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 £25 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 11th 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: editor@bidefordbuzz.org.uk

For complaints procedure, see “Impress” category.

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“Coastal Creatures” – summer programme.

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NDDH volunteer awarded medal in Queen’s Birthday Honours.

A retired gas engineer from Westward Ho! who has dedicated his life to voluntary work after becoming ill has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2018.

Roger Pullen, 71, was awarded the medal in recognition of his voluntary work for Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) and for helping to raise thousands of pounds for local charities.

Roger started his career working for British Gas as a qualified fitter before moving to South Australia. On returning to the UK, he progressed to become a technical inspector. He had to retire early at the age of 46 due to ill-health.

He started volunteering at NDHT in 2010 and has helped in a number of different ways, most recently through the patient experience team.

For many patients at North Devon District Hospital, Roger is a friendly face who comes to the wards to have a chat and to listen to them talk about their experience of care. Their anonymous feedback is given to staff so that they can understand what they are doing well and what they could improve.

Roger is 94% dependent on his pacemaker and has numerous health issues that mean he suffers from continual discomfort. However, he still comes into the hospital and carries out his volunteering work with a smile and a kind word for everyone.

Roger said: “I feel so proud to receive this medal in her Majesty’s Birthday Honours. It has come as quite the surprise.

In the 25 years since I retired, I have felt really strongly that I want to give something back to society, and particularly the NHS, because of my own experiences of care.

It’s always a pleasure to come up to the hospital and be made to feel so welcome by the patients and the staff, who are so professional, so dedicated. It is a privilege to be a volunteer within this organisation and to give something back to our wonderful hospital in Barnstaple.”

Andy Ibbs, interim chief executive at NDHT, said: “On behalf of all at NDHT, I would like to congratulate Roger for this incredible achievement. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this medal. The service that he and all our other volunteers provide is really important to us, and Roger has shown unwavering courage in continuing to do this despite his health problems. I cannot thank him enough for the time and effort he has dedicated to our patients and staff.”

Roger was nominated by the communications and patient experience team, with the support of the NDHT Board. Roger works closely with the team as part of his role.

Jessica Newton, head of communications, said: “Roger is an amazingly selfless person and a fantastic part of our team. Patients and other volunteers are always so happy to see him and it is clear that he absolutely loves what he does. We are so proud of him.”

Roger also has a passion for helping local charities and has helped to raise thousands of pounds over the years. When he first moved to Devon in 1996, he supported the local lifeboat crew in Appledore, raising £1,000 in four years. He has supported the West Quay Fundraisers for over 17 years, who raise approx. £10,000 every year to share between numerous charities, including North Devon Hospice, Children’s Hospice South West, Headway and Families in Grief.

He also supports the Trust’s charity, Over and Above, and has helped to raise thousands of pounds that have gone towards numerous appeals, including the Seamoor Unit, an appeal for equipment for the Special Care Baby Unit, and most recently the North Devon Cancer and Wellbeing Centre appeal.

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New dementia specialist at NDDH – a Devon first.

We now have an Admiral Nurse – dementia clinical nurse specialist – at NDDH, the first hospital-based Admiral Nurse in Devon.

Angela is looking for people to get in touch with her to build up a directory of dementia groups etc. in Devon and would be grateful for any help with this.

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Exmoor Pony Centre news.

Exmoor Pony Centre, Ashwick, Dulverton, TA22 9QE

Some ponies such as Archie (on the left with Lydia) and Morris (on the right with Linzi) are now being taken to summer grazing sites. Some of our ponies get to live in beautiful locations and Porlock Claudius and Porlock Caius recently joined a group conservation grazing at the Valley of Stones, a National Nature Reserve in Dorset.

Many of the 16 foals we have assisted throughout the winter have moved on to new homes and we will soon be looking for homes for those still on site. Some of them, such as Pip and Magpie are a real hit with visitors. We took in more ponies in the early New Year. Pebble, a three-year old mare, came to us because her owner could no longer keep her. We encourage all owners to re-home their ponies responsibly and where this is not possible we will occasionally help.

