‘Plastic Free North Devon’ & ‘Ocean Explorer’.

Local charity Plastic Free North Devon (PFND) aims to connect people with their natural surroundings through conversations, education and events, to inspire locals and visitors alike to protect what our very existence depends on. The charity’s Ocean Explorer educational outreach project sits right at the heart of their mission to increase care and stewardship over the natural world by using education alongside real-life experiences, an approach summed up by Sir David Attenborough: “No-one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”.

Setting the foundations in July, the charity took 16 carefully selected Year 9 students from across North Devon to Lundy Island to experience first hand the nature on our doorstep. Half of them went on a snorkeling safari, and the other half went on a sea safari around the island. The assistant Lundy ranger joined both groups of children, providing an insight into the work that goes on and her route into the conservation sector. As part of the programme, all students were then asked to be part of the charity’s Ocean Explorer summer outreach and present back to their school about their experience, giving them a deeper understanding of the work of the charity and empowering them to act within their own lives.

After these successful trips, the Ocean Explorer Ambassadors and volunteers took the message out into the community using virtual reality diving experiences, storytelling, rockpool ID, citizen science research, story time, face painting, Ocean Explorer caricatures, beach and park cleans, dry aquarium, seaside yoga, and arts and crafts. A range of locations across North Devon and Torridge welcomed the Ocean Explorer interactive experience over the summer, including: Birdman Festival Ilfracombe, On The Road music festival, Clovelly Maritime Festival, Lynmouth Visitor Centre, Torrington Commons, Milky Way, and various local parks and beaches, with over £800 raised through donations and raffle tickets, enabling the charity to continue their vital work in the local community.

Chloe Lovelass, Ocean Explorer Ambassador, explained the importance of the project:
“There are so many threats to our marine environment, from the clearly visible plastic pollution to the growing climate emergency. We have really enjoyed inspiring people to look after the fragile ecosystems that support us all and show people just how amazing the nature on our doorstep is, how it supports us and how we can all do things to look after it.”
The virtual reality underwater adventures, featuring a dive off the coast of Lundy and encountering the local grey seal population, were experienced by around 2500 visitors and locals, eliciting numerous ‘wows’ and ‘gasps’. Visitors were then signposted to many of the different ways that they can get involved with protecting our environment; from careers, to volunteering, relevant petitions and campaigns, extra learning, and local organisations doing amazing things.

Anne-Marie Eveleigh, Operations Manager summed up the last six weeks:
“We are really pleased with how the Ocean Explorers project has played out this summer. After over a year of hiccups due to Covid 19 it was fantastic to be back out talking and inspiring people to protect what we all love. We were able to recruit a new cohort of Ocean Explorer volunteers who were invaluable in assisting the ambassadors and we will be building on how well the summer went by heading to community groups across North Devon to reach everyone with our messaging.”

Volunteering formed a significant and valuable part of the summer’s activities, empowering students and other Ocean Explorer volunteers to help run the project, learning new skills and advocating for the environment. 65% of the Year 9 students volunteered with the project contributing nearly 100 hours and 12 Ocean Explorer Volunteers contributed over 150 hours to the project.

Plastic Free North Devon and their Ocean Explorers are now looking to connect with local community groups, youth clubs, scouts, guides and brownies etc to continue to deliver their outreach into the Autumn and beyond through structured workshops, drop-in sessions, and talks. Any local groups interested in taking part in this new phase of the project, or local businesses able to support it, please email plasticfreenorthdevon@gmail.com.

This project is made possible thanks to the following generous funders: The North Devon Coast AONB Sustainable Development Fund, Badur Foundation, Fullabrook CIC, holidaycottages.co.uk, Pickwell Foundation, Turnstyle Designs, and Garfield Weston Foundation.

Plastic Free North Devon is a registered charity (Reg No: 1182464) and local environmental movement started by volunteers who want to reduce the impact of plastic pollution on the environment in North Devon and beyond. Working with local councils, community groups, businesses, schools, residents and visitors we aim to raise awareness of the issue, reduce the amount of plastic consumed, clear waste plastic from the environment and ensure that it is recycled or disposed of appropriately.


