced being killed when the animal park closed in Sweden where he lived, recently arrived at his ‘forever home’ Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park, to live out the rest of his life.

Mark Habben, Director of Zoological Operations at Wildwood Trust, said it had been ‘privilege’ to help Diego.

“This was a bear whose options had simply run out, we really were his last hope, said Mark.

“Diego has been welcomed into the hearts of staff and visitors alike and he’ll be much missed but it was never in the plan to have him here past winter.

“We’re delighted his new home is ready and our bear experts will be on hand to support the team in Suffolk and pass on their experience to help him settle.

Diego spent ‘a fair bit of time’ in topor during his stay in East Devon – natural bear behaviour where they sleep deeply for weeks or months with only short bursts of activity.

Diego arrived in East Devon on November 2, as Storm Ciaran battered the country, prompting travel arrangements for the bear to change.

A spokeswoman for the park at Escot said: “The challenging weather conditions caused a last-minute change in transportation meaning he had to come over from Sweden on the Eurotunnel rather than by ferry as originally planned.

Despite the bumpy start, he settled quickly and soon earned himself the title of the gentle giant, towering over the park’s half-grown bears.”

Exeter

A budding electrician from Exeter is celebrating reaching the semi-final of the Scewfix Trade Apprentice 2024.

Archie Small, aged 20, pictured here, must now wait until the national final in May to learn if he has beaten the other 32 hopefuls and scooped the prize worth £10,000.

ExeterArchie, who is currently studying Electrical Installation at Exeter College, said: “Reaching the semi-finals of Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2024 was a shock to be honest. I didn’t expect to be selected out of the many other apprentices that had entered this competition.

“Having been on my apprenticeship journey for over a year now, I’ve learnt so much in such a short space of time; an apprenticeship isn’t just about learning new skills, it’s also allowed me to unlock a passion.

“To reach the semi-finals is a result of my dedication and determination to embark on a successful career in the trades.

“I’m really proud to have made it to the semi-finals and I’m excited to showcase my story so far, I hope it’s enough to secure my place in the final and be crowned Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2024.”

Exmouth

Firefighters wore breathing apparatus to tackle a blaze in Exmouth after multiple calls were made by the public to raise the alarm.

Fire crews from Exmouth, Clyst St George, and Danes Castle, in Exeter, were at 5am called to the Littleham area of Exmouth, where a blaze was reported in a commercial building.

The fire service said the cause of the blaze was accidental.

The fire completely destroyed the single-storey building.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Fire control received multiple calls to a commercial building on fire in the Littleham area of Exmouth

“Two fire appliances were immediately mobilised to the incident.

“As soon as the first appliance arrived, they confirmed the building to be well alight and requested a third appliance. This was mobilised from Clyst St George fire station alongside a supporting officer.

“Shortly after requesting the third appliance, the officer in charge requested a water bowser, this was mobilised from Danes Castle, Exeter.

“Due to the nature of the fire, the officer in charge then requested a fourth appliance, this also came from Danes Castle.”

East Devon

Community orchards across East Devon hosted training sessions on how to care for the fruit trees.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) held events in February at orchards in Axminster (St. George’s Avenue), Exmouth (Bidmead Close), Budleigh Salterton (Moormead), and Broadclyst (Wiltshier Close).

Exmouth

Bidmead orchard, Exmouth.
Photo: EDDC.

Axminster

St George’s Avenue orchard, Axminster.
Photo: EDDC.

Budleigh

Moormead orchard, Budleigh.
Photo: EDDC.

Paul Fealey, StreetScene’s horticultural technical officer, who led the sessions, said: “It was a delight to work with residents who were so keen to learn new skills and to see their levels of confidence grow as they worked their way around pruning the fruit trees one step at a time, and seeing the differences they made to the trees after removing stems that were dead, damaged, diseased, or deformed to end up with healthier trees that will bear much more fruit.”

Broadclystr

Wilshier Close orchard, Broadclyst.
Photo: EDDC.

Broadclyst

Wilshier Close orchard, Broadclyst.
Photo: EDDC.

Community orchards have been in place for several years, with the older trees located in Axminster and Budleigh Salterton, and younger trees arriving in Broadclyst two years ago.

Exmouth

Police in Exmouth recently arrested a man and a woman after seizing cannabis worth more than £20,000 from a flat in the town.

Officers were ‘alerted’ to someone said to be trying to post what police are calling a ‘suspicious’ parcel at a nearby Post Office, prompting officers to raid an address in the town.

