Bideford Buzz

Welcome to the  on-line edition of the Community Newsletter for Bideford   and adjoining towns, villages, and rural area.

‘Bideford Buzz’ is produced and distributed by a team of volunteers, with financial and practical assistance from  Bideford Bridge Trust, Devon Community Foundation, Bideford Town Council, Torridge Volunteer Resource Centre, Devon Library Services, and many others.   If you are interested in helping produce, develop, or distribute this newsletter we’ll be glad to hear from you.

Please note that for commercial notices there is a charge from £15 per month – cheques payable to ‘Bideford Buzz’.

You can submit your article on disc or by e-mail.    However, ‘snail mail’ is equally acceptable. Material for publication should reach us by the 15th of the month preceding the month of publication.

Editor – Rose Arno (Bideford Buzz),    c/o Torridge Volunteer Resource Centre (‘TVS’),  14, Bridgeland Street, Bideford, EX39 2QE.  (TVS opening hours Mon.-Thurs. 9.30am to 3.oopm [12.30pm on Thurs.]).      Telephone 07929-976120, or E-mail:

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Belated Christmas present for Children’s Holiday Foundation.

Each December it is customary for the Chair of Torridge District Council to sign and send out hundreds of Christmas cards on behalf of the Council. For Christmas 2015 the current chair, Councillor Mervyn Langmead, decided that the money earmarked for the Christmas cards should instead be donated to a worthy cause.

The Children’s Holiday Foundation North Devon is a registered charity which provides holidays of a lifetime or recreational activities to children with life threatening illnesses or severe disabilities. The founder of the Children’s foundation, Dr Buckland, explained that the foundation relies totally on donations and welcomed the Council’s donation.

Councillor Langmead commented “I emailed the Council’s Seasons Greetings to all of the previous recipients of the Council’s Christmas Cards, so nobody missed out, which made this decision a festive win-win for the Council, the public, and most importantly the children.”


The photograph shows Councillor Langmead donating the cheque for £220 to Dr Buckland, founder of the Children’s foundation, at Northam Surgery.


Posted in Local People | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Plough Prism.



Posted in Events | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bideford College in ‘Youth Speaks’ competition.

Bideford College students showed off their public speaking skills at the first round of this year’s Rotary Youth Speaks Competition. Students from Holsworthy, Shebbear and Bideford College met to test themselves linguistically in the competition which is designed to support and encourage the development of effective communication skills. The teams of three take turns to perform the public speaking roles of chairperson, speaker, and vote of thanks as well as answer a question on the presented topic. Supported by their teacher Mrs. B. Farris, both teams emerged victorious and will now progress to the North Devon finals. Mrs Farris said “It was a fantastic evening with a very high standard from all the schools. We are grateful to the Rotary for organising the event and Shebbear College for hosting it this year. I am delighted to be returning with both teams having performed so well, they are truly talented individuals and we are very proud of them.”

Youth Speaks 2


Intermediate team: Chair: Sami Gillett / Main speaker: Connor Stevenson / Proposer of the vote of thanks: Harry Lowden – Their speech title was “Happy Accidents” and they spoke about accidental scientific discoveries that have changed our lives (such as penicillin).


Senior team: Chair: Josh Garrad / Main speaker: Jack Burnett / Proposer of the vote of thanks: Craig Huxtable – their speech title was “What is left to explore?” and they spoke about how little we know about our oceans.


Posted in Young People | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Barnstaple Stories”.

BARNSTAPLE STORIES – Short films uncover fascinating stories of life in Barnstaple

Do you remember Raymond’s pasty shop in Barnstaple? Did you ever see elephants walking around town?   How did Butcher’s Row become knee deep in dough?

Barnstaple Stories is a new collection of short films uncovering some fascinating stories Barnstaple life in days gone by. The project was commissioned by Barnstaple Town Council to record and share personal and family histories of life in the town.