PFND Ocean Explorer Project Overview:

The Ocean Explorer project for 2021 was divided into two parts: a virtual reality experience in our interactive hub and an exciting Lundy experience for a selected group of year 9 students from schools across North Devon. The project seeked to deliver an engaging and informative education programme to local communities that:
?  Improves understanding of the natural ocean environment and its importance by encouraging a life-long love of nature
?  Introduces the main impacts of human activity on the planet
?  Inspires further self-learning about nature and encourages more sustainable lifestyle ?choices
?  Encourages volunteering in northern Devon and beyond
?  Encourages everyone to feel that they can be part of environmental conversation .

Email: plasticfreenorthdevon@gmail.com

Website: https://www.plasticfreenorthdevon.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/plasticfreenorthdevon/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/plasticfreenorthdevon/

Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/plasticfreenorthdevon/

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‘Santas on the Run’ – December 5th.

Spectacular Santa run returns to RHS Rosemoor.

Children’s Hospice South West’s spectacular ‘Santas on the Run Goes Freestyle’ will be returning to RHS Garden Rosemoor, near Great Torrington, on Sunday, December 5
The festive, fun 2k course is suitable for all ages and abilities and there will be plenty of festive treats and surprises to enjoy along the way.

“It’s the perfect way to get everyone in the mood for Christmas and raise a few pounds for your local children’s hospice,” said CHSW fundraiser Emma Perry.

Tickets are £10 per adult, £5 per child (under twos are free). Visit www.chsw.org.uk/santas

Join the Santas on the Run Goes Freestyle Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/santasontherun


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Shipping notes No. 197 (August).

Bideford Quay.

No shipping since last issue.

Bideford has a new Harbour Master, Capt. Paul Brown, who used to be a harbour pilot at Dover, and took over pilotage in the area following the retirement of Capt. R. Hoad.

Yelland Quay.

No shipping since last issue.


In a newsletter received daily from Singapore it was mentioned that the shipyard has a new General Manager, Mr Tom Hart, who has relocated from the United Arab Emirates to take over day-to-day running of the facility. (This info supplied by William Telford, Business Editor, Plymouth Live).

Bristol Channel Observations.

1/8 at 16.03 cargo vessel Wilson Amsterdam, 3,602 tons d.w., owners Edison Schiffahrts KG Germany, inward bound for Swansea.

2/8 at 05.35 cargo vessel Gitana, 5,019 tons d.w., owners Bakotrans Shipping BV Netherlands, inward bound or Portbury. At 06.47 vehicle carrier Carmen, 31,343 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Sweden and Norway, inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again 17.26 3rd outward bound having sailed from Portbury at 13.09). At 18.28 cargo vessel Transwind, 16,807 tons d.w., owners Sandone Holding Ltd Latvia, inward bound for Newport.

3/8 at 08.54 bulk carrier Aasfjord, 6,053 tons d.w., owners Aasnes Bulk Norway, inward bound for Port Talbot. (Seen again outward bound at 19.35 having sailed at 16.04). At 0913 cruise vessel Britannia, 143,750 tons gross, owners P and O Cruises Southampton, heading up the West coast of Lundy, and seen again at 11.07 after her trip round Lundy. At 21.35 cargo vessel Mia Sophie- B, 2,300 tons d.w., owners Sophie B Schiffahtrs Germany, inward bound for Avonmouth.

4/8 at 19.30 cruise vessel Hebridean Sky, 4,200 gross tons, owners Hebridean Sky Shipping Inc USA, outward bound from Lundy having sailed at 19.15 bound for Tresco. At 20.27 cargo vessel Ramzay, 4,540 tons d.w., owners Worldwide Flight Ltd Turkey, outward bound from Blue Anchor Bay having sailed at 16.58. At 20.47 vehicle carrier Michigan Highway, 17,673 tons d.w., owners Kawasaki Kisen Kaishia Japan, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 16.30.

6/8 at 22.09 cargo vessel Wilson Gydnia, 3,632 tons d.w., owners Wilson Shipping AS Norway, inward bound for Swansea.

7/8 at 11.03 cargo vessel Stroombank, 4,350 tons d.w., owners Bankship1V BV Netherlands, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 04.49. At 16.15 cargo vessel Kongsfjell, 3,320 tons d.w., owners AAT Shipinvest Norway, inward bound for Newport. At 18.55 cargo vessel Scheldedijk, 4,891 tons d.w. owners Navigia Shipmangement BV Netherlands inward bound for Avonmouth. (Seen again at 05.50 10th outward bound having sailed at 23.20 9th). At 21.03 cargo vessel Kimberley C, 6,805 tons d.w., owners Carisbrooke Shipping Isle of Wight, inward bound for Newport.