Riding activities are now in full swing and in early May we had the first of our new Day Treks across the moor taking in Tarr Steps (below) and stopping for lunch at Tarr Inn.

In 2015 we sent a herd of Exmoor ponies to the Czech Republic and the projects, funded by European Wildlife, have been so successful they have funded a further eleven ponies to create two more herds in the Podyji National Park. The Moorland Mousie Trust worked alongside the Exmoor Pony Society to ensure delivery of the project and in May the lorry arrived to take the ponies on their two day trip across the continent. The ponies in the Czech Republic are well managed and monitored, ensuring inspection, registration and wellbeing of all of the ponies, who co-graze with European bison. These projects help to promote Exmoor ponies as exceptional conservation grazers.

Gelding ponies is a vital part of our work. Though bloodlines and genetics must be carefully managed, ponies coming to us are not required for breeding and so the kindest and most responsible thing is to have them neutered. This can cost up to £200 per pony and requires preparation as well as recovery time. Before youngsters meet our vet, who is extremely experienced with Exmoor ponies, staff and volunteers take it in turns to pretend to be a vet and imitate actions the vet will make. This desensitisation is invaluable when it comes to meeting the vet for real.

We are always grateful for free publicity, so were pleased when the Western Daily Press asked if they could take pictures of us with the ponies for a feature about the many people who work in all weathers to look after livestock, and to highlight the hardiness and qualities of Exmoor ponies.

The nearly-new Ford Ranger we bought in March to replace our old truck is clocking up the miles having already travelled to Surrey to deliver a foster pony as well as regular trips across Exmoor. We are delighted with the vehicle and the fabulous pictures and sign writing and, thanks to the Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust and Taw Ford-Barnstaple, no public donations were used to pay for it.

Some dates for your diary:

Saturday 30th June at 12 noon – The Moorland Mousie Trust AGM at the Exmoor Pony Centre. All are welcome.

Sunday, 29th July Summer Celebration – 11am – 3pm.?Celebrate Summer and the 12th year since we have been open.

5th – 12th August – The Exmoor Pony Festival.?

Thursdays 2nd, 9th 16th 23rd and 30th August – Activity Afternoons – 12 noon – 3pm?.

Website: www.exmoorponycentre.org.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheExmoorPonyCentre?

Email: info@exmoorponycentre.org.uk?

Tel: 01398 323093.

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June’s Youth Page.

WHAAM !

When people think of Devon they think of the sea, of beaches, picturesque villages and the countryside. However so much of what makes Devon special is the people who live here.

I recently attended the Westward Ho! and Appledore music showcase (WHAAM) at the Pier House in Westward Ho!, which demonstrates youth talent in our area. The event was in aid of the RNLI, a charity rooted deep in our local identity, and was attended by their representatives.

The event was opened by Dance Fit Belly Dance Divas, a diverse group who brought an energy to the room. Opening an evening is never an easy task, but they managed it with every hip shake and bass drop; it was clear to everyone how much they enjoyed their performance.

Westward Ho! Youth Theatre members performed a selection of songs from musical theatre. Connor exhibited his strong vocal range with songs from Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast, mixing emotive vocals with a refined musicals performance, whilst Rob wowed the audience with showmanship with his numbers from Phantom of the Opera and Johnny English, in a charismatic performance that held the attention of everyone in the room.

Jess Martyn covered some well known artists ranging from Beyonce to Sia to Birdy, mixing the popular songs with her own “busk” style and soulful voice that was very refreshing without losing the magic of the originals. A great performance.

Kingsley School Choir sang a medley of tunes from Les Miserables, their close harmonies and intonation a testament to their title of “Best Devon Schools choir”.

Ella Crossland. A strong voice and lyrical talent. She performed a mix of covers and original music Her songs were well thought out, meaningful and held a complexity that cannot be said for all professionally written music. A true songbird.