Barnstaple Stories Amanda mcCormack NDMI Peter Jewell for web

Amanda McCormack, Creative Director of North Devon Moving Image who produced the films, says the project uncovered some delightful anecdotes “We held a drop-in event at Barnstaple’s Guildhall in November, inviting people to come in and share their stories. The interviewees talked about their personal memories of growing up and living in Barnstaple and we were captivated by the little details of everyday life which are now just that – memories.”

dick and ian barnstaple stories

Reaction to the films has been really positive and the sharing event was such a success that Barnstaple Town Council have decided to run a monthly local history scrapbooking event. The first meeting will be at The Guildhall on Friday 4 March 2016 and is a chance for people to come along and bring their stories, photographs and documents. From the information gathered, the group will produce the Barnstaple History Scrapbook to preserve and share precious details of life in Barnstaple.

The Barnstaple Stories films are currently available on the North Devon Moving Image website and will soon be available to view on the touch screen display at St Anne’s Arts Centre in Barnstaple.


Posted in Events, History | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Memories of Bideford Shipyard.

Many thanks to Mr. Freddie Palmer, who provided these photos. We’re sure that they’ll be of great interest to many people.

Buzz” is dating the photos of the trawler “Galatea” as 1975, since records show that as date of launch.  Can anyone help with names? (disclosure – we already have some, which will be published as an update and with attribution). 

Any further photos for publication would be welcomed, as would memories of the Shipyard’s history.




Buzz” shipping correspondent Norman Hardaker has supplied a schedule of vessels launched at Bideford Shipbuilders between 1966 & 1975 (listed as Name, category, & displacement).


Isle of Gigha / Sound of Gigha – ferry, 60.35 tons.


Fregata – fishing, 44.8 tons.

Sagitario – fishing, 44.8 tons.

Ibis – fishing, 44.8 tons.


Nocella – fishing, 22.17 tons.

Hasa Hasa – fishing, 40 tons.

Joanna C – fishing, 25 tons.


Don Bosco – fishing, 24.9 tons.

Polo – barge, 41.22 tons.


Our Tracey – fishing, 25.11 tons.

Barbarella – fishing, 25.11 tons.

WB.01 – WB.05 (5 vessels) – work boats, 25 tons.


Gull – pilot, 22 tons.

Miss Anna – tug, 83.21 tons.


Miss Debbie – tug, 83.21 tons.

Guardwell – customs, 30 tons.

Tri Star – passenger, 42.8 tons.

Polo II – hopper barge, 58.29 tons.


Peter David – passenger, 17.11 tons.

Golden Mariana – passenger, 40 tons.


Grima – ferry, 147.76 tons.

RNLB City of Bristol – lifeboat, 90 tons.

Langdale – trawler, 102.5 tons.

Majestic – trawler, 102.5 tons.

Solent Scene – passenger, 50 tons.


Vision – trawler, 102.5 tons.

Galatea – trawler, 102.5 tons.



For photos and information on some of the vessels on the above list that are still in use, link here. (By kind permission of ShipPhotos).


Posted in History, Local People, Shipping | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Pantomime at Westward Ho!

Our 2016 Pantomime – “ Dick Whittington”.


Not everyone knows that Dick Whittington actually hails from Westward Ho ! and that his famous journey from Gloucester to London was actually a result of a dodgy sense of geography and direction. Whatever, the Follies Pantomime group will be celebrating the exploits of our hero showing how he ended up as Lord Mayor of London , a story of derring do involving a feisty cat, a Carmen Miranda look alike, a suspicious looking Ship’s Captain, and a bunch of incompetent rats.


So come along and cheer our eponymous hero, his Cat, and girlfriend , Alice, boo the villains and enjoy lots of songs and awful jokes. Performance Venue is Kingsley Hall, Westward Ho ! with performances on the following dates and times –   Saturday 6th and Sunday  7th February at 2.30 pm.


Adult tickets are priced at £6 and children/recycled teenagers get in for £4.50 . Group concessions available. Tickets available from Jackie on 01237 700869 , or on the door.


Posted in Events | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

‘Adopt South West’.

NorthDevon_2 copy

Adopt South West prioritises the search for adoptive families for children most in need.

Adopt South West re-launched its TV campaign last week, with emphasis falling on encouraging those who would consider adopting ‘priority’ children to come forward.

The appeal comes as Somerset County Council joins the partnership alongside Barnardo’s, Devon County Council, and Families for Children, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council, to promote adoption.

With much attention being drawn to the decline in adoption placements of young children and babies across the UK, Adopt South West is keen to find adoptive families for those children whose numbers continue to grow, including sibling groups (brothers & sisters who need to stay together), children aged 4 and older, and children with additional needs.