(Also 7/8 at 06.00 I noticed on the computer the Oldenburg heading for Sharpness; this is very usual mid-season. She had a propeller problem which required drydocking, then left Sharpness about 08.24 10th returning to Bideford).

8/8 At 21.40 vehicle carrier Pagna, 11,315 tons d.w., owners Pagna GMBH & Co KG Germany, inward bound for Portbury.

9/8 at 21.55 vehicle carrier Hoegh Tracer, 28,538 tons d.w., owners Hoegh Autoliners Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

10/8 at 05.57 cargo vessel Danica Hav, 2,310 tons d.w., owners Hav Bulk AS Norway, outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 22.34 9th. At 09.16 cruise ship Britannia, 14,3750 gross tons, owners P & O Cruises Southampton, seen heading up the western side of Lundy, then again at 11.11 having been round the north of Lundy and on her way back to her home port of Southampton. At 12.30 cargo vessel Arklow Fern, 4,960 tons d.w., owners Arklow Shipping ULC Eire, inward bound for Sharpness. At 16.15 cruise ship Hebridean Princess, 2,112 gross tons, owners HP Shipping Ltd Skipton, inward bound for Lundy Island; she sailed overnight for Cardiff. (Seen again at 09.15 13th outward bound from Cardiff having sailed at 19.35 12th enroute to Lundy; at 22.00 she was still anchored off Lundy, and sailed during the night heading for Tresco on the Isles of Scilly).

11/8 at 06.28 cargo vessel Kestri, 5,457 tons d.w., owners HS Kestri OU Estonia, inward bound for Avonmouth. (Seen again at 05.44 15th having sailed from Avonmouth at 23.59 14th). At 07.00 cruise vessel Island Sky, 4,200 tons gross, owners Island Sky Shipping Inc USA, inward bound for Lundy. She then sailed at approx 1500 heading for St Brides Bay,South Wales.

12/8 at 10.55 cargo vessel Verena, 3,850 tons d.w., owners Verena Hermann Lohmann Germany, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 22.27 11th.

14/8 at 05.20 cargo vessel Eems Dart, 3,725 tons d.w., owners Amny Dollard BV Netherlands, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 22.53 13th. At 05.24 cargo vessel Christina, 4,743 tons d.w., owners Christine Schiffahrts Germany, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 22.41 13th. At 13.03 buoy tender vessel Galatea, 1,200 tons d.w., owners Trinity House Harwich, outward bound from Swansea having sailed at 09.30 en-route to Dartmouth. At 13.53 container vessel Encounter, 9,335 tons d.w., owners JR Shipping Netherlands, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 08.48. At 15.55 cargo vessel Stefany, 3,710 tons d.w., owners IB Carriers Corp Turkey, inward bound for Newport. At 15.55 vehicle carrier Grande Houston, 15,853 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. At 18.26 bulk carrier Aasvik, owners Aasnes Bulk AS Norway, inward bound for Port Talbot.

16/8 at 17.28 cargo vessel Arklow Beacon, 8,660 tons d.w., owners Glenthorn Shipping Ltd Eire, outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 12.01.

17/8 at 07.27 bitumen tanker Stella Polaris, 8,297 tons d.w., owners Azollo BV Netherlands, inward bound for Newport. (Seen again at 19.58 18th outward bound from Newport having sailed at 14.27. At 09.22 cargo vessel Eems Spirit, 3,410 tons d.w., owners Eems Werken BV Netherlands, outward bound from Sharpness having sailed at 01.08. At 10.19 cruise vessel Britannia, 143,750 tons gross, owners P and O Cruises Southampton heading up the West Coast of Lundy; at 12.05 seen again heading for her home port of Southampton. At 10.19 patrol vessel HMS Puncher, Royal Navy, inward bound for Bristol. At 18.43 vehicle carrier Grande Cosmo, 18,288 tons d.w., owners Dynamic Enterprise SA Hong Kong, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 14.31.

18/8 at 17.44 cargo vessel Arklow Vale, 5,158 tons d.w., owners Avoca Shipping BV Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth.