Police arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of cultivating an illegal substance and they remain on bail pending further enquiries.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “The team were recently alerted to someone who was believed to be attempting to post a suspicious parcel at a local post office.

“Following further investigation an amount of what is believed to be cultivating cannabis was found at a residential address in Exmouth along with more than £20,000 worth of what is believed to be cannabis stored and packed in a state ready for posting across the UK.

“In addition to the suspected drugs a range of expensive watches were also seized from the same flat and investigations are ongoing into these items.

“Police arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of cultivating an illegal substance and they remain on bail pending further enquiries.”

The force said a review of drugs and cash seizures by the Exmouth and Ottery neighbourhood police team showed that between November 2022 and August 2023, a collective value of drugs and cash totalling more than £350,000 has been seized, following 18 investigations.

East Devon

Police recently raided properties in Seaton, Sidmouth and Axminster in March and seized large quantities of Class A drugs.

East Devon police said several weapons and fake guns were also seized and several arrests were made.

Police searched the properties and seized property and drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

A police spokesperson said: “Warrants authorised by magistrates have been executed in Seaton, Sidmouth and Axminster.

“Large quantities of class A drugs have been seized.

“In addition, several weapons and imitation firearms have also been seized.

Several arrests have been made.

“Investigations and prosecutions will continue.”

The spokesperson added: “These warrants would not be possible without the reports that we receive from our communities.”

Axminster

A year of solicitor support has resulted in £5,000 being presented to Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support.

The charity revealed its ‘heartfelt gratitude’ to solicitors Scott Rowe for donating £5,305, which will help fund practical help and support to cancer patients in the Axminster and Lyme area.

Axminster

The cheque presentation. Photo: with permission.

The firm held a host of fundraising events in a bid to support the charity.

A spokesman for Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support said: “We wish to express its sincere gratitude to Scott Rowe for their unwavering support and generosity.

“Their dedication to our cause has made a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by cancer in our community.”

Seaton

A seagull trapped in netting on a roof in Seaton was freed by the fire service at the request of the RSPCA.

Firefighters were called to the property on March 22, where they positioned a roof ladder to reach the stricken bird.

The rescued seagull was left in the care of the RSPCA.

Seaton

The bird was trapped in netting.
Photo: Seaton fire station.

A Seaton fire station spokesperson said: “We were requested to assist the RSPCA to rescue a seagull stuck in netting on a chimney.

“This job was made awkward by telephone cables getting in the way of our ladder pitch.

“The seagull was released from the netting and handed over to the RSPCA.”

Sidmouth

A floating object spotted in the water off Sidmouth beach was pulled ashore by the Coastguard amid fears in was leaking oil.

Beer Coastguard Rescue were called to the beach on Thursday morning (March 14) where one of the team waded into the water to bring a metal container back to shore.

The Coastguard team said an oil drum was recovered and handed to the council for disposal.

Sidmouth

Photo shows the oil drum being pulled from the water.
Photo: Beer Coastguard Rescue Team.

A Beer Coastguard rescue Team spokesperson said: “We were tasked to possible pollution off Sidmouth Beach, an object seen floating seemed to have a trail of oil leaking from it.

“Once on scene it was found not to be oil but a trail of small debris about 20m off shore, the object was thought to be an oil drum.

“It was decided to recover the drum. one of the team went into the water with dry suit and lifejacket on and attached to a floating line back to another team member on shore.

“The oil drum was recovered and found to be half full of water, it was emptied and handed to a Council workman for disposal.”

The team said recovering the drum prevented any further reports from the public.

Exmouth

Vandals recently demolished part of a memorial garden in Exmouth created by a wife after her husband died.

Police say they have photos of the culprits and are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to get in touch.

The fence has been damaged ‘on numerous occasions’ since it was put up outside the home in Jarvis Close, Littleham, Exmouth, said police.

Exmouth

The vandalised fence.
Photo: with permission/D&C Police.

An Exmouth police spokesperson said: “The garden itself was created by the resident in memory of her late husband. And fencing was erected to protect the many plants and shrubs within the garden.

“For reasons unknown since its installation the fencing has been damaged on numerous occasions by youths passing by.

The latest attack on the fencing can be seen in the accompanying photographs taken by the victim directly afterwards.”

The spokesperson added: “Devon and Cornwall Police have images of the offenders and are proceeding with enquiries.”

Call police on 101 with information, quoting reference number 50240033052.

Seaton

The air ambulance was called to Seaton at the start of March after firefighters rescued a casualty trapped in a car that had crashed onto its roof at Seaton.