Yazzy bravely covered Dolly Parton, not an easy feat, and announced that she will be opening for Paloma Faith at a festival, a true testament to local talent. (see below)

The night ended on a high with the 5:15; a high energy, tap your feet act, the kind that makes you nostalgic. They covered rock and alternate classics with an energetic enthusiasm and their own unique twist, collaborating with Yazzy for one of the final songs of the evening.

The support shown by each artist was amazing and their contributions were greatly appreciated by all. Thank you to all involved in this event, performers and those who made it possible.

Lucy Braund.

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More about Yazzy.

The best thing about the WHAAM is that it is not only a great festival in itself, but it has gotten so many of our local acts noticed and thrust into the national spot light. You might remember a few years ago when we first mentioned Yazzy, the melodious breeze who has since turned into quite a force of nature- uprooting trees and ripping up the rule book with soulful wail. We thought it was time to check in with how Bideford’s new rising star was doing.

As Lucy already mentioned, she will be supporting Paloma Faith at the Glastonbury extravaganza on August 4th. The WHAAM was a fantastic culmination of all our local talent, and while the cavernous hall can seem daunting, it is still relatively personal: given a long enough set – or suitably twitchy eyes – you could scour the audience and make meaningful eye contact with every spectator. Making eye contact with the 10,000 strong rabble at Glastonbury would probably dislodge a retina. So she will have to adapt her performance style to compensate.

It’s time for Yazzy to evolve once again. The breeze may have swirled into a hurricane, but now it’s time to turn up the power, and see how much wind 10,000 fans can generate. Sure, some of them may be Paloma fans, but let’s see how many she can convert.

Standard tickets have sold out, but there are still seats for the all-inclusive supper option, meaning you don’t have to wave your arms and clap your hands on an empty stomach.

Millie Sutherland O’Gara (former Buzz youth correspondent, who attended the WHAAM concert last year.)

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One hundred years ago: June 1918.

There is a surplus of British-made butter available. The weekly ration has been increased from 4 to 5 oz per person.

Northam Urban District Council seek tenders for the clearing of rabbits on lands at Melbury Reservoir, Parkham. One extra provision has been stipulated, “That no rabbits be paunched on the Council’s lands”.

At the same meeting the council report that 95 allotments are now occupied in the area, compared to 29 before the war.

A handsome chair made from Bideford Long Bridge oak was presented to the Bridge Trust and accepted and acknowledged by George Willy Vincent and Alexander Greig Duncan. Restoration of the Bridge commenced in 1915 and from time to time old oak beams come to light. (It is very uncomfortable, still in use today, and keeps meetings short!!)

A little lad aged 11 years was run over by one of the Canadian Motor Transport cars and lost 2 toes. The previous day one of the same cars drove into a bullock.

Property and Land for Sale. Tomouth Estates, East Appledore: 12½acres and 3 cottages.

To Let: Small farm “Kas Venton”, Westward Ho! 23 acres & dwelling house and farm buildings. Also 6 acre field known as ‘Football Field’ adjoining the main road from Westward Ho! to Bideford.

It was stated in the Devon County Council meeting on June 20th that the Hartland to Bideford road had absorbed £28,263, so that the steam roller must have rolled in over 28,000 golden sovereigns on that previous piece of highway.” (The current comparison would be £1.1 million).

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings or visit our website www.bidefordarchive.org.uk

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Felicity’s Fish Cookery – June.

This month the summer fish arrives in all its delicate splendour, and I thought it would be good to look at some Georgian fish recipes (the cookery at the beginning of the nineteenth Century, just before the Victorian Era).  The fish cookery was fairly basic with limited ingredients but some interesting influences (especially for the upper classes, who ate plentifully).

The shellfish season has started and the crabs and lobster are moving around, they get attracted to the pots more often, so catches are improving and the prices are at their most reasonable – hoping that there is fine summer weather this month!

The first is Buttered Crab or lobster – basically an interesting pate to spread on toast.

Warm Buttered Crabs (or lobster) to serve with toast.

Ingredients.

450g(1lb) Fresh or frozen mixed crabmeat, or lobster cleaned and chopped finely.

3 tbsp red wine.

1 tbsp vinegar.

½ tsp ground or fresh grated nutmeg, ½ tsp salt.