The partnership is also keen to hear from those who may consider Fostering to Adopt. This initiative sees the placement of children with approved adopters who are given approval temporarily as foster carers for a specific child.

This is a good option as the child will live with their likely adoptive family from a young age and be able to form attachments.

Julian Wooster, from Adopt South West says: “We know there are many people out there who could give a school-age child, and brothers and sisters, the safe, stable and loving family they deserve. Our priority now, across the Adopt South West partnership, is finding those big-hearted individuals who can become a forever family for children who wait the longest.

We also really want to hear from people who can give a young child the warm, safe and secure start they need in life, through Fostering to Adopt. This initiative places a child with a family who will start off as their foster carers and likely go on to adopt that child if that is the best solution.

There is no such thing as the ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ adoptive family. You might be a single man or woman without children, a single parent, living with a long-term partner, or married – whatever your circumstances, what we care about most, is what you have to offer a child. Please visit to find out more.”

For more information about Adopt South West and to enquire, visit or call 0800 083 2227.

Click here to view advert


Posted in Young People | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New audio points for Tarka Trail.

The installation of twenty-one new audio posts has just been completed along 48km of The Tarka Trail between Braunton and Meeth in North Devon. An information plaque on each one briefly explains the area’s special significance, and users can scan its QR code with a smartphone to download an audio clip that provides more detail.

Matt Edworthy, from the North Devon Biosphere who led the project, explains; “the existing posts which these replace had reached the end of their life and they weren’t designed with today’s smartphones in mind. These new posts allow smartphone users to access the audio clips really easily within seconds”.

QR codes are the familiar arrays of square black dots on a white background, and free apps to scan them are available for any smartphone  Each audio clip provides fascinating local information recorded by experts in their field. Subjects include: Fremington Trade, Tides, Salmon, and, of course, Otters.

Carl Klinkenborg, co-author of The Tarka Trail Guide said; “The old audio posts along were installed 10 years’ ago but many had disappeared and the few remaining looked really weather-beaten. The new wooden posts are fixed to durable concrete supports set in the ground and the bright yellow tops make them hard to miss. The audio clips really bring extra interest and life to The Trail. It’s great that anyone with a smartphone can simply download them and learn more about their environment”.

Look out for posters about the new audio posts at outlets and businesses along The Trail – how quickly can you visit and tick off all 21 locations?


All the MP3 audio clips can also be downloaded to any device from:


Funding for these new posts was secured by the Biosphere from Devon County Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund.


Posted in Environment | Tagged , | Leave a comment

February’s Youth page.


Sad square eyes….

For decades, TV has been a lazy source of entertainment, presumably because televisionchannel-surfing takes little agility, shark attacks are rare and you can’t eat a couch potato so why bother raising one? This year, however, the humble hobby has become considerably harder. With Top Gear’s stars moving to Amazon prime, and BBC 3 set to follow them online too, it seems that an awful lot of entertainment is packing its bags for cheaper, less regulated areas . While this gives producers more freedom, less censorship and a bit of a ballooned budget- as long as the sponsors are there- in rural parts of Devon, 1/5th of houses don’t yet have the superfast broadband needed to stream it – meaning the shows might as well move to Alcatraz’s penthouse-suite for all the chance we’ll have of visiting . We might be a digital generation, but sadly our signal’s blocked by trees. And washing machines. And anything vaguely mechanical. Apparently our digital signal is absorbed by a huge number of things, but that signal should be boosted by 2017, so eventually everyone will be able to enjoy it.

Mail Attachment-2

Even if their wifi is tip top because they live astride a tall, paved mountain, chances are someone either belongs to either the Netflix, Now.TV or Amazon Prime tribe, purely because you’d need several credit-cards, and millennia, to watch everything on all three. Which can make for incredibly awkward small talk if, for example, you’re discussing The Man In The High Castle, realise you’re the only person who’s seen it, all these other people hate Netflix, you’re forced to abort the conversation and trail off mid-sentence- leaving them with something about Nazis and time travel. People migrate from your chit chat pretty quickly.

Elsewhere, there’s the poached show- unlike its delicious egg counterpart, the poached show is introduced to our waters for a short time before it’s nicked by a slightly richer company, never to be seen on terrestrial stations again. The sky may be the limit, but it’s also where TV shows go that have been taken from us too soon.