Firefighters from Seaton and Axminster were on March 7 called to Harepath Road where one person had been freed by some passers-by, while another was ‘medically trapped’ inside the vehicle.

The fire crews cut away part of the car structure to free the trapped casualty.

Seaton

The crash scene. Photo: Seaton fire station.

The air ambulance airlifted one casualty top hospital, while the other went by land ambulance.

Firefighters praised the public for their help at the crash scene.

A Seaton fire station spokesperson said: “We were sent to a road traffic collision on Harepath Road, Seaton, where it was believed persons were trapped.

“On arrival, we found a car on its roof with one person already helped out by some passers-by and one person medically trapped within the car.

“Two of the crew were given the job to administer first aid and another to stabilise the car.”

The spokesperson added: “A big thank you to the first people who were on scene, as they did a brilliant job and made our job easier.”

Cranbrook

Students from East Devon teamed up with an artist in a bid to boost their school gallery and share art with the community.

Brenda Thomas worked with students from Cranbrook Education Campus, as part of the Ted Wragg Trust.

Cranbrook

Artist Brenda Thomas at Cranbrook Education Campus. Photo: with permission.

The artist made the first 2024 entry for the school’s gallery project, which began in 2023 and aims ‘to bring the world of art closer to the Cranbrook community’.

Brenda’s addition to the school’s gallery focussed on ‘the power of textiles’.

Cranbrook

Pictured here is Brenda Thomas at the campus in Cranbrook. Photo: with permission.

She left pupils with ‘a travelling collection’ of additional pieces to be shared among the classes and students.

Budleigh Salterton

Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club has announced its charity of the year as Budleigh Salterton and District Hospiscare.

The support for 2024 coincides with Budleigh Salterton and District Hospiscare’s 40th anniversary.

Budleigh

Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club is supporting Budleigh and District Hospiscare. Photo: with permission.

Joel Murphy, cricket club chairman, said: “Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club are a community-driven cricket club, and we are excited to be able to support and promote the incredible work that Budleigh Salterton and District Hospiscare do in the town and local area.

“We are two charitable organisations who are focused on the health and well-being of the community, as such we are looking forward to working on some great events together throughout the year.”

Martin Briggs, Budleigh Salterton and District Hospiscare chairman, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club have made us their charity of the Year for 2024.

“The partnership is a great example of two local organisations working together for the benefit of the local community – with BSCC helping to raise valuable funds for us during our 40th Anniversary year and us supporting the Otters in their great new location at The Holt.

“It’s a fantastic start to our 40th Anniversary year.”

Honiton

A ‘suspicious object’ found on an industrial estate in Honiton in March resulted in the area being cordoned off amid fears the find was an unexploded bomb.

The emergency services were called to the Heathpark Industrial Estate on March 7 after a ‘metallic, heavily rusted, and cylindrical’ object was found in the ground.

Royal Navy bomb disposal experts were called and it was found the object was ‘not an unexploded device’, said police.

A police spokesperson said: “The object was metallic, heavily rusted, and cylindrical with a diameter of approximately one foot.

“The first units arrived on scene at 14:10, and owing to the positioning of the object within the soil, it was not possible to fully ascertain what it was.”

Photos were sent to Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialists from Plymouth who then arrived at the scene to properly assess the object.

Police closed roads and cordoned off Durham Way and along Devonshire Road.

A police spokesperson said: “EOD operators arrived on the scene and confirmed that this was not an unexploded device. The cordon was lifted, and roads re-opened. “

Exeter – Topsham

A former primary school teacher has opened a new café inside a children’s toy shop in Topsham

Pip Williams, pictured, said opening Nook, in Fore Street, ‘was a dream come true’.

Pip, who was a primary school teacher, said: “I wanted to create an inclusive place for people to relax while kids let off steam – with no booking necessary.

“The café is aimed at families, but anyone can enjoy the space – people without kids too.”

She said the café aims to host pop-up events, including live music and parent groups.

Topsham

Photo: The new cafe inside Squid & the Kid, Topsham.
Photo: Nick Hook.

East Devon

Celebrity chef Michael Caines, from Lympstone Manor, in East Devon, has been named as the new president of the 2024 Devon County Show.

Show organisers said Caines was ‘a devoted advocate of farming and food in Devon’.

He said: “I have been working behind the scenes at the show for some time now and have and met so many of the extraordinary people charged with running this annual event.