19/8 at 05.15 cargo vessel Mont Blanc A, 3,737 tons d.w., owners Vulcania SFL Turkey, inward bound for Newport. At 0700 cruise vessel Island Sky, 4,200 tons d.w., owners Island Sky Shipping Inc USA, inward bound for Lundy; she left about 15.00 for Fowey.

20/8 at 07.51 cargo vessel Tim, 3,450 tons d.w., owners Tim Interscan Shipmanagement Germany, outward bound from Swansea having sailed at 04.56. At 11.03 cargo vessel Arklow Cape, 5,085 tons d.w., owners Crinnis Shipping Ltd Eire, inward bound for Swansea. At 11.07 tanker Harbour Fountain, 16,929 tons d.w., owners Siebte Nordtank GMBH Cyprus, inward bound for Cardiff. (Seen again at 13.07 22nd outward bound, having sailed from Cardiff at 08.56).

22/8 at 10.15 cargo vessel Arlecchino, 2,530 tons d.w., owners Caribbean Shipping Ltd Lithuania, inward bound for Neath. At 10.49 cargo vessel Saga Frigg, 55,596 tons d.w., owners Saga Shipholding Norway AS Norway, inward bound for Portbury. At 20.06 cargo vessel Mia Sophie-B, 2,300 tons d.w., owners Sophie B Schiffahtrs Shipping Germany, inward bound for Avonmouth Portbury. At 21.16 cargo vessel RMS Wanheim, 2,600 tons d.w., owners Wanheim Shipping SA Greece, inward bound for Newport.

24/8 at 09.25 cruise vessel Britannia, 143,750 gross tons, owners P and O Cruises Southampton, seen heading up the West coast of Lundy; then seen again at 11.29 after circumnavigating Lundy, and returning to her home port of Southampton. At 10.14 cargo vessel Eems Spirit, 3,410 tons d.w., owners Spirit BV Netherlands, inward bound for Sharpness.

25/8 at 06.00 tanker Monjasa Provider, 4,279 tons d.w., owners Monjasa Provider ADS Denmark, inward bound for Port Talbot to bunker the bulk carrier Palona. At 0916 cargo vessel Arklow Fame, 4,950 tons d.w., owners Invermore Shipping Ltd Eire, inward bound for Sharpness. At 11.50 cargo vessel Eems Dollard, 3,850 tons d.w., owners Eems Dollard BV Netherlands, inward bound for Sharpness. At 13.16 container vessel Endeavour, 9,167 tons d.w., owners Endeavour Bewaardel Netherlands, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 08.15. At 13.46 tanker Stolt Auk, 5,064 tons d.w., owners Stolt Auk BV Netherlands, outward bound from Barry having sailed at 08.53. At 18.29 container vessel MSC Joy, 31,160 tons d.w., owners Joy Naviera Co SA Switzerland, inward bound for Portbury.

26/8 at 10.55 cargo vessel Eems Sun, 2,600 tons d.w., owners Eems Sun BV Netherlands, inward bound for Newport.

27/8 at 07.00 cruise vessel Island Sky, 4,200 tons gross, owners Island Sky Shipping Inc USA, inward bound for Lundy. At 10.00 cruise vessel Hebridean Sky, 4,200 tons gross, owners Island Sky Shipping Inc USA, arrived Lundy from Holyhead and then sailed for Tresco, Isles of Scilly. At 13.20 vehicle carrier Grande Halifax, 18,353 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. At 13.38 hrs cargo vessel Arklow Valley, 5,160 tons d.w., owners Avoca Shipping BV Netherlands, outward bound from Swansea having sailed at 10.44. At 14.23 self-discharging bulk carrier Yeoman Bank, 38,997 tons d.w., owners Aggregate Industries UK Ltd UK, inward bound for Portbury.

28/8 at 11.25 dredger City of Cardiff, 2,730 tons d.w., owners Ltm Western Ltd Solihull, inward bound for Culver dredging grounds. At 12.38 vehicle carrier Morning Clair, 16,491 tons d.w., owners Glover Navigation SA Japan, inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again at 16.44 29th outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 12.23).

29/8 at 06.43 vehicle carrier Grande Detroit, 12,420 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Lines of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

30/8 at 05.46 cargo vessel Zijlborg, 7,901 tons d.w., owners Zijlborg BV Netherlands, inward bound for Swansea. At 06.53 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carrier Norway, inward bound for Portbury. At 09.25 cargo vessel Danica Hav, 2,310 tons d.w., owners Hav Bulk AS Norway, inward bound for Newport.