All these are quite new issues- it wasn’t so long ago that there were only 4 channels, chances are everyone was seeing exactly the same thing as you, and ratings for most shows could reach the million mark easily. Right now, you’d have to promise death, destruction or at the very least a wedding to pull in that sort of crowd, with so much vying for our attention at any one time. This introduces a new sense of jeopardy. By watching filler until something better comes on, are we actually missing something really good on one of the 212 other channels? Will this show be commissioned again next year, or are the 8 people who currently tune in not good enough? Or has its substantial following of 8 brought it to the attention of another TV station that’ll whisk it away from us? We don’t know any of the answers, and it changes how we watch the box. Each decision is fraught with danger, each series cliff-hanger may be left perpetually hanging, never to be picked up again. Television is no longer a relaxing distraction, in fact it looks like in years to come, we’ll need something else to distract us from it. But with broadband speeds set to peak over most of Bideford during 2016, we’ll always be able to watch it on catch up, and search for plot summaries of lost treasures elsewhere on the web.

Millie Sutherland O’Gara


First Buzz Challenge of 2016 – who will be the first to send us this information?

Did you know that that there is no central register of sports clubs for the area? There are a few on the Bideford Town Hall web site and Torridge District Council information but there are many more clubs in the area than appear on these.

With your help we can assemble one. All you need to do is send us the name of the club, where it meets, times, cost, age range and the contact number/email for further information.


North Devon Display Gymnastics Club.

Mail Attachment-3 copyThe music from great British films was the inspiration for the North Devon Display Gymnastics Club when they performed at the London Festival of Gymnastics in Brentwood, Essex in November.

The 50 strong group of gymnasts performed two routines over the course of the two day festival, wowing the crowds with their display of tumbling, throws and dance sequences to classics from Harry Potter and James Bond.

With some gymnasts as young as six, for many it was the first time they had performed at a national event. Hard work and training paid off as they gave their all on stage to huge applause.

Many clubs at the festival train solely for display events but North Devon train for their displays for only three hours a week, thus gaining them high praise from their peers.

As well as festival performances the team had the chance of a little “down time”, making use of the swimming pool facilities on site. The highlight of the trip was a visit to Jump Giants trampoline park where everyone had a chance to show off their gymnastic skills – even the adults.

Following on from the success of the London Festival and the Gymnastic Magique competition at Disneyland Paris, the display team has gained a place at the Festival Del Sole in Italy. Taking place in July, the festival features teams from all over the world. The city of Riccione turns into a giant stage where more than 4000 athletes from around the world will perform at their best. The North Devon Display Club will represent Great Britain, taking part in the opening ceremony, performing their routines and enjoying the many workshops and activities on offer. The festival is the biggest international “Gymnastics for all” event in the Mediterranean area.

The team are seeking sponsorship to help raise funds for the trip and the gymnasts have many fund raising events planned over the coming months. If you are able to support the gymnasts in any way please contact Rattie, the Head Coach via our website,


Jem Collins – Video Journalist and Producer at and former Buzz journalist.  Jem was a regular contributor to the Bideford Buzz’s youth page while she completed her ‘A’ Levels at North Devon College, before going on to study journalism at the University of Kent.   She continued to contribute occasionally whilst working towards her degree, and in 2012 was awarded the Bob Friend Memorial Scholarship from Sky News, paying for her tuition fees and offering a one month placement at the channel.   After graduation she begun work as a reporter and presenter at Kent-based TV station, KMTV, where she interviewed the likes of Nigel Farage, David Cameron and Brian May.  In November of 2015 Jem moved to, where is she currently producing short political documentaries and breaking news.  She also works freelance as a content writer for, and as a deputy editor for Grip Media, managing the popular student website,


Posted in Young People | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Music Buzz.

Mail Attachment-1

Appledore Band

A community band, which records show dates back to the 1880s.

We are a very friendly group of people of all ages (from 8 to 80) who enjoy making music together under the guidance of our Musical Director Jim Wortley

Throughout the year we play for our local churches, attend fetes and give concerts. We are also proud to play at naming ceremonies when Appledore Shipbuilders launch their latest vessels. In recent years we have competed in South West Brass Band Exmouth entertainment contest and in 2012 and 2013 we won our section.