“What strikes me is that whatever, their role, from mowing the grass, to running the livestock section, to directing traffic into the car parks, is their passion in all they do. I want to find ways to spotlight and celebrate each-and-every one of them.”

He added: “We all recognise that farmers face huge challenges in their daily lives. Looking after our farmers to secure a better future for the industry is another personal passion of mine.

“I am working closely with the show organisers to look at ways to highlight some of the issues farmers face and how they can overcome them.”

Devon

Michael Caines has been named show president for 2024. Photo: with permission.

Exmouth

Wales & West Utilities announced an early finish to its £340,000 investment work to upgrade gas pipes in the Exmouth Road area of Lympstone.

Gas pipe upgrade work on the main route into Exmouth finished ahead of schedule, said Wales & West Utilities.

The £340,000 work to upgrade gas pipes in the Exmouth Road area of Lympstone began in January, and resulted in temporary traffic lights, road closures and diversions.

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

Seaton

Seaton Wetlands has been awarded £8,000 in a bid to boost youngsters learning about the environment and wildlife.

The funds were presented by Seaton Visitor Centre Trust to help cover the costs of school visits and educational and monitoring equipment.

Seaton Visitor Centre Trust (SVCT), which closed in 2021, gifted its remaining funds to Seaton Wetlands to continue educating people of all ages.

Pictured here is Seaton Visitor Centre Trust presenting the funds. Photo: with permission.

Bernard Dunford SVCT chair, said: “Throughout the 20 years of the trust, we have enjoyed fantastic local support to deliver our goals of educating people about the history and the environmental story of the Axe Valley and the Jurassic Coast.

“The trustees agreed that remaining funds will be gifted to Seaton Wetlands to continue with these aims, educating people of all ages who will be able to enjoy and protect the wonderful natural beauty of the area.”

Seaton Tramway recently announced that the Jurassic Discovery Centre will open at the site in Spring 2024.

Cllr Geoff Jung, East Devon District Council portfolio holder for coast, country and environment, said: “On behalf of Seaton Wetlands, I would like to say a very big thank you to the SVCT for the donation.

“This money will enable children from local schools to visit and learn about the wildlife. We also plan to install more bird boxes and web cams, which are a real hit with visitors.

“This kind donation will make it possible for 15 to 20 school classes to visit and experience Seaton Wetlands.  New equipment will include an events shelter, pond dipping equipment, sweep nets, interpretation sheets, and even wellie boots for those who may not have them.”

He added: “The funds will also pay for an aerial camera for site surveys and extra nest box cameras.”

Exmouth

Police say cold-callers have been spotted in Exmouth offering guttering and roofing work in the town and surrounding areas.

Officers have urged caution when agreeing to work being done in the home.

Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Don’t agree to work offered by unsolicited doorstep callers.”

They added: “We have been made aware that there may be cold-callers offering guttering and roofing services in the Exmouth and surrounding areas.

“If someone knocks on your door and you are not sure, don’t open the door.”

Sidmouth

Police seized what was believed to be a quantity of Class A drugs from a property in Sidmouth at the end of January.

A 23-year-old woman was arrested and later released under investigation, pending further police enquiries.

Investigating officers want to hear from anyone with information, to get in touch.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: “Officers executed a Misuse of Drugs Act Warrant at a property in Sidmouth on Monday 29 January.

“A quantity suspected Class A drugs were located and seized by officers.

A 39-year-old woman from Sidmouth has been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a class A drug.

“She has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.”

If you have information to help police with call 10, quoting reference number 50240017861.

Seaton

Seaton Community Hospital has been granted the status of an ‘Asset of Community Value’ as campaigners battle to save a wing at the hospital.

The move means the community has won the right request a six-month pause into any attempt to sell or demolish the wing, while alternative ways of using the building are explored.

Seaton’s MP Richard Foord said the decision represents ‘a big win’ for campaigners, who have opposed plans to turn a whole wing of the facility – built using money raised by the local community – over to NHS Property Services, for ‘disposal’.

Mr Foord, MP for Tiverton & Honiton, said: “The ball is now in NHS Property Services’ corner. I am calling on them to drop their plans to take back ownership of this wing and instead work with both myself, the League of Friends, and East Devon District Council to find a way forward.”

Cllr Paul Arnott, East Devon District Council leader, said: “This status now offers increased protection for Seaton hospital, but this is not the end of the line.

“Now the ball is in NHS Property Services’ corner, and I hope they will not seek to fight us on this.”

Exmouth

Residents at an Exmouth care home joined in a mega game of bingo when 250 organisations across the UK reached for their dabbers.