31/8 at 19.19 vehicle carrier Neptune Dynamis, 6,850 tons d.w., owners Dynamis Shipping Co Ltd Greece, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 14.41 16th and had been anchored in Blue Anchor Bay awaiting orders since.



Below, a picture from my archive –


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“Families for Chidren” – information sessions.

Are you considering adoption but not sure where to start? Families for Children is holding an information session to give you the opportunity to find out more.

Whether you are in a relationship, single, mixed race, LGBT+ we would love to speak to you! So come along and talk to our friendly team at this information session to find out more. All information sessions are currently held via Zoom.

To book please contact Families for Children on 01364 645480 or email devon@familiesforchildren.org.uk or alternatively you can book online at www.familiesforchildren.org.uk

The next meetings are scheduled for:

Wednesday 8th December 6pm-8pm.


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Nature Recovery Declaration.

North Devon UNESCO Biosphere launches Nature Recovery Declaration and Plan.

The Biosphere has launched an ambitious new Nature Recovery Plan as our contribution to tackling the ecological emergency here in northern Devon, aligning with the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and the Prime Minister’s pledge for 30% of the UK land to be protected by 2030.

Join individuals, organisations, councils and businesses across the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere in signing our Nature Recovery Declaration and commit to tackling the ecological emergency through your local actions. Find out more and sign the Declaration here: https://www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/nature-recovery-plan.html

To promote the launch, we expect to welcome a special visitor to the area. Sacha Dench, Ambassador for the UN’s Convention on Migratory Species, is flying a 3000+ mile circumnavigation of the UK in a wind and green electricity powered paramotor. On her journey, she is stopping in northern Devon to officially launch the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve’s Nature Recovery Declaration and Plan. We are expecting her to pass through the area later this month, where she will sign the Declaration herself and speak to the Biosphere team about the importance of nature’s recovery.

Why do we need to act?

Despite great efforts from many organisations, land managers and individuals across northern Devon since the whole area achieved UNESCO status more than 20 years ago, with a few encouraging exceptions nature continues to decline – a trend that began centuries ago but has accelerated since the 1960s. Today our wildlife is a shadow of its former glory and our natural systems are ceasing to function. Iconic species like salmon, breeding lapwings, skylarks, cuckoos, house martins, many insects and wildflower species are in perilous decline – and our rivers are failing national standards. An ambitious approach to focus everyone’s actions onto agreed priorities is needed – and that is what this plan aims to achieve.

The plan’s Vision is that by 2030, nature is recovering across northern Devon. There is more wildlife-rich habitat for us all to enjoy – covering 30% of the land area – in our fields and woods, on the coast, along our rivers and on the moors. Wildlife has the space it needs to flourish. Thriving farming and forestry are helping nature to recover right across the landscape. Communities, councils and businesses are putting nature

back into our towns and villages. Ambitious projects have helped bring back icons like beaver, pine marten, chough, white-tailed eagle and osprey. Our quality of life, the economy and our response to climate change are stronger for it. More is required, but we are proud to be playing our part in tackling the global ecological emergency.

Why should I sign the Declaration?

If we are to turn the tide for nature’s recovery, everyone in northern Devon needs to engage through their choices and actions – all of us as consumers and by helping nature to recover where we live and work, and especially farmers and land managers who can do most to help nature recover across the landscape. We can all make a difference. It’s time for urgent and transformative local action.”

Mike Moser, Chair of the Biosphere Nature Improvement Group

We hope that many individuals, organisations and businesses across the Biosphere will sign this Declaration committing to helping nature’s recovery and adding to the growing support for tackling the ecological emergency.

To sign the Declaration and read the draft Biosphere Nature Recovery Plan please head to the North Devon Biosphere website. We welcome your feedback on the plan (by 15 August 2021) which can be sent to biosphere-mailbox@devon.gov.uk. Finally, please help us to spread the word and encourage people to sign up to the Declaration! @northdevonbiosphere.


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Carbon, Environment, and Biodiversity plan adopted by TDC.

Torridge Councillors have taken another significant step forward to realising their ambition for the authority to achieve net zero carbon by 2030 by approving and publishing the Council’s inaugural Carbon, Environment and Biodiversity Plan.