1 tsp anchovy essence (or 2 anchovy fillets).

1 egg yolk.

115g (4oz) butter.

Toast or French bread

Lemon thinly sliced and parsley sprigs to garnish.

Method.

Beat all the ingredients (crabmeat, red wine, vinegar, nutmeg anchovy, egg yolk and softened butter together well, or blend in a food processor.

Heat them gently in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Pile the mixture into a suitable container (cleaned crab or scallop shells or small dish) and serve with triangles or thin strips of toast.

Garnish with thin slices of lemon and parsley sprigs.

To carry on the historical cooking theme we have started a ‘Cooking Get Together’ session in Appledore.

The first was held at Appledore Library, and the May group met in the North Devon Maritime Museum and visited their Victorian Kitchen. We hope to have a session in June, somewhere in Appledore -maybe with a fish lunch available – please contact me for more details at brilliantfishsw@gmail.com or 07918 779 060.

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Bideford Fair & Dog Show, 30th June.

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Buzz Byte – June.

What is a cloud? In computing terms it’s not a fluffy white object in the sky, but a physical server used for storing and sharing data. Your information is stored on a remote database which is serviced and controlled, provided by cloud computing companies operating from data centres, the most well-known being the Apple iCloud. Clouds allow un-networked computers to communicate and share files without using the storage on your own hard drive. Clouds are accessed via the internet. A cloud works the same as you, storing your data on an internal or external hard drive or USB stick ; you can retrieve, amend and update it, but by using a cloud you are not filling your own hard drive space, allowing your PC to run more quickly.

Although cloud storage has only been promoted relativity recently it has been around for a while, in formats that you will have been using and not realise. The way these companies operate they are providing a form of cloud storage – YouTube, Facebook, email providers and Google Docs.

Consumers are moving to cloud storage as it is convenient and flexible. One of the pros of using a cloud is that you can access your data from any device, in any location, that can access the internet. The cons to look into are the reliability and security of the company who is storing your data, and what measures they take to ensure that is protected against hackers and loss.

There are lots of products available, so you need to consider what information you need to store, how much data there will be, and who needs access to it before making your purchase.

Nickie Baglow (Complete Computing).

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Gardening tips for June.

June is always regarded as the month for roses and it is a good time to feed them and keep any pests or diseases at bay. Good rose fertiliser, especially formulated for them, is available at most DIY stores or garden centres and is needed to keep them in top condition. Blood Fish and Bone mix, which is organic, is a good choice. Don’t use fertiliser late in the summer as it makes too much young growth that won’t ripen before winter. It’s also good to give a precautionary treat for aphids, greenfly, blackfly and whitefly for the most common rose pests and a systemic general garden product should be chosen. For black spot and rust however you will need ones especially for roses. Please remember to wear disposable gloves and possibly a disposable mask too. Remember to wash the sprayers you use for the chemicals. One important point on diseased leaves, whether it is black spot or rust, remove them and dispose of them safely before they fall to the ground. When the leaves hit the ground the fungal spores lodge in the soil and when it rains bounce back under the leaves above. Don’t compost the leaves either.

When deadheading roses don’t just remove the flowers, but cut back two leaf joints just above the point where the leaf joins the stem (what is known as the leaf axil.) Doing this ensures a more vigorous second flush of blooms.

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Bideford Gardeners’ Club.

Hopefully your garden is looking good right now, but if you are growing geraniums (more correctly, zonal pelargoniums) Bideford Gardeners’ Club has a talk by Ken Bishop on Tuesday 12th June on these very varied plants. As usual it’s at Bideford Methodist Church Hall off Honestone Street car park.

We are also running a coach trip to Bowden’s Hosta nursery near Okehampton and The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum on Friday 26th July; full details on our website www.bidefordgardenersclub.co.uk or from myself

Just a quick note regarding the new GDPR regulations for sharing personal data. We only hold a database of club members and no other names or details are stored. We do not pass on any information to the public or other members without their express wishes.