Raleigh Manor care home residents, pictured here, were among scores of Barchester care homes and hospitals who joined in the big bingo bonanza.

Exmouth

Eyes down – the residents took part in the mega game of bingo.
Photo: with permission.

Gill Pratt, general manager, said: “We’ve got some real bingo fanatics at our home, we are very competitive – our residents love taking part in anything where winning is involved, you could hear a pin drop in here when we were all playing.”

Exmouth

Raleigh Manor care home residents, in Exmouth, took part in the big bingo bonanza.
Photo: with permission.

Exmouth

Dabbers at the ready – the mega game was played by scores of care homes.
Photo: with permission.

Honiton

Honiton police station front desk is among the latest to open to the public.

From early February the public has been able to report a crime or ask for help at the newly-opened office. The office is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am until 3pm.

Honiton

Richard Foord MP (fourth left back row)  was at the official opening.
Photo: with permission.

Richard Foord, Tiverton and Honiton MP, was at the official opening and urged the Government and PCC increase police community support officers locally.

He said: “The re-opening of the front desk at Honiton Police station represents real progress – particularly in terms of our push to restore fully the bond between the officers who keep us safe and local residents.

“People feel more safe and secure when we prioritise grassroots community policing, with officers who are well known within the community. People appreciate visible and accessible neighbourhood teams, so that crime can be prevented or is easy to report when it occurs.”

He added: “The number of Police Community Support Officers across Devon and Cornwall has been cut by 60 per cent since 2015. Our neighbourhood teams cannot be everywhere at once, so these PCSOs play a vital role in helping bridge that gap.

“We have so many outstanding local community support officers. They really are at the heart of their communities and the role they play is invaluable – that’s why we need to bring back the hundreds of PCSO roles that have been cut back.

“This, combined with further front desk re-openings across our towns, will ensure more residents feel safe where they live. I am urging both the Government and Police & Crime Commissioner to make this a priority.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Alison Hernandez, said Exeter was among the next location to open a front desk.

Budleigh Salterton

A care home in Budleigh Salterton handed out bunches of daffodils in celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Day.

The Firs Care Home residents presented bunches of daffodils to people in Budleigh as a gesture of goodwill and friendship.

Budleigh

Daffodils were given out as random acts of kindness. Photo: with permission.

Budleigh

Bunches of daffodils were given as gifts. Photo: with permisison.

A spokeswoman for the care home said: Seeing the joy our residents brought to people’s faces today, and the genuine interactions that ensued, was incredibly fulfilling.”

Residents finished their random acts of kindness with a catch-up and cuppa at a café in the town.

Sidmouth

Complaints about the maintenance of Sidmouth Cemetery prompted the district council to visit the site.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) recently held a special meeting and a tour at Sidmouth Cemetery ‘following a number of complaints received about the maintenance of the site’.

The district council said as a result of the tour, EDDC has teamed up with Cherishing Sidmouth Cemeteries group, Sid Valley Biodiversity Group and Sidmouth Town Council, to help keep the cemetery tidy and create a ‘wildlife haven’.

EDDC said it was keen to hear ideas from the public and organisations on ways to ‘balance space for nature’ and continue the ‘sympathetic management’ of graves for loved-ones to visit.

An EDDC spokesperson said: “An army of amazing volunteers have stepped forward to offer their time and support, allowing EDDC to continue its work within the community, mowing pathways, keeping areas neat and tidy, while also encouraging biodiversity and wildlife wildflowers and bulbs.”

  • If you have ideas for improvements, email: parksandgardens@eastdevon.gov.uk.

East Devon

East Devon MP Simon Jupp has backed calls to end the tax rule on care, which is heaped on families.

The MP was at 10 Downing Street with Libby Price and Liz Dennis, co-founders of The Filo Project, Anthony Mangnall, MP for Totnes, and Peter Kempton, an Exeter resident whose mother received care from the organisation, to handover a petition to the Prime Minister, calling to scrap the 20 per cent VAT rule on care services.

East Devon

Pictured here: (L to R) is Anthony Mangnall MP, Dr Liz Dennis, Libby Price, Simon Jupp MP and Peter Kempton outside 10 Downing Street.

Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, said; “The families of loved-ones living with dementia shouldn’t have to pay extra tax on care.

“I’m proud to be supporting The Filo Project’s campaign for not-for-profit organisations like theirs to be exempt from having to charge 20 per cent VAT.

“This will make it easier for families to afford the essential care they need for their loved ones.”

