East Devon community news and photos – a round-up of stories from Exmouth, Sidmouth, Cranbrook, Seaton, Ottery St Mary, Budleigh Salterton and Exeter 

A round-up of news from across East Devon, including community stories, photos and what’s on, from Exmouth, Sidmouth, Cranbrook, Seaton, Ottery St Mary, Budleigh Salterton and Exeter. 



The van on fire in a field in Axminster.
Photo: Axminster Fire Station.

Axminster firefighters tackled a blaze in the early hours of Friday morning (June 14) after a van caught on fire following a crash.

The fire service received several 999 calls to report the blaze after spotting a vehicle in a water-filled drainage ditch in a field in Axminster.

Firefighters wore breathing apparatus and a used a hose reel jet to tackle the blaze.

An Axminster fire station spokesman said: “Owing to the fact the van was within a water filled ditch that led to the River Axe, crews informed the Environment Agency of ‘run off’ from the vehicle.

“Due to the nature of this incident the police were also requested to attend.”

East Devon

East Devon residents gearing up to choose an MP to represent them in the new Exmouth and Exeter East and Honiton and Sidmouth constituencies in next month’s General Election are urged to make sure they are registered to vote.

The district council said it was ‘essential’ to register or apply for a postal vote ahead of the July 4 elections.

You must be registered to vote before the rapidly approaching deadline of 11.59pm on Tuesday, June 18 2024.

Postal votes must be applied for before 5pm on Wednesday, June 19.

To apply, see here.  You will need to provide your national insurance number and date of birth to register.

Melanie Wellman, East Devon District Council’s Acting Returning Officer, said: “Your vote is your voice. We want to ensure that everyone who is eligible has the opportunity to participate.

“Registering to vote and applying for a postal vote if needed are key steps in making your voice heard. We want to achieve a record turnout at this election.”

  • See here for more details


Sidmouth residents have been thanked by the county council after months of repair work under Woolbrook Road came to an end.

Devon County Council thanked residents for their ‘patience and cooperation’ amid work to replace the top of the culvert running underneath the road.


The culvert replacement work in Sidmouth.
Photo: DCC.

A county council spokesman said: “The top of the culvert had to be replaced after a routine inspection identified concerns with its condition that had led to cracking on the road surface.

“Work started in March with a temporary road closure to remove the concrete slab on top of the culvert. Construction work then continued under traffic lights to reconstruct the slab.”

He added: “The 12-week scheme also involved improving the capacity of the culvert to cope with heavy rain following the removal of steel pipes that were causing a partial blockage of the culvert.

“The road has been resurfaced during road closures outside of peak times.”

East Devon

An animal charity chief is gearing up to sleep rough in Honiton, Ilminster and Sidmouth in a bid to raise funds for its sanctuary.

Kevan Hodges, Ferne Animal Sanctuary CEO, will spend a week sleeping outside in the towns where the charity has shops.

His week of sleeping rough aims to highlight the plight of abandoned and stray animals, who are often forced to sleep and survive on the streets.

He has set up online fundraising with donations supporting the charity’s work.

He said:  “We sadly rescue hundreds of animals every year, who are often left to fend for themselves in the worst conditions you could imagine.

“On their behalf, I will be sleeping rough for seven nights at seven of our eight Ferne charity shops in Devon and Somerset, to raise vital funds for our surrendered, neglected and abandoned animals.

“Every donation is a life-saving chance for the animals we care for.”

As well as East Devon, the charity has shops in Chard, Crewkerne, Wellington and Dorchester.


Sidmouth lifeguards have returned to the town for the summer season, keeping the town’s beachgoers safe.

The volunteers are giving up their time to provide full-time cover from now until September 8.

A spokesperson for the team said:  “We are pleased to welcome back four of last year’s lifeguards, together with five new recruits for this season.

“As well as being fully qualified beach lifeguards, the team will complete additional first aid training, and take part in exercises and training with other agencies over the summer, including Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat, South Western Ambulance Service and the coastguard.”


Cranbrook residents were on Friday morning (June 14) urged by the fire service to keep their windows closed after an electric vehicle blaze.

Firefighters were called to the town at around 6.30am and wore breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze.

A double garage near the vehicle fire suffered heat damage, the fire service said.

Anyone living near the blaze was urged to keep windows closed ‘due to the large amount of smoke’.

Some two hours after starting work to tackle the blaze, fire crews used a ventilation fan to clear gases in neighbouring properties.


A three-storey commercial property in Honiton has gone under the hammer and sold for £165,000, an auction house has revealed.

The property, with retail space, store rooms, offices, loo, shower and a staff room, on Honiton High Street, was on Wednesday (June 12) sold by Clive Emson Auctioneers.

