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).      Telephone 07929-976120, or E-mail:

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150-year celebrations at Royal North Devon Golf Club.

The year 2014 will see Royal North Devon Golf Club celebrating 150 years of golf on Northam Burrows. The course is situated on the coastline between Westward Ho! and the estuary shared by the rivers Taw and Torridge. It is the oldest club in England to be playing on its original layout.

A number of events marking this milestone in the club’s history have been arranged for the year. The first, an Anniversary Dinner, took place on Friday, 4th April – this being the actual birth date of the Club. The evening was oversubscribed with the focal point being a talk on the Club’s history by Club historian and former Secretary, Robert Fowler.

Royal North Devon Golf Club is also the home of the oldest ladies’ club in England and the second oldest in the world. This was formed in 1868 and although the ladies now form a playing section of the club, they represent a direct line back to those original ladies who pioneered the game on the Burrows. The section has, for some time, enjoyed the same voting rights and committee representation as their male colleagues.

The Club is a Mecca for golfers from all over the British Isles and, indeed, the world. Bernard Darwin, the doyen of golf writers, muses in his work, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, “To go to Westward Ho! is not to make a mere visit of pleasure as to an ordinary course; it is, as is the case of a few other links, a reverent pilgrimage.” This remains as true today as it did all those years ago when Darwin penned those words. Our many visitors add to the vitality of the Club’s activities and, not to be under-estimated, income to the local economy.

But on a day-to-day basis, and this is fundamental to RND’s existence, the Club is very much a part of the local community, run by local people for local people. A very strong junior section is well catered for as a matter of policy. A wide range of individual characters practice their chosen sport over the 18 holes of the main course and the nine of the “Pimpley” short course. Nowhere is this better illustrated than by a glance at the list of former, current and future Presidents. This ranges from the very top-class amateur players through Oxbridge Blues to long-standing members who can recall caddying as boys for “half-a-crown” (12½p) per round.

The members of RND are justly proud of the 150-year-history of their club. Those years have led to the creation of the current facility that is available to all those who love the game and those who are contemplating taking it up.

As this historic year unfolds news of the various events, golfing and social, will be made available.

J E Hoskings


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Torridge Estuary Strategy Consultation.

Torridge District Council has commissioned a new Estuary Strategy and is asking the public what they think of it.

Council leader Philip Collins said, ‘The harbour and estuary are such important aspects of Torridge. We have been working on the Strategy document so that we have a fuller understanding of the estuary and can manage it from a more informed starting point with a more coherent approach. It has been quite a while in preparation and we particularly welcome comments from all those with relevant knowledge.’

In particular the Strategy looks to:

establish a clear vision for the Estuary and provide a clear basis for future decision-making;

foster economic growth through investment and regeneration;

inform and engage stakeholders in its implementation;

protect and improve maritime infrastructure for marine-related uses;

preserve and enhance the Estuary’s special environmental status;

support the exercise of the Council’s statutory harbour authority powers in the public interest.

The council is now asking stakeholders and the public for their comments. The Strategy and consultation documents are available on the council’s website at Responses will be accepted until 18 May 2014. A paper copy of the consultation documentation can be read in the reception areas of council offices.


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Bradworthy Arts Festival – 3rd, 4th, 5th May.

Various venues in and around the village of Bradworthy

Bradworthy Arts Festival takes place over 3 days at nine different venues around Bradworthy, with dozens of local artists offering exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops. All venues and events are free to enter and you can explore a range of arts from textile and ceramic crafts, painting and sculpture to music and drama. Refreshments will be available to buy at several venues. You could easily pass a whole day enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of this celebration of North Devon’s creativity, and all are welcome so please do take a look at

and join us this May Bank Holiday.


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Nightwalk – 17th & 31st May.

The ladies-only moonlit walk in aid of North Devon Hospice.

17th & 31st May 2014

We are delighted to announce that registration for Nightwalk 2014 is now open! The ladies-only moonlit walk offers routes of various lengths along the Tarka Trail, at beautiful Tamar Lakes near Bude, and a beach walk on Saunton Sands. With live Samba and Latin music at each different Nightwalk venue, there promises to be a carnival atmosphere at North Devon’s biggest single fundraising event. You can sign up today by visiting Register soon to take advantage of our early-bird offer.

17th May:            Tarka Trail (walks of 6, 7, 11, 17 or 18 miles between Braunton, Barnstaple, Bideford and Torrington)

Saunton Sands (10 mile or 5 mile circular walks).