We have just completed a very successful Christmas period playing at local supermarkets and hotels and through the generosity of the public have raised enough in donations to enable us to support charities in the area to the tune of over a thousand pounds.

If anyone is interested in joining our band we rehearse on Monday and Wednesday evenings at St Mary’s Church Hall, Appledore.

We welcome beginners and any musician interested in taking up a brass band instrument.

For Bookings contact our Secretary Hugh Wormington on 01237 473723 or to join the band contact our Training Band Director Neil Hamilton on 01271 831555.



The Appledore Singers – Charity Fundraising Christmas 2015

The Appledore Singers are delighted to announce that they have raised the magnificent total of £1005.74 for Devon Freewheelers, over the festive season.

We’d like to thank all who made our Charity Christmas Concert such a success – performers and backstage alike. We raised £750 from this event alone!

Donations from Langtree WI and Fremington Senior Citizens, as well as the generosity of the Management of Atlantic Village and shoppers, who gave whilst we sang, all bumped up the total past the £1000 mark.

Well done to everyone concerned!

New members will be most welcome.

Contact Pam Beechey 01237 420652 or see our website: or our facebook page.


Bideford Music Club

Trombonist Peter Moore will perform at Bideford Music Club’s February concert with pianist Jonathan Ware. In 2008, at the age of 12, Peter became the youngest ever winner of the BBC Young Musician Competition. When he was 18 he was appointed co-principal trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra and this last autumn he joined the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Scheme.

Born in Texas, Jonathan studied at the Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School and at the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ Berlin where he now teaches. He won the Pianist’s Prize at the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song and Das Lied Competitions and in 2014 won first prize in the International Hugo Wolf Competition and was selected by YCAT.

Peter and Jonathan will play music by Beethoven, Mahler, Debussy and Brahms as well as music written for the trombone.

This concert will be held in Bideford Methodist Church Hall, High Street, on Wednesday, February 10th at 7.30 pm. Tickets are £13 at the door (students and children are free). Any other information from 01237 477242.


Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Are migrants & refugees welcome?


Are Migrants and Refugees welcome?

It’s a question that’s currently being posed across Europe with varying response. You might think I refer only to the human drama, but it could also be related to the plant world.PastedGraphic-1

Britain has, due to the Channel’s creation soon after the last ice age, a limited native flora. Yet, as far back as Roman times at least, plants have been brought to these shores for utility. The result is one of the world’s largest cultivated floras. Mostly, the nation rejoices in this fact, yet not all our plant immigrants were invited whilst some are now seen as problematic – think ‘invasive aliens’ like Rhododendron.

In recent years I’ve been exploring the subject of immigrant plants and how they are, or could be, perceived. My research has informed ‘walking talks’ locally. It turns out that, often, for every negative aspect one could assign to an ‘alien’ there’s a positive to counter it. As with human migrants, it’s also interesting to observe how the telling of a plant’s story (how it got here, what it offers) often increases empathy towards it.

There’s a truly fascinating conversation to be had here, far from black and white. Like the current refugee crisis, we will surely all benefit from a deeper understanding of the issues. And as with humans, the reality of climate change will only increase plant migration. Interestingly, given plants are less able to move quickly enough, certain threatened species are already the focus of relocation proposals, not unlike refugees.

As I wander our countryside I see change, the beginnings of a more southerly flora. And I wonder whether, in time, we may be glad of the Mediterranean species we’ve introduced, say, whom are already happily naturalising; their ability to fill the gaps left by retreating natives might be invaluable. If we stepped back far enough, might we see that Nature is already striving to balance a new dynamic, and could we help it?

I mentioned Rhododendron. Domineering it may be in ‘new’ terrain, but this relative of heather grew wild in Britain before the last ice age. Surprised? Me too.

If you’d like to join this conversation and meet some of our plant immigrants I can be contacted at   I’m happy to run walk & talks, by donation (to a local charity). I   may also be contributing again to this year’s Tales of the Riverbank series run by Bideford Bay Creatives (watch this space:

Pete Yeo, local environmentalist and plantsman.


Posted in Environment, Gardening | Leave a comment

Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – February.

fish ad

Cod Caramba.