Audrey Smith, senior auction appraiser, said: “This well-located property drew keen interest before selling at £10,000 above its freehold guide.”

East Devon

The auctioned property in Honiton High Street.
Photo: with permission.

Clyst Honiton

A car overturned on its roof trapping a person inside, following a crash at Clyst Honiton on Thursday morning (June 13).

The emergency services were called at around 7.30am after it was reported a vehicle had left the road.

The person inside the vehicle was freed by the fire service.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Crews attended an road traffic collision at the request of the police where one vehicle had left the road and was upside down, with someone trapped inside.

“Crews used hydraulic rescue equipment to extricate the casualty from the vehicle.

“Fortunately, the casualty had no significant injuries, and duty of care was left with paramedics. Duty of care of the scene was left with the police.”

Ottery St Mary

A man from Ottery St Mary celebrated his first Pride parade thanks to the support of the charity Sense.

East Devon

Harry with his friends from charity, Sense, at the Pride Festival.
Photo: with permission.

Harry Fountaine, aged 53, who has a learning disability, lives in a supported living service in Ottery run by the charity Sense, and is a member of the LGBT+ community.

Harry recently marched in the Birmingham Pride parade with others from the charity Sense, who support disabled people up and down the country.

East Devon

Harry Fountaine is pictured here at the Pride Festival.
Photo: with permission.

Harry said he was already looking forward to attending more Pride events in the future.

He said: “Everyone looked amazing, with amazing outfits, men with painted nails like me, people on stilts and lots of fabulous hair styles.”


An Exeter IT firm is celebrating winning an award to recognise entrepreneurs and business in Devon.

Timewade, a technology partner for SMEs, won the Workforce Developer of the Year category at a ceremony in Plymouth, held in May.


The Timewade team.
Photo: with permission.

Jordan Westcott, the firm’s managing director, said: “Winning the Workforce Developer of the Year Award is a testament to our team’s dedication and hard work.

“We are delighted to be recognised for our commitment to fostering talent for both our team and our clients.”

He added: “As we continue to grow, we look forward to expanding our team and serving even more ambitious organisations in the South West and beyond.”

East Devon

An Indian owl has become the newest addition to a licensed zoo in East Devon.

Rescue owl Herbert, aged nine, has found his forever home at Bicton College, East Budleigh, after he was rehomed by the RSPCA.

Herbert, who weighs two pounds and can rotate his head 270 degrees, will be cared for by staff and animal management students at Bicton College.

East Devon

Herbert, the Indian Eagle Owl.
Photo: with permission.

Jess Hill, animal zone manager and senior study programme manager at the college, said:  “We’re delighted to welcome Herbert to our unique licenced zoo at Bicton College, he brings a wealth of educational opportunities for our students and serves as a living testament to our commitment to wildlife conservation and education.”


Pupils at Axminster Primary Academy celebrated being the only school in the UK picked to speak to astronauts onboard the International Space Station.

The school was plucked out of 100 worldwide to learn more about space, amateur radio and how satellites work.

The recent project included talking to those onboard the International Space Station, speaking directly to the astronauts through amateur radio.

The youngsters were challenged to submit a question, which went to NASA to help choose the winners.


An Exeter property with five flats sold for more than £200,000 above its freehold guide price when it went under the hammer on Wednesday (June 12).

Clive Emson Auctioneers said the building, in Clifton Hill, Exeter, was listed with a guide of £300,000 and sold for £515,000.


The auctioned flats in Exeter.
Photo: with permission.

Located on Clifton Hill, the building – which is fully rented out to tenants at a total of £37,500 per annum – was listed with a guide of £300,000 and sold for £515,000.

It was among 175 lots in the latest auction held by one of the top five property auctioneers in the UK, Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers.

Audrey Smith, senior auction appraiser, said: “There was fierce competition for this property with 91 separate bids at auction.

“Investment landlords clearly saw the benefit of acquiring a substantial, well-located and fully-let period property with an immediate return on their investment.”

The self-contained flats are set out over five floors. The property has gardens and off-road parking.

Also, in the Pennsylvania area of Exeter, parcels of freehold land with a nil reserve price sold for £9,010.

The collection of land and verges are in the Linnett Close and Plassey Close area to the south of Stoke Valley Road.

Audrey said: “There was keen interest from two bidders in particular for this lot.

“Occasionally these types of parcels of land in residential locations come to auction with a nil reserve and, generally, we find that they prove in demand.”

What’s on – East Devon

East Devon

Tickets are available for a mega choir event later this month in aid of Budleigh Salterton and District Hospiscare.