The plans drafting was delayed by the Covid pandemic but builds on the “Climate Emergency” Torridge Councillors declared in July 2019. The declaration was a recognition of the impact that climate change is having on our environment, population and communities and TDC’s commitment and resolve to assisting in the response to that threat.

Ahead of the plan’s publication  Torridge had already implemented significant investment in carbon reducing technology such as solar panels, heat recovery plant and electric charging point at appropriate Council owned buildings. A first electric fleet vehicle has been purchased, and the Council’s construction schemes at Caddsdown and Tamar have won multiple sustainability awards. There have also been wider infrastructure projects such as the rolling out of solar powered parking machines and electric charging points in car parks. In addition to all of this, sustainability and biodiversity implications, are now a standard consideration in all new Council project proposals and committee reports.

As well as contributing towards the Council’s carbon reduction goals the projected savings from the measures already implemented are over £300,000, through reduced energy consumption and improving energy performance ratings. The new plan outlines the opportunities for further reductions, how these will be measured, and how our rich biodiversity and natural environment, if managed sustainably, also opens up economic possibilities for the region.

There are also sections on aligning Torridge’s plan with those announced by Devon County Council, other neighboring Councils, and joint working with environmental groups such as the North Devon Biosphere Reserve. The report also breaks down priorities and plans across several key headings: Energy, Transport, Planning, Biodiversity, Waste and Recycling, Council and Community initiatives highlighting the diversity of the task ahead. To facilitate greater joint working and the Councils commitment to net zero carbon a Climate and Sustainability Officer has been appointed jointly with North Devon Council, from 1st of June this year, to expand on these opportunities across the rest of Northern Devon.

Torridge District Councillor Peter Hames and Lead Member for Climate Change said: “Torridge was one of the early Councils to declare a climate emergency and the progress we have made, despite the pandemic, is delivering both carbon reductions and monetary savings Our ambition is for a sustainable reduction in carbon output to safeguard the future of our planet as well as developing the green economy and opportunities in the area. I’m excited to be working with our partners and newly appointed joint officer and look forward to delivering and reporting on our progress towards these goals.”


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Devon Carers – caring for carers.

If you look after someone, who looks after you?

Since COVID-19, the number of unpaid carers in Devon has increased by almost 50% to approximately 130,000 (source: Devon County Council). It has never been more important to identify and support carers than now. Devon Carers are passionate about helping those who support others.

A carer is someone who provides unpaid support to family, friends or neighbours who could not manage without their help on a regular basis. Anyone can become a carer at any time. It may happen gradually as a person’s health deteriorates or instantly, as a result of an accident or unexpected health condition. Quite often a person does not recognise themselves as a carer, even though they have a caring responsibility. No matter who a person is caring for and whether they have the same condition as somebody else, their situation is unique to them.

Devon Carers is an organisation who support unpaid carers to maintain their own health, wellbeing and independence to care safely, confidently and effectively. The service has been commissioned jointly by Devon County Council and NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group. They provide a range of services to over 20,000 carers across Devon, excluding Plymouth and Torbay. These include:-

Website – an excellent information resource https://devoncarers.org.uk/ 

Quarterly magazine – with the latest news, carer stories and training courses. 

Helpline and webchat – available Mon-Fri 8am-6pm: Sat 9am-1pm. Call 03456 434 435. 

Alert Card – to alert others if they become unexpectedly ill or taken to hospital that they are unable to care for their loved ones and to summon help for them. 

Training – opportunities to learn skills to assist with their caring role.

Peer Support – connecting carers to mutually support each other.

Emergency Plan – a record containing important and useful information to help others if a carer is unexpectedly unable to carry out their caring role.

Hospital services – additional support following a stay in hospital.

Carer assessments – a personalised assessment of how caring affects your health and wellbeing and how we can support you with one-to-one assistance if required. They treat each carer as an individual, taking time to find out what’s important to them, and work out together how they can support them in their caring role. The challenges carers face in different parts of the county can vary greatly, so having local teams enables them to provide specific advice and support. The teams also liaise closely with health and social care services and have strong links with voluntary and community organisations. 

If you think you are an unpaid carer, or know someone who is, please get in touch with Devon Carers to find out more: https://devoncarers.org.uk/ or 03456 434 435.


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The “Freshspring” project.

Steamship ‘Freshspring’ celebrates four years in Bideford.

