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A good Samaritan motorcycle mechanic from Honiton has been working for free to keep the Devon Freewheelers on the road. Jessi Little, owner at BJS Engineering, in Offwell, East Devon, for the last four years has waived his MOT fee for the Honiton-based charity’s motorbikes. And when other Devon garages closed during the first Covid-19 lockdown, Jessi stayed open for the Devon Freewheelers and took on the charity’s servicing, mechanics and MOTs from other areas of the county. Dad-of-one Jessi, aged 41, from Honiton, learned about the Devon Freewheelers through a friend who fundraised for the charity. He said the…

An East Devon pub team has been ‘overwhelmed’ by community kindness after a thatch blaze ripped through the inn’s roof at the weekend. Fire crews from three counties tackled the blaze at the White Hart Inn, Wilmington, near Honiton, shortly before midday on Sunday morning (April 4). The pub resumed its takeaway service on Tuesday (April 6) thanks to the community rallying to help clear the garden and grounds of thatch and other fire damage. The pub team said the ‘severe fire’ caused ‘significant damage throughout the building’. The team took to social media to thank everyone who helped with…

A Seaton woman has benefited from a government-backed project to help the unemployed back to work amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Eleanor Gait, aged 23, a recent university graduate, said she was left ‘demoted and intimidated’ after finding job searches ‘pretty bleak’ when the pandemic hit the UK. Eleanor found a job thanks to a new programme provided by employability specialist Seetec Pluss. The support Eleanor received was provided under the new government-funded JETS programme – Job Entry Targeted Support – designed to help people struggling to find work due to Covid-19. The programme, launched in October 2020, has already supported more than 700 people into employment…

A ‘hidden gem’ hotel in Sidmouth has a new owner who vows to give it ‘more attention to flourish’. The Sidholme Hotel has been sold some eight months after the Grade II property went on the market in July 2020, inviting offers in excess of £1.9million. This week it was announced property agents Savills, on behalf of joint administrators of Methodist Guild Holidays Ltd, completed the sale of the hotel to Arsh Holdings. The new owner said the aim was to improve the appearance of the site and the quality of service at the hotel. Ali Rad, managing director of…

An Exmouth chemist owner has been recognised nationally for her work developing a service so pharmacists can spot early signs of cancer. Dr Jackie Lewis, who with her husband owns and runs Lewis Pharmacy in Exeter Road, Exmouth, was last month named winner of the Innovation category in the Independent Pharmacy Awards. The service, called Not Normal for You, was judged a success by 10 East Devon pharmacies. Dr Lewis hopes someone will take on and further develop her idea, rolling it out nationally. The results were presented at a joint conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and…

Tins of paint have been donated by decorating giant Dulux to a Budleigh Salterton community project where people can share and learn new skills, and make friends. Budleigh Community Workshop Trust (BCWT) thanked the paint supplier for its donation, which will be used the finish the refurbishment of the town’s former fire station, in Station Road. With the transformation of the main workshop starting shortly, BCWT chairman Bill McDermott said the improvements to the building were ‘progressing well’. He thanked all who had donated materials, supplies and were helping to make the project a success. Mr McDermott said: “The development…

A new festive event is being planned in Sidmouth in December where public gardens will come alive with lights. The Connaught@Christmas event – expected to run from December 7-12 – promises seasonal entertainment in a bid to boost Sidmouth’s celebrations, with creative light displays, local crafts and food on sale. The town’s Connaught Gardens, trees and paths will be illuminated using low energy lighting and LED technology. A Santa’s grotto is expected and performances from local musicians and singers. Organisers said a limited number of tickets with staggered entrance times will ensure a clear passage around the gardens. Access for…

An Exmouth Royal Marine tackling community mental health has teamed up with the town’s students in a bid to fund a new youth creative area. Tom Merriman, aged 36, a physical training Instructor at the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone, launched RV-ONE – Rendezvous First Checkpoint – before the start of the Covid pandemic. Now he has joined forces with Exmouth Community College (ECC) students to launch a competition to design a snood, with the winning design being manufactured and sold to help fund a creative space for young people in the town. Tom, who joined the marines at 18 years…

Rooms with a view of Sidmouth seafront are available to lease in a bid to help promote the town and give the community a boost. The seafront Arches East unit – the current site of the Jurassic Interpretation Centre – could be used for a host of commercial or community-based activities, said Sidmouth Town Council. The council said the lease was a ‘unique opportunity’ and members were keen to hear proposals from groups, businesses or individuals that could help promote Sidmouth. Applications close at 5pm on Friday, March 12, 2021. Ian Barlow, Sidmouth Town Council chairman, said: “This is an…

The first businesses have moved into new offices at Clyst St Mary after refurbishment costing £2million was completed at Winslade Park. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at Winslade Manor this week, to mark the arrival of the first commercial tenants. Paul Scantlebury, Mark Edworthy and Matthew Bennett of property group Burrington Estates, declared the renovated building open Also at the opening ceremony was Ritchie Watson, from specialist lender Together, which provided a £15m loan facility for the major project, and the finance group’s commercial CEO, Marc Goldberg. Mr Watson said: “From the outset, we were impressed with the ambition of Burrington’s plans…

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