The Budleigh Salterton Male Voice Choir and the East Devon Rock Choir will at 7.30pm on Saturday, June 22, perform together at a concert at St Paul’s Church, Honiton.

Martin Briggs, Budleigh Salterton and District Hospiscare chairman, said: “We are so grateful to our supporters in the choirs for coming together for this concert.

“All the funds raised will go to helping pay the costs of palliative care for patients of the Budleigh Medical Centre and the Woodbury Surgery.

“Raising funds at this event helps Hospiscare’s end-of-life services to continue for other families in our community in the future. And what better way to do that than with a fabulous night of choral music.”

  • For tickets, call 01395 267218 or see here.


Councillor Joe Whibley has been announced as Exmouth Town Council mayor, with Cllr Steve Gazzard taking on the role as deputy, and vice chairman.

Cllr Wibley has taken over from Councillor Olly Davey, who held the chain for the last year.

The new mayor, who represents Exmouth town ward and has served as the chair of the town council’s planning committee for the last 12 months, said: “I am delighted to have been asked to take on the role of mayor and chairman of the town council

“I would like to thank Councillor Olly Davey for doing a great job last year. I am looking forward to representing the town.”


Cllr Joe Whibley, left, with Cllr Steve Gazzard.
Photo: with permission.

Budleigh Salterton

Bird boxes for nesting swifts will be installed on the back of the Public Hall in Budleigh Salterton.

The request to Budleigh Town Council to add swift boxes to the building was made by the Otter Valley Association (OVA).

The town council agreed OVA could install up to five boxes for the birds to the rear of the hall, at a suitable height for nesting swifts.


A summer house in a garden in Exmouth was completely destroyed by a blaze when a fire started accidentally.

Crews from Exmouth and Middlemoor fire stations were called to a property on Saturday afternoon (June 8).

Firefighters used hose reel jets and small tools to tackle the blaze.

A fire service spokesperson said: “Three fire engines were mobilised following a call to fire control reporting the summer house on fire at a domestic property.

“Crews used two hose reel jets to extinguish the fire along with small tools.

“The summer house was completely destroyed by fire. However, the fire did not spread to other properties. The cause is believed to be accidental.”


Firefighters wore breathing apparatus to tackle a bakery on fire in Axminster.

Fire crews from Devon, Somerset and Dorset were called to the property shortly before 8am on June 6, where they found a fire in a fridge freezer inside the bakery.

The fridge freezer and its contents were destroyed by the blaze and the building suffered smoke damage.

Axminster fire station said the cause of the blaze was thought to be accidental.

A fire service spokesperson said: “The cause of the fire was believed to have been caused by an internal water leak affecting the electrics.”


Police are appealing for help monitoring vehicle speed in the Axminster area of East Devon.

Axminster Tytherleigh Community Speed Watch is keen to recruit new members in a bid to slow speeds.

A police spokesperson said: “Axminster Tytherleigh Community Speed Watch are recruiting new members to discourage people from speeding.

“If you would like to make a difference in your Village and can spare a few hours each month, Axminster Tytherleigh Community Speed Watch would love to hear from you.”

New volunteers in Axminster Tytherleigh will receive appropriate training and be supported by the Neighbourhood Policing Team, the force said.

PC Ben Middleton, Neighbourhood Beat Manager, said: “Local residents in the Axminster Tytherleigh area and other parts of East Devon tell us that one of their main concerns is speeding motorists and we know that speed is a major factor in many road traffic collisions. Volunteers in other Community Speed Watch groups do a fantastic job and highlight how community minded people can make a difference.”

He added: “If you have some spare time to help out each month and want to raise public awareness of speeding in your area please get in touch and we will explain how you can assist us.”

  • See here for more details.


A quizmaster from the Rotary Club of Tiverton is challenging you to take part in his latest cryptic quiz  in support of DEBRA – the butterfly skin charity.

Prizes up for grabs are M&S vouchers. Entry to the quiz, which has the backing of the Rotary Club of Tiverton, is £1. Entries close on September 30.

All money raised from the quiz will be donated to DEBRA UK – a national charity and patient support organisation for people living with a group of rare and incredibly painful genetic skin blistering conditions called epidermolysis bullosa (EB).

People living with EB have a faulty or mutated gene which means the skin cannot bind together, so any trauma or friction can cause painful blisters, open wounds, scarring, and excruciating itch.

  • For a copy of the quiz email: lesrendell41@gmail.com or call 01884 254375.


Beer Coastguard was on Friday, June 7 called to Seaton beach to investigate a square orange object seen drifting offshore, thought to be a possible uninflated life raft.