He added: “I want to thank The Filo Project for their dedicated work on this important issue, and for the warm, empowering support they provide to those living with dementia across East Devon.”

The Filo Project, founded in 2014, helped 3,000 socially isolated older people with early or moderate dementia, caring for them in their homes.

The organisation has day care groups in Sidmouth, Upottery, Honiton, Wilmington and Chardstock.

East Devon

Ballroom dancers from across East Devon raised more than £5,000 for the Children’s Hospice South West.

Dance partners Jean Pollington, from Ottery St Mary, and Mike Green, from Exeter, raised £5,117 through an annual charity dance, held in November at Clyst St Mary village hall, as well as weekly car boot sales.

East Devon

Jean’s charity dance raised funds for the Children’s Hospice South West.
Photo: with permission.

The children’s charity said the dance partners have raised an ‘astounding’ total of £24,273 for CHSW.

Jean, who has been organising the popular dances for around 13 years, said: “We are also so grateful to everyone who has donated unwanted goods for our various car boot sales.

“Please continue to do so, as we would like to do better for the charity this year.”

Budleigh Salterton

The Minister for Nature was in Budleigh Salterton to mark the expansion of the Lower Otter Valley wetlands.

Rebecca Pow MP was at the recent celebrations to mark the expansion in East Devon, where around 220 acres of land has been turned over to the Pebblebed Heaths National Nature Reserve.

The ceremony was hosted by Natural England in partnership with Clinton Devon Estates, the owner of the land within the extension.

East Devon MP Simon Jupp, who attended the ceremony, said: “The huge investment into our local environment through the Lower Otter Restoration Project is already paying dividends, with greater protections for biodiversity and a more resilient ecosystem.”

More than half of the extended area is habitat created as part of the recently completed Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP).

Seaton

Love was in the air when a care home in East Devon celebrated Valentine’s Day with a romantic meal.

The dining rooms at The Seaton care home decorated with hearts and flowers in a bid to spark romance.

Residents with spouses were invited to have a private meal together, while the group held their own celebrations.

care

Margaret and Dave Gear.
Photo: with permission.

care

The dining room was decorated for the Valentine’s Day meal.
Photo: with permission.

The home said Valentine’s Day could be ‘a sad day’ for residents in care living away from spouses.

Kelly Boweren, home administration manager, said: “We invited those with spouses to have a private dinner together and our other residents enjoyed a group meal.

“We had some lovely feedback, with one couple saying they were truly overwhelmed it had been such a memorable day.”

care

Jeannie and Tony Allder with their friend, Tina.
Photo: with permission.

Seaton

Diana and Ted Dalton.
Photo: with permission.

East Devon

Grieving East Devon children hit by bereavement have been helped by a supermarket charity with a grant of £3,000.

Charity Balloons received the funding from Tesco’s Stronger Starts project, which awards grants to charities and community organisations that make a positive difference in the lives of children and young people.

The charity received two grants of £1,500 for books, journals, arts and craft materials, plus games and other equipment for bereaved children and young people in Exeter, Exmouth and Honiton.

The funding will also pay for the delivery of grief support sessions and care packages.

The Stronger Starts scheme, in partnership with the Groundwork charity, said it aims to support many East Devon community projects and good causes in the coming years, with thousands of pounds to give away through its in-store blue token vote.

Exeter

Young readers from a primary school in Exeter have teamed up with a charity in a bid to tackle loneliness in the elderly.

Exwick Heights Primary School pupils, pictured here, joined forces with the Ted Wragg Trust and Silver Stories charity, calling older people on phone to read to them.

There are three Silver Readers – children from Year 5 – who weekly telephone older people to read to them.

Exeter

Exwick Heights Primary School pupils are helping tackle loneliness in the elderly. Photo: with permission.

Exeter

The children read stories over the phone. Photo: with permission.

Gemma Wills, Exwick Heights Primary School headteacher, said: “I am so proud of our ‘Silver Readers’ and the positive impact they are having on the lives of others.

“It’s brilliant to see them so excited to plan what they are going to read and to hear about the chats they have with their ‘Silver Listeners.’

Moira Marder, CEO of the Ted Wragg Trust said: “Everyone at the trust is thrilled that Exwick Heights are supporting the Silver Stories charity.

“Volunteering work such as this teaches children so much about the world and how to become informed, compassionate citizens.  I want to say a huge well done to the ‘Silver Readers’ for taking part in this brilliant and touching initiative.”

Exeter

The youngsters are supporting the Silver Stories charity. Photo: with permission.