31st May:            Tamar Lakes near Bude (6 mile or 3 mile circular walks)

Your participation and support has never been more valuable

Whether you are taking part in fancy dress, walking in memory of a loved one, or just coming to enjoy the amazing atmosphere, we hope you will join us for an unforgettable evening. North Devon Hospice are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2014, but it is only with your support that we can provide our specialist care to local people affected by cancer and other life-limiting illnesses. Rally your friends, family and colleagues and sign up today. Register for Nightwalk by visiting Or please call 01271 347224 for a paper registration form. We look forward to welcoming you to another special evening.


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Felicity’s fish cookery – April.

Fish with root vegetable Tagine -a Moroccan dish to make in a tagine, casserole dish or a large pan. (To serve 4).

White fish – Pollack, Coley, Cod or Haddock- (frozen local fish portions can be used).

1tbsp vegetable oil.

I onion, sliced.

I small chilli, finely sliced.

1 tsp. ground cumin, turmeric, paprika.

I potato, and I carrot peeled and cut into 2cm chunks(or any root vegetable available).

Chicken or vegetable stock cube.

Lemon juice.

1 x 400gm can chopped tomatoes.

1 205gm can of Mandarin oranges in fruit juice.

I handful of parsley and mint leaves (chopped).


Heat the oil in a large pan or heatproof casserole dish, add the onion, chilli and spices, cooking for 2- 3 minutes until softened slightly.

Add the cubed potatoes and carrot, crumbled stock cube, stirring to combine.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, mandarins in their juices and the lemon juice. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for about 15minutes, top up with water if required.

Add the large cubes of fish and simmer for 5 minutes. Check vegetables and fish are cooked.

Take off the heat and stir through the chopped herbs, breaking up the fish slightly.

Serve with couscous and steamed broccoli .


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Razzle & Dazzle.

Entertainment group “Bradazzle” raises funds for local community projects, village halls, and charities with their fun evening of song and laughter in a light-hearted musical comedy revue, provided free. They have members from various local singing groups including The Torridge Male Voice Choir, and are helped along by special guests from local villages, plus musicians with guitars, flute, and keyboard.

Their show “For One Night Only” proved a huge success at Bradworthy in March, and airs at Halwill Village Hall on Saturday 26th April at 7.30pm. All proceeds from this fun evening with audience participation go to Halwill Church Tower Fund and The North Devon Hospice. Tickets are £6 including light refreshments from Chris Long on 01409 221577, or Junction Corner News shop.

Community events need support to keep our villages alive, and what more worthy cause for Devon performers than local projects and deserving charities? Any community wanting a show (at no cost) should contact 01237 440055 and “Bradazzle” will see what they can do.


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A prescient advertisement ?


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Host families required.


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Bideford Annual Parish Meeting – 30th April.

Notice is hereby given that Bideford Annual Parish Meeting will be held on Wednesday 30 April 2014 at 7.00 pm in the Town Hall, Bideford. The Mayor of Bideford will submit a report on the Council’s activities during 2013/14 and reviews will be given of the work undertaken by the Council’s Committees. Grant cheques will be presented to Local Organisations and consideration will be given to any matters raised by Registered Electors who reside within the parish of Bideford.


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Buzz Word – April.

Please send us your Buzzes!! Write to or to the address on front page.

Dressing the Churchyard.

Easter Saturday, April 19th 2014

If you have family or friends with a grave or memorial in St Margaret’s Churchyard, please visit on Easter Saturday – maybe bring a bunch of flowers to dress the grave. If you sometimes visit the Churchyard on your way through Northam, perhaps to sit and rest awhile, you are also very welcome to come.   You may like to bring flowers to dress graves which are more ancient.

Tea, coffee and cake will be served in the Church from 11am – 3pm.

We look forward to welcoming you.


The women-only moonlit walk in aid of North Devon Hospice 17th May: Tarka Trail (walks of 6, 7, 11, 17 or 18 miles between Braunton, Barnstaple, Bideford and Torrington).

Your participation and support has never been more valuable. Whether you are taking part in fancy dress, walking in memory of a loved one, or just coming to enjoy the amazing atmosphere, we hope you will join us for an unforgettable evening. North Devon Hospice are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2014, but it is only with your support that we can provide our specialist care to local people affected by cancer and other life-limiting illnesses. Rally your friends and family. You can sign up today by visiting Or please call 01271 347224 for a paper registration form.