A spokesperson for the rescue team said: “Visual searches made from shore east and west of the river mouth, nothing seen.

“With no reports of missing life rafts or vessels, we were stood down.”


A puppy was rescued by firefighters tackling a barn blaze in Broadclyst at the start of June.

Additional crew attended the blaze when firefighters on the way to the farm spotted a plume of smoke in the distance.

The farm building suffered extensive fire damage. The cause of the blaze was thought to be accidental.

A fire service spokesperson said: “While en route to the incident crews spotted a large plume of smoke in the distance and immediately ‘made pumps four’ for additional personnel and water.”

They added: “Crews used two jets, two hose reel jets, one thermal imaging camera and one triple extension ladder to extinguish the agricultural building which was 70 per cent damaged by fire.

“One puppy was rescued by fire service personnel.

“The cause of the fire was believed to be accidental.”

Budleigh Salterton

East Devon

Pictured here is the tent on the cliff face.
Photo: Beer Coastguard Rescue Team.

A tent spotted halfway down the cliff at Budleigh Salterton at the start of June resulted in Beer Coastguard sending up a drone in a bid to determine if any people were in difficulty.

The team, plus Exmouth RNLI, Exmouth Coastguard, the Coastguard drone team, and the Coastguard area commander, stood down when it was found no one was involved.

A Beer Coastguard Rescue team spokesperson said: “After close inspection by the drone team it was found to be debris thrown over the cliff and no persons were involved.”


The tent down the cliffs at Budleigh.
Photo: Beer Coastguard Rescue Team.



Boats off Seaton for the D-Day anniversary.
Photo: Beer Coastguard Rescue Team.

This photo shows how scores of small boats headed out on the water at Seaton to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy D-Day landings.

East Devon

Scores of knitted teddies have been donated to East Devon fire crews thanks to the skilled nimble fingers of Cranbrook and Rockbeare Women’s Institute.

East Devon

Cranbrook and Rockbeare WI presented the teddies to Ottery firefighters.
Photo: Ottery Fire Station.

The group recently handed over more than 100 trauma teddies to Ottery Fire Station, to be kept in the fire engine to give to youngsters at incidents.

An Ottery fire station spokesperson said: “We accepted a very generous donation from Cranbrook and Rockbeare Women’s Institute of over 100 trauma teddies for use at incidents. We have added some of these to our pump for use at future incidents.”


Exmouth firefighters calling on barbecuing beachgoers to safely dispose of their disposable metal trays comes at the same time this blaze was spotted coming from a bin on the seafront.

The photo was taken at the end of May by a member of Budleigh Salterton Lions Club, after a disposable barbecue was dumped into the wrong bin.


The bin fire on Exmouth seafront.
Photo: Budleigh Lions.

They said: “One of our Lions Club members saw this on Exmouth seafront. It was put out safely by the fire brigade.

“Unfortunately, it was put in the wrong bin. A barbecue bin was right next to it.”

An Exmouth fire station spokesperson said: “At Exmouth we love seeing people coming to enjoy our beach but we’ve had a huge increase of bin fires caused by careless disposal of Barbecues.

“We do not recommend using barbecues at the beach or in the countryside. There are some restrictions on where you can use barbecues, so please check local signage before using them.

“However, East Devon District Council have provided “BBQ bins” along our seafront, so if you do barbecue, please use them.”

The firefighters said coals and barbecue containers can stay hot for hours after use.

They added: “You can cool your barbecue down by using water or a bucket of sand.

“If you’re using a disposable barbecue, make sure that it has completely cooled down before attempting to move it. You can pour water or sand over it to help speed this up.

They added: “Don’t put the barbecue or burnt charcoal in your car or tent. When barbecues cool, they release carbon monoxide, which can be deadly.”


Police in Exmouth are keen to trace the owner of this Scott bicycle and are urging anyone recognising the bike to get in touch.


Police want to trace the owner of this bike.
Photos: D&C Police.

Neighbourhood police said the bike model was thought to be a Vatz, with red Manitou suspension forks.

An Exmouth police spokesperson said: “If any person recognises the bike and can provide details of the owner, please call 101 or use the Devon and Cornwall website.”


Photo: D&C Police.


Exmouth police investigating a series of burglaries to garages in the early hours of the morning in the Brixington area of the town on Sunday, May 19, are urging anyone with information to get in touch.

An Exmouth police spokesperson said: “If anyone has seen or heard anything that may be useful to officer enquiries, they are encouraged to make contact.”

Call police on 101, or report through the force website, quoting reference 50240120594.


East Devon General Election news 2024: Full list of candidates for Honiton and Sidmouth, Exmouth and Exeter east constituencies






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