Hope your plants are all growing well and we would love to see them at our Flower Show on 19th August at Bideford Pannier Market; again more details on the website.

Mike Avis.

07710 454230.

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Fair weather can bite!

Advice from Torbridge Vets.

Finally the sun is out! We are all itching to get out and about with our pets and soak up the rays. One fair weather problem comes in the form of Britain’s only venomous reptile, the adder. They have already been seen by our staff out on Torrington commons and in the sand dunes at Westward Ho! They are fascinating creatures and generally will only bite if provoked. They can be found basking on sunny woodland slopes, in long grass, or in sand dunes. Bites earlier in the season tend to be worse than those later, and for smaller dogs they can be deadly. Dog often get bitten on the face or legs, as they anger the snake by accidentally stepping on them or sniffing them. Cats can be bitten too but they tend to be more street wise than dogs so it’s rare! Signs your pet has been bitten include sudden cries of pain followed by localised swelling. You may see puncture marks you may not. Some dogs will show very few signs and simply become unwell later on with lethargy, vomiting etc. If you suspect your pet has been bitten:

Do:

Keep calm; keep your dog calm to reduce blood pressure.

Try to keep your dog still, carry them to the car (if possible!)

Contact your vet to let them know you are coming.

Don’t:

Panic!

Apply a tourniquet – this is not recommended in most cases.

Try to squeeze or suck out the venom.

Kill or catch the snake (we know it’s a adder and it’s not its fault, it was just acting in self defence).

Mess with the bite site.

We at Torbridge vets really hope you enjoy the weather with your pets.

We hope some of the information comes in handy and you can enjoy the good weather whilst keeping your pets happy and healthy. Next time I shall explain about how to keep your pets safe in the heat of summer (assuming the sun stays with us!).

Alice England, RVN Fdn.

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British Naturalists’ Association.

The British Naturalists’ Association’s (Taw Valley and Exmoor Branch) recent field trip was to Parkham Ash, to meet Peter Channing on his private 34 acre farm. We arrived shortly after 5.30am, to listen to the ‘Dawn Chorus,’ and to explore Peter’s high level stewardship culm grassland. The farm is made up of a variety of habitats including ancient woodland, marshy areas, ponds, scrub and culm grassland which has been very carefully maintained. Areas of scrub are being cleared to provide corridors for rare Marsh Fritillary butterflies to spread. Marsh Fritillaries are weak flyers and will not fly over tree canopies, so this is vital work, which is helping to preserve and extend the species population. The butterflies will lay their eggs on the leaves of devil’s bit scabious before it actually flowers.

The culm grassland is grazed by 3 Exmoor ponies – Ted, Bruce and Croan (above). Croan has been brought up from Cornwall, and the ponies do an excellent job maintaining the grassland and encouraging the growth of flora. Although it was a little early in the year (April) for many wildflowers, we saw a wide variety including primroses, wood violets, marsh violets, crowfoot, marsh marigolds, selfheal, lady’s smock (see photo), lousewort and early purple orchids – to name but a few! 50 dormouse boxes were already in place and a marsh tit was happily sitting on 4 pinkish eggs when we arrived – she will lay more. Already there were 20 nests in the boxes – 2 with eggs. Peter explained that the small birds often use the nest boxes first, taken over hopefully later on in the year by dormice.

A good sign of dormice activity, without disturbing them in their nests, are open hazel nut shells. The ones split perfectly in half indicate squirrels, but the ones with a wide hole in the side of the nut, showing a smooth edge but with gnaw marks inside the lip of the hole, have been made by a dormouse. Gnaw marks all the way around the lip of the hole, have been made by wood mouse or another small animal. We also found red deer slots (hoof prints) and Peter confirmed he has 10-15 roe deer resident, and about 6 red deer. Red deer mainly during the winter months.

The purple moor grass is deciduous and is burnt off each year. Much of the grassland bears hummocky grassy mounds which are the perfect habitat for nesting harvest mice. We found toads but no slowworms under the corrugated iron sheets this time.