Big Breakfast events will take place this month throughout North Devon and Cornwall borders, in many locations. All you need to do is come along to your local Big Breakfast event and enjoy a delicious meal, all profits from which will be donated to North Devon Hospice. It couldn’t be simpler! Please come along and support your local Big Breakfast at:Beach Café, Westbourne Terrace, Westward Ho! Saturday 12th April 9.30am-2.00pm Come along and enjoy a lovely Big Breakfast from £4.25p

New Season at Hartland Farmers’ Market

Hartland Farmers’ Market starts again on April 6th. Stalls will be selling the best local meat, game and fish, bread, organic fruit and vegetables, cheeses, honey, pies and pasties, pates and preserves, cakes and cookies . . . you name it! The Renowned Farmers’ Café will again be open for business, selling its best full English sourced from market traders. There will be vegetarian options, and lighter bites for smaller appetites.

The market offers a free stall to local charities at each market. The April charity stall has been donated to ‘See Hear’, a charity for people with sight or hearing loss. They have a mobile unit that comes to Hartland once a month.

The markets will run on the first Sunday of the month (April – September), 10am – 1pm, in the Parish Hall, and the Christmas Market taking place on December 21.For more details, or to book a stall, contact Rod Landman on 441 786.


Entertainment group “Bradazzle” comprises 15 players from North Devon, who provide a fun evening of song and laughter with their musical and comedy revue. Their aim is to raise funds for local community projects and village halls, and various charities, by providing a free entertainment show. The group includes some members of The Torridge Male Voice Choir, Mishmash and Peculiar Folk, all popular singing groups in the area. Any community wanting a show (at no cost) should contact Andy on 01237 440055 and “Bradazzle” will see what they can do.

The Black Death (March Buzz).

Reference Buzz September 2012 page 2 :-

“In late May 1646 three young sons of a local surgeon called Revening played on a shipload of merino wool from Spain. A few days later they sickened and died, becoming Bideford’s first victimsof the plague which lasted from June 8th 1646 until the 18th of June 1647.    ‘In a few weeks the houses were full of horror and the streets became covered in grass’.”

Roger Sugar.


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A few thoughts on chewing gum.

According to shopkeepers people buy chewing gum for a variety of reasons.    It freshens your breath (can therefore disguise the fact that you’ve been drinking or smoking), it’s useful for people who are trying to give up alcohol or tobacco, it, as the ads used to say ‘helps you concentrate’ and it has the advantage of having something in your mouth which isn’t chocolate or another fattening substance, so it helps you to diet.    All useful or laudable factors.   But from my own experience with chewing gum after about 30 seconds of the stuff in my mouth, and after the nice sugary taste has gone, I’m left with this horrible, revolting bit of rubber that I can’t wait to dispose of.

Chewing gum came to us originally via Mexico and New York as chicle and was intended as a rubber substitute. Instead it was manufactured as a gum – Adams New York Chewing Gum, cut into strips and marketed.    Later chicle was replaced by synthetic gum made from styrene-butadien rubber, isoprene copolymer, paraffin wax, and petroleum wax. Sounds awful but they are all approved materials.

I hadn’t realised until recently (call me naïve) that the white marks all over the town are in fact discarded gum.     I imagined that a colony of seagulls had been pretty busy leaving their droppings all over the ‘little white town’, no pun intended.

I couldn’t understand why the new York paving stones in Cooper St had suddenly developed a mosaic pattern, not an attractive one, which had crept down to Jubilee Square.

But my main question is - when does this happen?    To my knowledge I have never seen anyone disposing of chewing gum in the street.    Even the roads have this white stuff, so is it thrown out of cars, or do people quietly drop it en route.

Don’t get me wrong , I can appreciate the difficulties with the stuff.    If you smoke, every bar and restaurant has a box outside for your fag ends, but there are no such arrangements for gum.     I know from my own experience that rather than wreck the pocket of my coat, I have had to search around for a tissue to ‘wrap it and bin it’ and of course you don’t always have a tissue or a bin. Far easier to surreptitiously drop it when no one’s looking, or stick it in the exhaust pipe of the nearest car!

A few facts about chewing gum.

Chewing gum is not digestible. Not for humans and not for any living creature in the air or sea.

It is not biodegradable and will stick to its surface for many, many years until treated.

Birds (especially young birds) have died by eating chewing gum.

Uses for gum ? A sealer – can seal up a hole in a hose;   can be used as crab bait;    can be used to repel flies – they don’t like the smell of it.    Relieve earache by chewing on a piece of gum.

(What ideas do you have for disposing of gum? Let us know )



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Memories of a Plymouth evacuee.

With time on my hands, I have been trying to trace people who were part of my youth – over 70 years ago!