Sidmouth

Nature trail fun can be had at The Donkey Sanctuary from now until June to discover some of the wildlife and plants that at the site.

Drizzle’s Green Guardians Trail invites visitors to follow clues and explore the centre, keeping an eye out for animals and plants that call the sanctuary home. Trail sheets cost £5 each and include a prize on completion.

A spokesman for the animal charity said: “The sanctuary is home to thousands of insects, animals and plants, and they rely on donkeys like Drizzle and his pals to boost biodiversity on the land.

“Whether they are grazing the meadows or collecting seeds on their coats then spreading them around, all the donkeys lend a helping hoof to support our native wildlife.”

The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth is open daily from 9am – 5pm. Entry is free.

East Devon

The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently met with farmers in East Devon in a bid to learn about the industry, its ‘challenges and opportunities’.

East Devon

Pictured here is the Prime Minister, Simon Jupp MP, local farmers, NFU representatives & Devon and Cornwall Police.
Photo: Simon Jupp.

Mr Sunak joined East Devon MP Simon Jupp in Sidbury for the roundtable meeting of farmers from East and Mid Devon.

Farmers from Broadclyst, Talaton, Venn Ottery, Cullompton, Seaton, Sidbury and Sidmouth raised the challenges and opportunities facing the sector with the Prime Minister, said Mr Jupp.

Devon

Prime Minister and Simon Jupp MP met local farmers at Sidbury Village Hall.
Photo: with permission.

East Devon

An abandoned quad bike recently spotted on Woodbury Common was found to have been stolen from Bicton College.

Exmouth police said officers were in ‘regular contact’ with Clinton Devon Estates, whose ranger found the all-terrain vehicle on Woodbury Common.

The stolen quad bike was returned to the college.

Quad

The stolen quad bike was found on Woodbury Common.
Photo: D&C Police.

Exeter

Exeter City Swimming Club celebrated success at the Devon County Championships after taking its largest ever team to compete.

The championships, held throughout January and February at the Plymouth Life Centre, included 84 competitors, aged nine-years-old and over, from Exeter City Swimming Club, who went head-to-head with some of the top swimmers in Devon.

Exeter

Some of the club’s competitors with their medals. Photo: with permission.

Exeter

The club celebrated multiple medal success. Photo: with permission.

The Exeter competitors brought home 131 medals and also won the Interclub award, where clubs from across the county battle it out in a series of individual races and team relays to earn points.

Exeter

Exeter City Swimming Club celebrated success at the Devon County Championships. Photo: with permission.

Exeter

A new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the A379, on the edge of Exeter, is open for use, the county council has announced.

The 36-metre span bridge, which was lifted into place last summer, has been constructed as part of the ongoing South West Exeter development.

The bridge is part of a development of 2,500 new homes, new road layouts,  and a roundabout, near the Devon Court Hotel.

Devon County Council said the bridge has been designed as a ‘gateway’ feature to the new development area, with a number of panels designed by artist Isabel Coulton installed on the structure, plus ‘architectural lighting’.

Exeter

Pictured here is the new bridge over A379, near Matford, Exeter.
Photo: Connor Denning.

Budleigh Salterton

Care home residents at Budleigh Salterton were invited to a Mad Hatter’s tea party celebration.

The Firs care home took residents down a rabbit hole of fun when they were greeted by a host of fictional Alice in Wonderland characters.

Budleigh

The Mad Hatter’s tea party at the care home.
Photo: with permission.

Budleigh

The Firs held a mad Hatter’s tea party.
Photo: with permisison.

The dining room was transformed and residents tucked into a homemade cake in the shape of a toadstool.

The care home said the dining room became ‘a gateway to Wonderland, inviting all to embrace a bit of delightful madness’.

Budleigh

The tea party in full swing.
Photo: with permission.

Budleigh

Staff dressed up a characters from the Alice in Wonderland tale.
Photo: with permission.

A spokesperson for the care home said: “The staff went above and beyond yet again, creating a truly magical experience that took us all back to our childhoods. It was a smashing afternoon.”

East Devon

Plans to create a cycle and pedestrian path between Sidbury and Sidford have been met with ‘overwhelming support’.

Feedback to Devon County Council’s consultation for a walking and cycling route from Sidford along the western side of the A375, crossing Ottery Lane with a new cycle/pedestrian crossing, connecting to Hillside, near Sidbury, has been backed by 89 per cent of those taking part in a public consultation.

Devon County Council (DCC) needs to hold further discussions with local landowners but it hopes a planning application for the proposed western route can be submitted in May.