We chatted and explored for 4 amazing hours with Peter as a heron flew overhead (the BNA’s emblem) and observed a host of bird species including greater spotted woodpeckers, nuthatch, treecreepers, willow warblers, chiff chaffs, marsh tits, chaffinches, blue tits, robin, wren and many more – over 40 species were listed. We then left Peter and his beautiful haven so explore Peppercombe Beach for wildlife, not far from Horns Cross. Difficult to end such a perfect day….. but yes, we ended up in the pub!

If you would like to join the BNA please visit www.bna-naturalists.org or contact Branch Chairman Brian Sims 01271 3436

Endymion Beer, BNA Youth Officer.

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Bideford’s Nat West Bank.

An iconic building in Bideford, Nat West Bank (formerly National Provincial) closed on 29th May 2018. Peter Christie looks back on its history, and Gerald Waldron remembers his time as a bank employee.

End of an era.

The closure of Bideford’s Natwest bank seems a suitable time to look at its history. The story begins around 1790 when four men established a bank in town. They were James Ley a prominent merchant, Stephen Willcock a wine merchant, John Glubb a lawyer, and Charles Cutcliffe a Barnstaple banker. Their new venture seems to have been set up in Ley’s house on the N.E. corner of High Street.

A map from 1842 (above) shows the building split into two, whilst the main photograph (taken around 1870) clearly shows which section was being used as the bank. The fact that the business became known as ‘Bideford Old Bank’ suggests it was the first such establishment in the town.

In 1843 under its ‘official’ name of J.Ley & Co it was taken over by the National Provincial Bank which had been founded in London a decade earlier. At some time the building next door was incorporated into the bank as shown on this 1888 map (below).

Under its new name it continued to provide banking services to Bideford, and in 1930 plans were submitted to modernise the building. These saw a new doorway at the eastern end with the old entrance being closed up along with a reinforced strong room. The work was carried out by John Cock, a Bideford builder and one-time Mayor of the town.

Since then various changes have been put in place to meet modern requirements (e.g. an ATM and bullet proof glass screens). Sadly the gradual movement to on-line banking has seen the Natwest directors decide to close this branch – Bideford will be the poorer.

Peter Christie.

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Reminiscences of an old-fashioned banker at National Provincial Bank in North Devon in the 1950s.

I applied to join the National Provincial Bank in 1950 and had to go to London for interview with the Chairman & General Manager. It so happened that his wife had presented prizes at Bideford Grammar School’ s Prize-Giving not long before, and I was one of the recipients, so I was offered a job without a formal interview. My first appointment was at Torrington for 6 months, I then did my National Service and returned to the Torrington branch for a further 6 months before being transferred to Bideford.

My first taste of banking was at Torrington where the Manager opened the post which arrived at 8 o’clock. He unlocked the door for staff at 9 o’clock before having breakfast upstairs in his flat and then going fishing during the season. He returned later in the afternoon to lock up then spent the evenings doing business with customers in the local pubs.

From what I remember there were 20/30 members of staff at Bideford but they had to cover the branch office at Northam, a daily agency at Appledore, and a monthly morning visit to Clovelly. One member of staff plus a guard went by taxi to Clovelly, but no business was carried out there apart from selling postcards of the premises at 6d a time. Two members of staff ran the Northam branch but were not allowed to leave the bank so coffee and doughnuts were delivered by Patts, who ran a café across the road.

Male members of staff had to wear suits, collars and ties at all times. All entries were entered manually in ledgers. The bank was open from 10 am to 3 pm but staff had to remain until they balanced the books – sometimes quite late in the evening. Once £500 couldn’t be accounted for and, after searching everywhere, staff had to give up. However, 6 months later a junior was cleaning dust from under the safe and found the missing bundle of notes. Any dirty notes at the bank had to be taken out of circulation, parcelled up with the bank seal and returned to the Bank of England. Two members of staff carried the packages up High Street to the Post Office!

At the beginning of 1955 I was transferred to London at a week’s notice. Shortly after I arrived at the Bank’s hostel two others were transferred from Bideford. I myself was contacted within the first week at my new branch about playing rugby for the Bank. I was told I was posted to London because I played rugby, and I thought it was because of my mental ability! How times have changed since those days, with Northam and Torrington closed, and now Bideford.