Knowing only her maiden name, and not having seen or heard of her since the end of WW2, I spent several hours on the Internet before coming up with a possible match. I then wrote to a ‘Mrs June Sims’ who, as a child, could have been evacuated to Appledore with her parents, and billeted with us, having lost their home during the Plymouth Blitz.

About a week later I received a letter from June – yes, I had found her! Below is what she had to say about her time in North Devon, which my sister Enid and I found fascinating.

Yours sincerely,

Cynthia Snowden – Northam.


Dear Mrs Snowden (Cynthia)

What a surprise your letter was – received the day after my 85th birthday. Yes I am the June Randle that was (now Sims). I remember Appledore well and your Mum, Dad and Enid with the blonde bob and you and your pigtails. Also remember the lovely smell of bread baking where your Dad worked, and Dulcie who lived in the big house opposite – we both caught the bus to Stella Maris Convent and often she brought me a lovely apple from her garden. Such Happy Memories and best school-days of my life (only 18 in class!!!), Greek dancing on the lawn. I was rather overwhelmed at first, having wanted to go to Edgehill College and being a Protestant – but the sisters were so kind and welcoming and, knowing we had been bombed out and lost our home in the Plymouth Blitz (being bombed every day and night – how did we stay alive?), they reduced my school fees!!! Also remember catching crabs on the quay with bacon rinds.

After 12 months my parents returned to Plymouth and I then lived with my dancing teacher and her parents Mr & Mrs Jordan who kept the New Inn at Instow.

Although worried about Mum and Dad going back to Plymouth, was well looked after and very happy, walking on the beach each day after school with Joan and the dog, gathering driftwood for the range – Mrs Jordan made the best chocolate sponge ever – I think the farmers visiting the pub helped her out with eggs etc. Also having stew with spaghetti and tomatoes to make it stretch I suppose, the things we remember. Mum also used to make pasties on a Tuesday and come and meet me and we used to go to the park and eat them. (Always hid my velour hat as we were not allowed to eat out of doors!!!)

(Followed by personal news.)

Sincerely, June.


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Book review.

‘Kisses on a postcard’, by Terence Frisby (discussed by Bideford Library Readers’ Group)

Although this was not a literary masterpiece, most of the group enjoyed the book about London evacuees(‘vackies’) transported to Cornwall at the outbreak of the Second World War. The title referred to the postcard to be sent back to their mother in London and was a sort of code. One kiss meant come and get me, 2 meant it was ok and 3 nice. From the beginning the experience was ‘brilliant,’ so they were amongst the lucky ones who were billeted with loving and caring foster parents, Auntie Rose and Uncle Jack ( and incidentally they covered the postcard in kisses).

I had reservations about this book because I felt that while of no particular literary merit it had managed to be a very successful book. My view was that there were many books on the same subject which didn’t make the best seller list, or indeed were not published at all .

I also felt there was a slightly distorted view of country living. There was an assumption that the vackies had discovered the delights of the countryside all on their own and that the actual country dwellers were unaware of what was around them.However he does get some of his London cockiness knocked out of him by Uncle Jack.

Some members of the group felt the book was unnecessarily sadistic with descriptions of killings of wild animals. This would seem to come naturally to country people who needed, especially in wartime, to be self sufficient.

It was however in the main, a pleasant and nostalgic read, with some very sad moments, prompting at least an hour’s concentrated discussion.


Bideford Readers’ Group meets on the 1st Wednesday of the month at Bideford Library at 2pm. Next month we shall be discussing ‘The Summer of Drowning’ by John Burnside.


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Young Buzz – April.

Nothing to do in Bideford? How wrong can you be!

Truthfully, I have to admit that in the past I have been guilty of dismissing Bideford as “boring” and “uninspiring” but I never knew how wrong I could be! Bideford or the ‘Little White Town’ as we know it has so much to offer in terms of events, opportunities and exciting new projects. This ranges from the annual carnival right through to the recent Bideford half marathon. As I open my eyes to all things local, I begin to realise that Bideford is in actual fact a thriving town with a great sense of community spirit , delivering us a daily dose of home-grown activities that aim to please all ages.

I recently attended a ‘Businesses of Bideford’ meeting whereby a discussion took place regarding the forthcoming events and local amenities that are happening on our very own doorstep, with the promise of a few seasonal surprises in store! One of these is a ‘ghost walk’ which will take place in and around the town, with the walks varying depending on the age category for which you fall into. This “fright night” experience is a feature for Halloween, with a host of creepy costumes hoping to fill the town in its hours of darkness. The ghoulish behaviour is set to continue with a party proceeding right into the night, with businesses staying open and assisting with the frightful festivities. The aim of the game is to get both businesses and residents involved; ensuring that it is a Halloween we are keen to remember!