So winter is here, the cold weather has finally started, and this colourful Mexican standard fish recipe is simple to prepare and is a lovely warming family supper dish.

Cod is now available and is often on special offer as it has bigger quota and is no longer on a sustainable fish-to-be-avoided list. Pollack ,Ling or Coley will be just as good and still cheaper!


450g/1lb cod fillets or Pollack, coley or any inexpensive white fish fillets.

225g/8oz smoked cod or any smoked white fish-pollack, haddock or whiting.

300g fish or vegetable stock.

50g/2oz butter.

1 onion sliced.

2 garlic cloves-crushed.

1 green +1red pepper-diced.

2 courgettes -diced.

115g/40z sweetcorn-canned or frozen.

2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped.

Juice of 1 lime.

Tabasco sauce.

Salt, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper.

For topping-

75g tortilla chips and 50g/2oz grated cheddar cheese

Coriander sprigs and lime wedges to serve.


1, Lay the fish in a shallow pan and pour over the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 8-10mins only and then turn off the heat and leave to cool. Then drain and remove skin and separate the flesh into large flakes. Keep hot.

2, Fry the onion and garlic in the butter, cook gently until soft and add peppers and cook for 2mins. Stir in the courgettes and cook for 3 mins more.

3.Stir in the corn and tomatoes, add lime juice and tabasco to taste. Season with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Cook for 2mins to heat through the corn and tomatoes, then stir in the fish and transfer to a heatproof dish-suitable to heat under the grill.

4, Preheat the grill. Make the topping by crushing the tortilla chips then mixing with grated cheese. Add cayenne pepper to taste and sprinkle over the fish mixture.

5. Place under the grill until the topping is crisp and brown. Garnish with coriander sprigs and lime wedges.

Pollack wrapped in Parma Ham.

If you have lots of Serrano Ham from that extra special deal this is a fantastic quick and easy dish, or you can make small wraps on cocktail sticks to eat with drinks – lovely. See recipe on

During 2016, I will also be reviewing fish dishes in a local restaurant, pub, fish and chips shop or street food outlet, and I will share a good recipe from these visits.

As I do not want to dine alone please could you send name and contact details into the editor if you would like to join me – the name will be drawn from a hat. (We will have to pay for the meals ourselves). Thank you.

Felicity Sylvester.


Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

One hundred years ago – February 1916.

At a meeting of the War Agricultural Committee to discuss the shortage of labour, Mr W. T. Braddick, the Honourable Clerk, said “he was confident that despite the prejudice of many farmers, they would have to utilise women’s labour to make up for the shortage.”

Last week the Bideford War Supply Depot sent a bale of 100 pairs of socks, 250 pairs of mittens and 150 mufflers to the Military Forwarding Offices at Le Havre. This week the Depot will be forwarding a bale of felt slippers to St David’s Military Hospital in Malta.

William Hatch, a rabbit trapper, was summoned for setting 120 spring traps without the permission of the landowner, Mr Norman. Mr Hatch was fined 15 shillings.

Lionel E Davis, of Mill Street, has joined His Majesty’s Forces and has disposed of his dental practice to Mr W G Friendship.

Walter J Slee, auctioneer, reports that at the cattle market monthly auction, 100 choice bullocks were sold at good prices; 120 fat sheep were also snapped up. There was a good attendance of dealers.

Privately run Bideford Hospital, at its 66th Annual General Meeting, has elected retired Brigadier General Fanshaw as its new Chairman, to replace Mr F A Searle. Medical reports stated that 272 inpatients had been treated during the last year, 143 outpatients and 197 minor casualties. 288 operations had been carried out. Support for the hospital has continued despite the war and it is seen as an essential service for the Bideford community.

Owing to the recent spell of damp and mild weather, all vegetation is remarkably forward in North Devon. Trees are budding freely and in some cases blossom is appearing on pear trees.



The Archive started work as a registered charity in 1985 and over 30 years has amassed a fascinating collection of photographs and documents that tell the exciting story of our local past. Some parts of the story are told in great detail; for example, copies of The Gazette newspaper dated from 1856 to the present day give us word by word accounts of shipping disasters, murder investigations, accident inquests, festivals and civic celebrations. We have detailed accounts of badger, fox and otter hunts where the names of the dogs highlight the pace of the game.