Gerald Waldron.

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Book Buzz.

What’s happening at your local library?

It’s National Bookstart Week from 4th to 10th June. Aimed at encouraging a love of books in children under 5, all Devon libraries will have a limited number of free books to give away. This year’s book is ‘A Busy Day For Birds’ by Lucy Cousins (Famous for ‘Maisy Mouse’). There will also be some colouring-in and crafts to go with the theme.

Appledore Library are teaming up with the Poppins Parent and Toddler Group on Monday 4th June from 10-11am and will have a special storytime, music and crafts session at the library, then it’s back to St Mary’s Hall for snacks and playtime 11am-12pm.

Northam Library will have their Bounce and Rhyme session Monday 4th June from 9:15-9:45am.

Bideford Library have their regular story time on Thursday 7th June from 9:30-10am.

For more info on National Bookstart Week go to www.booktrust.org.uk also… Bookstart Corner.  Bideford Library have teamed up with Bideford Bay Children’s Centre to offer a fun, free, course for parents with children under 5 years old. The course starts on Friday 8th June from 10-11am and runs for 4 weeks in total at Bideford Library. Each week parents will get free items from the Bookstart Corner Pack to support their child in developing a love of stories, rhymes, puppets and drawing. Places are limited and booking is essential through the library or Children’s Centre.? devonlibraries.org.uk or Bideford Library 01237 476075.

Where did all the Signposts Go?   A local information booklet written for carers of people with dementia. Caring for someone diagnosed with dementia can often be a lonely and bewildering experience. The hope is that this booklet may provide some direction for carers by offering input from those who have experienced the journey first hand and by the inclusion of a few signposts for the road ahead.  Booklets are available from Bideford and Northam libraries.

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‘The Uncommon Reader’, by Alan Bennett; discussed by Bideford Library Readers’ Group. (The Readers’ Group meets on the first Wednesday of every month, 2pm at Bideford Library).

We commoners know that our constitutional monarch gets exercise from riding horses and chasing corgis. What we may not have considered is the Queen’s enjoyment of literature. This well written novella, enjoyed by the majority of the Reading Club, is a frothy conceit in which the reigning monarch suddenly discovers in her 70s the joy of reading-and not any reading but a playlist of Bennett’s favourite books. Bennett does not allow her Majesty to set foot outside manorial settings with the exception of the Westminster mobile library parked outside the Royal Kitchens. In real life the excellent Buckingham Palace Rd Library, which was regularly used by the Queen Mother’s lackey, is only two streets away.

[Incidentally (editor’s note here) – as a librarian in the sixties working for Westminster Libraries I knew the back story to the Queen Mother’s library habits and the fact that she liked to read crime fiction, particulary Dick Francis.]

Bennett needs a hero and invents a scenario in which Her Majesty stumbles across a mobile library while chasing her dogs, meets her guide, Norman, and proceeds on a literary journey in a cleverly written, gently humorous and mildly republican narrative. He becomes her amanuensis, much to the chagrin of the Royal Courtiers who in time surreptitiously park him in the Creative Writing programme of the University of East Anglia.

Royal duties become onerous to her Majesty as the journey through literature proceeds. When a case of reading materials goes missing on an official trip to Canada, the queen suffers from ‘separation anxiety’ and courtiers suspect the onset of dementia.

The Royal Household have been at the forefront of embracing modern technology through ebooks and audio books. We know from documentaries that Her Majesty is committed to preserving the royal historical materials within her royal libraries. We all expressed delight in Her Majesty’s progression to the role of author, through one suspects over her reign that she has had a great deal of practice.

Linda Napier-Burrows.

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Bideford Cinema – June.

Friday 22 and Saturday 23 June at 7.30pm at Kingsley School: On Chesil Beach (15), 110 mins.

For up-to-date information on times and dates please see our weekly advert in the North Devon Gazette, or visit our website at

www.bidefordcinema.org.uk

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