Another date for our diaries is Bideford Heritage Day on Saturday 28th June. A medieval theme has been decided on, with the chance to dress up in outfits that tie in with this particular period. Expect to see corsets by the crowd and girdles galore as the town travels back in time, mirroring the medieval attire. The predominant focus on our town’s history makes for an interesting, educating and exciting family day out including tours around Bideford as one of the many activities that will run throughout the course of the day. Talks of a medieval banquet are sure to bring the ‘Middle Ages’ themed evening to a grand and unforgettable finish. There is an overwhelming desire to re-enact Bideford’s history; exploring its past and culture and Bideford Heritage Day is a dedication to this.

On a more sporting note , the Bideford Blues under 10’s football team recently received a very generous donation from Complete Computing who sponsored over 30 match day jackets. They have a fantastic facility and some great individuals who dedicate a large portion of their time to keep the club running and engaging the lives of so many young locals.

We are fortunate to live in a town that prides itself on a close knit community and rich historic background; there truly is so much to see and do! Bideford’s picturesque landscape and situation attracts tourism around the clock. There is a café culture revival, with the town becoming an ideal place to socialise due to its number of ‘niche’ cafes and coffee spots. Not to mention the beautiful walks and surfing opportunities quite literally right on our very doorsteps.

Question is, what’s in store for the ‘Little White Town’ next? Well one thing is clear; anything is possible when Bideford continues to blossom year after year.

Kelly Gumbley. (photo shows Heritage Day 2013 © Graham Hobbs)

Got something to share? Send it to Kelly via Bideford Buzz, TTVS, 14 Bridgeland St ,Bideford ,EX 39 2QE or email editor@

Outward Bound Courses.

The Sir Francis Chichester Trust offers FREE places on three week ‘Classic Adventure’ Outward Bound courses to young people who live in Devon and who are aged 16-19 (at the time of the course, which will be over the summer holidays). The courses are primarily personal development , based around outdoor activities and with a particular emphasis on teamwork. The closing date for applications this summer is 7th April with interviews for those shortlisted being held 1st and 2nd May. An application form can be downloaded from the website if you have any queries or would like any additional information contact Anthea Parkyn on 01392 250976 or email

Appledore Kidz Club.

This is based in the Appledore Community Hall on Newquay Street. The club is for ages 5 – 11 and runs from 3.30 until 5.30 on Tuesdays (which is Drama Club), Wednesdays (which is cooking, crafts and games) and Thursdays (which is sports and games). We charge 50 pence an hour including a drink and snack . It is a not-for-profit organisation run solely by volunteers. Currently there are eight of us in the team, but there is certainly room for lots more! We are all CRB checked (or DBS, as it has recently become known) and would like any new volunteers to be too, or to be prepared to become so through TTVS (Torridge Voluntary Service); we would also require 2 character references. We are currently one of the nominated charities for the Asda Foundation, so please drop your token in our box! We can be contacted either via email or on our Facebook page.

Verity Jarvis.


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One hundred years ago – April 1914.

This month we are looking at the changes that are coming to transportation.

An April edition of the newspaper contained a report from the Magistrates Court of a man who was charged with “using a broken down horse” and subjecting it to cruelty. In his defence the man said that the owner of the horse was at home ill and in need of an income.   To help out, the defendant had taken the horse and wagon out to do some work not realising how out of condition the animal had become.   The magistrate fined him a modest amount and was assured the horse had been restored to better health again.

In the classifieds section a local farmer advertised his pony and trap for sale as he had recently acquired a new motor car as his personal transport.

There are a number of advertisements for various forms of personal transport.

Ford are advertising a ‘universal car’ from £125. Triumph Motors are not only manufacturing motor cycles but also bicycles under the slogan ‘a quiet spin’. Raleigh bicycles can be purchased from £5 19s 6d from G Boyle, High Street, Bideford.

The state of North Devon roads were considered “a deplorable state of affairs” according to the Mayor, Mr S R Chope.   A lorry had broken its back axle on the road between Bideford and Hartland and Bideford Urban District Council passed a resolution “That this Council desires the attention of the Devon County Council to the dangerous condition of the road between Bideford and Hartland and is strongly of the opinion that an inspection of the road should be made by a committee of the County Council.    It is of the opinion that the consequences to the trade of the town of Bideford and North Devon generally will be disastrous if drastic and prompt measures are not taken to made the road passable”.


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