Likewise, we have hundreds of photographs and memorabilia donated by families who wish us to be the custodian of their family history. Sadly a number of the photographs are only partly useful to us because the all-important detail, such as date, location and persons present, are missing. Perhaps this is a lesson to us all. To preserve our family histories for future generations we should ensure that relevant information is attached.

In addition we have many other local collections and sources of information:-

  • 280 Ordnance Survey maps of North Devon area dating back to 1884

  • Birth Marriage & Death announcements 1856-1978

  • Prior to 1837 Birth Marriage & Death information was only recorded by the clergy and we have copies of the Bishops Transcripts for the North Devon area.

  • A complete Census set from 1841 for all of Devon on microfiche with the four local areas transcribed.

  • Churchyard plans and memorial inscriptions for St Mary’s Appledore; St Margaret’s Northam; East the Water Bideford & Old Town Cemetery Bideford.

  • Alphabetic lists of WW1 & WW2 casualties, War memorials & Rolls of honour.

  • Over 250 recorded conversations with local prominent people. Some unique insights are revealed!

  • Bideford Buzz back issues, Hartland Times and other village magazines.

  • Original planning applications and drawings for the rural districts of Holsworthy and Torrington as well as Bideford and Torridge back to early 1900s.

The Archive is open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings between 9.30 and 1.00 at the Council Offices in Windmill Lane, Northam, (Tel: 01237 471714) and a warm welcome is extended to anyone who wishes to visit us. It is run by volunteers who may be able to help with family history research or local information. Come and see us sometime!!


Posted in History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Buzz Word – February.

Bucket Collections for The Lions Club of Bideford at Morrisons beesSupermarket Bideford 21st/22nd December 2015
The Lions Club of Bideford wish to thank Morrisons of Bideford for allowing the collections and all their very generous customers for their donations. These collections raised the very gratifying amount of £1,100.10 which will be used to support local charities and those in need within the local community.
The Club would also like to wish the staff at Morrisons and all their customers a Very Happy 2016.
John Margrie Secretary, The Lions Club of Bideford 01271 861071.



Tarka Quilters

We meet twice a month – the second Tuesday of the month at Fremington Methodist Church and the last Saturday of the month at Northam Hall. We have people of all abilities from complete beginners to the more experienced. We are a friendly group and organise a range of activities – we have a variety of workshops on offer every year but some just prefer to work on their own projects. For beginners we have plenty of people to offer advice and help. We also organise trips to quilt shows including an overnight trip to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC every year (the biggest quilt show in Britain). We have had exhibitions in the Burton Art Gallery which were well received.

We are having an open day on Saturday March 26th at Northam Hall for beginners and anyone interested in joining us ; everyone is very welcome. We will be in the hall from 10.00 am – 3.30 pm with different techniques being demonstrated. Just drop in and have a cup of coffee ; for further information ring Steph 01237 470570 or Kate 01237 470846.


Brunswick Wharf Project needs you!

Are you interested in local history, fishing, shipbuilding or pottery trades? Does your family have historical links to Bideford and its Port? Do you live on the East or West side of the River?

A new and exciting project from Bideford Bay Creatives has just started with a grant from the People’s Health Trust. We are working with neighbourhoods in Bideford on both sides of the water to set up a Community group of volunteers. This group will discover and celebrate local and historical connections to Brunswick Wharf and the Port of Bideford from early maritime history through to the present day.

This is a great opportunity to make new friends, explore and research, share information and dig up the past. I will meet regularly with the volunteers throughout the year to devise, plan and put in place a programme of public events for 2016 such as workshops, walks and talks. Training is also available with plenty of tea biscuits and cake!

If you would like to know more or you are interested in volunteering please visit the website at the facebook page or email or on 07530 508676 Printed information will also be available in the library.

Sadie Green, Project Co-ordinator Bideford Bay Creatives.


They only needed to get out of the house.