The county council says it has invested £150,000 of Local Transport Funding this financial year to continue developing plans for the route.

A second phase will be needed to continue the path on to Sidbury and this ‘could potentially be provided by developers’, the county council said.

East Devon and Exeter

Business Information Point has launched a new, free business support programme for pre-start and trading businesses in Mid Devon, East Devon and Exeter.

This specialised support is designed to help businesses and entrepreneurs improve productivity,

reach net zero goals, move into new markets, develop new products and more.

The support team has partnered with digital agency and social enterprise, Cosmic, based in Honiton, to deliver the support.

A Business Information Point spokeswoman said: “Whether you’re looking at taking your business into new markets, aiming to launch new products or services, if you need help with planning or managing finances, or if you want to improve your digital skills, this support is designed for businesses looking to grow, change and adopt new practices.”

Help will be provided in four areas:

  • Businesses looking to change and adopt new practices
  • Green business support
  • Start-up support
  • Businesses looking to employ staff

See here for more details and how to take part.

East Devon

A charity supporting women diagnosed with breast cancer in East Devon is giving out chemo kits to those in need.

The charity is providing women going through chemotherapy with bags to ‘comfort and help’ through their treatment.

Exmouth

The chemo kit bags from Can Cope charity. Photo: with permission.

Can Cope said it had received donations from Tesco and the community to help fill the bags with small gifts and items to support women while they go through chemotherapy.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Approximately 20 women per month receive chemotherapy at the hospital, and Can Cope’s project for this year is to provide these women with a chemo kit, full of useful things to help and comfort them through what can be a difficult time.

“The charity has received donations from Tesco and the general public to fill these bags with items such as hand and body lotions, puzzle books and anything people feel would be useful.”

Can Cope is a local charity, supporting women who have had a breast cancer diagnosis.  The charity was set up in 1984 in Exmouth and now provides a service to women across East Devon.

More than 56,000 women are diagnosed each year in UK and many are treated at Exeter RD&E hospital, the charity said.

Can Cope has a drop-off box at Tesco, Salterton Rd, Exmouth and can be contacted via the charity’s Facebook page, website or by calling 07709081618 for anyone needing its help.

Ottery St Mary

Coleridge Footbridge in Ottery St Mary is unlikely to re-open this year due to the extent of the damage it has suffered from a fallen tree.

The county council said the bridge, which has been closed for more than a month, has been left with structural damage to the main section, resulting in damage and twisting of the metal and walkway.

Devon County Council said the bridge must be removed to ground level to be repaired, in a bid to avoid it collapsing, or further damage.

A DCC spokesperson said: “A large crane would be required to lift the structure but current ground conditions are not suitable to undertake this operation.

Ottery

Closed – Coleridge footbridge at Ottery.
Photo: with permission.

Devon County Council engineers are working with the original bridge fabricator to explore repair options. In the interim, a specialist arborist is advising the county council on how best to remove the tree without causing further damage to the structure.

“However, due to the size and estimated weight of the tree, the best way to support the tree during its removal is also likely to be a large crane which again would need better ground conditions.”

DCC added: “The bridge is currently fenced off at both ends and members of the public are asked to avoid the area.

“Any accidental movement of the tree could lead to further damage to the bridge and ultimately failure of the structure.”

The county council said it also wanted to avoid parts of the tree being washed downstream, impacting the river.

Exeter

Learning hieroglyphics and all-things Egyptian was on the curriculum for Whipton Barton Federation pupils, in Exeter.

The school, who is supported by the Ted Wragg Trust, recently teamed up with Torquay Museum education team to take part in a history workshop, where Year 1 pupils learned about ancient Egypt.

Exeter

The youngsters learned about Egypt.
Photo: with permission.

Exeter

Whipton Barton Federation pupils teamed up with Torquay Museum.
Photo: with permission.

Exeter

The workshop included lots of different activities. Photo: with permission.

Moira Marder, CEO of the Ted Wragg Trust said:  “Everyone at the trust was delighted to hear about the ancient Egyptian workshop that took place at Whipton Barton Federation.

“It certainly looks as though the children had a wonderful time and took a lot away from this memorable, hands-on learning experience.”

Exeter

Learning hieroglyphics as part of the lesson on ancient Egypt.
Photo: with permission.

Exeter

The children learned about ancient Egypt.
Photo: with permission.

Pay-and-display parking plan for two East Devon towns is set to be scrapped amid a county-wide public outcry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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