Our client Doris (not her real name) was housebound, no longer able to drive her car and too far from the bus stop to use the bus. Her sister was the same. They hadn’t seen each other for months though they lived only a few miles apart. Neither of them could afford a taxi. Then she discovered Torridge Volunteer Cars (TVC). Volunteer drivers could take her from house to house for the cost of the driver’s expenses plus an admin fee. Doris could start to see her sister regularly again and when she needed hospital treatment, TVC was available for that journey too. Another client, Melanie (not her real name) had developed Parkinson’s Disease. She lived in a very rural area and was effectively trapped in her home, imprisoned by her condition. TVC allowed her to make weekly trips outside the home to go to the supermarket or to get her hair done. Things which made her feel normal again. We always need drivers, so if you have a car and can give us your time, please contact us on 01237 237200.

All drivers are required to give references and are police checked. Volunteer driving does not affect benefits. TVC is there for people, who need transport for whatever reason, medical or social. If like Doris or Melanie you need us, call on 01237 237200 Monday to Friday 09:30 to 13:00. We’re there to help.

Deirdre Conniss.



Posted in Buzz Word | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Book news ; February.

Events at Bideford Library.

Feeling Better with a Book

Time: every Wednesday, 10.30 – 12.00.books

Winter blues, feeling lonely but love reading? Neither of these but just love reading?

Come and join our group to read a variety of short stories, or part of a novel, and a poem. Read a page or two aloud if you wish or just listen and relax.

We would love you to join us.

Story time for under-fives

Every Thursday. 9:30-10:00 am (except school holidays)

With stories, musical instruments and songs.

Half Term

Tuesday February 16th 10.00 till 12.00

Drop-in craft session for children of all ages.

For all other events at Bideford Library in February please ring 01237 476075 0r phone 0345 155 1001 for all Devon libraries.


Bideford Library Readers’ Group discussed

‘Of Mice & Men’, by John Steinbeck.

This powerful, short novel is both engaging and emotional for the reader. George Milton and Lennie Small are two of the many hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in California during the Great Depression.They roam from place to place – sometimes escaping from mishaps made by Lennie, with George protecting him and repeating that one day they will have land of their own. Encompassing this dream they encounter other workers on a ranch in Salinas Valley and tension and frustration unfold as well as friendships as George and Lennie settle in . Lennie’s mental handicap is explored – he does not know his own strength and accidentally kills the puppy he is given.

The men survive long, arduous hours of work and the boss’s son Curley is constantly looking for his wife Candy. He is suspicious of her flirtations, this causes arguments and a fight occurs between him and Lennie. Lennie

crushes Curley’s hand.

Racism is also evident as one of the ranchers, Crooks, is expected to live in a separate room because he is black. Candy flirts with him whilst the ranchers including George & Slim go out in the evening to the town. Lennie is in the barn next day after accidentally killing his puppy and Candy finds him. She is desperate to ‘talk’ – her loneliness amongst these tough men is misunderstood and she too has a dream that she’d one day be a movie star. She tries to console Lennie and when he says he likes to stroke soft things she offers her hair.

However, Lennie grabs too tightly and panics when Candy starts to shout and struggle. He breaks her neck.

Her body is found later after Lennie runs away down to the river where George has often told him to go if he finds himself in trouble.

As the reading group discussed the death of Lennie, shot by George, his companion & protector, many attributes within Steinbeck’s writing were mentioned.Themes running through this novel emphasise loneliness as opposed to companionship as well as aggression and abuse.The tenderness George obviously feels for Lennie is often swamped by utter frustration and ends with his decision to kill him.We feel the sultry heat and the impending doom of Lennie’s fate. The conversations between the ranchers and Lennie and George , their repetition of having a place of their own and ‘livin’ off the fat o’ the land’ , all prepare us for the upsetting and shocking dilemma in the final scene.We questioned whether George had finally realised he could no longer live this tough life knowing Lennie ‘s mistakes would one day destroy their lives for ever.

Rather than witness his companion ‘s lynching or horrible death from the others , it must be him and no one else who pulls the trigger. He instructs Lennie to look away from him into the distance, and tells him again of what they might find one day for themselves.

Other questions were raised about putting someone out of their misery, what about George’s future and was he beginning to wish he could live a life without Lennie? Slim has formed a good friendship with him and consoles him after the shooting – he understands why George felt he had to kill him. It was out of desperation and mercy.

This is a poignant, passionate and often disturbing novel  which promoted much discussion within the group and we all agreed it was an inspirational masterpiece!

Margie Summers.


Posted in Books | Tagged , | Leave a comment