During the Second World War, a fleet of freshwater-carrying steam ships was commissioned by the Royal Navy to deliver water to warships. These became the ‘Fresh’ class of ships and the last one to be built by Lytham Shipbuilders, in 1946, was named ‘Freshspring’. She served most of her time in Malta before being retired to the Clyde in the late 1970s, where she was decommissioned and mothballed.

While all of her sister ships were scrapped, ‘Freshspring’ was sold into civilian life and was towed to a new life in Bristol’s Floating Harbour. However, all did not go well and in the late 1980s she eventually ended up moored on the banks of the River Severn at Newnham where her machinery was kept in good order by her then owner, though externally she was deteriorating.

In 2012, a charitable trust was set up with the aim of saving ‘Freshspring’, and she was acquired by the Trust in 2013. Major funds for hull repairs were gained in 2016 and on 16th Oct 2016, SS ‘Freshspring’, towed by the tug ‘Severn Sea’, made her way down the Bristol Channel and up the Torridge to a new home in Bideford. It was an amazing journey, managed by a team classed as lunatics by experts for even attempting this remarkable project.

During her early days in Bideford, SS ‘Freshspring’ could not be opened to the public, as she needed further work. Volunteers stepped forward and achieved miracles with the ship, but some things needed funds. The wheelhouse and boat deck were rotten but the team persisted.

Four years later with Heritage Lottery Funding, local financial support and in the safe hands of the people of Bideford, SS ‘Freshspring’ is a very different ship.

Welcoming over 3,500 visitors during 2018/2019, The Trust’s 54 registered volunteers have been working hard to make sure that the visitor experience is truly memorable.

From 2017- 2019, the Steamship Freshspring Trust contributed over £18,000 to the local economy.

With its own brand of beer, sponsored and brewed in a local brewery, and a range of branded clothing, also supplied locally, the Trust is proud to cultivate maritime pride back into Bideford and be part of the community.

SS Freshspring is more than a steamship. She’s a place for volunteers to meet, learn new skills and have a sense of purpose. She’s a classroom for local schools where education involves hands-on activities and learning, she’s a venue for art classes, she helps young people to understand careers in maritime and has potential for so much more.

In recent months, Covid-19 has forced the Trust to review its ways of working. Confined spaces have made it impossible to safely open the ship to the public. However, a virtual reality tour, currently being created in partnership with BMT Global, will provide a valuable education resource and let the public tour the ship without leaving the comfort of the fore deck. This is a really exciting piece of work using cutting edge technologies. With the newly crowdfunded awning in place, tours won’t even be hampered by inclement weather!

The next challenge is to secure funding for two essential studies. Tenders are in for Feasibility and Viability studies and are ready to go. Once funds for this work are obtained, the Trust will learn exactly what needs to be done for SS ‘Freshspring’ to operate and become economically sustainable. These studies are pivotal pieces of work.

There are so many ways that you could help Freshspring, either from home or by helping on board. You are promised a warm welcome and a range of activities to choose from. Visit https://www.ssfreshspring.co.uk/get-involved/volunteering to find out more.


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Volunteers sought for “Home from Hospital”.



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Bereavement support during Covid-19.

(Scroll down below poster for links).


Tel. 01271-322362.

Website – www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk

North Devon Hospice.

Tel. 01271-347225.

Email – scteam@northdevonhospice.org.uk

Website – www.northdevonhospice.og.uk

Cruse Bereavement Care.

Tel. 0300 330 5466.

Email – devon@cruse.org.uk

Website – www.cruse.org.uk

Families in Grief.

Tel. 01237-479027.

Email – info@familiesingrief.org.uk

Website – www.familiesingrief.org.uk

Marie Curie.

Tel. 0800 3047 412.

Email – southwesthelper@mariecurie.org.uk

Website – www.mariecurie.org.uk


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Help with anxiety & depression – ‘TALKWORKS’.

Don’t suffer in silence’ – help at hand for people in North?Devon feeling anxious about leaving lockdown.

For many people across the country, the past few months have been an incredibly difficult time with the COVID-19 pandemic creating a range of pressures and concerns. You might be experiencing job losses and financial worries, be missing loved ones or feeling very isolated. As lockdown eases, many people are also experiencing anxiety about entering the ‘new normal’, and being around more people again.

Many of us have mixed feelings and remain concerned about the impact of the virus on our lives. Perhaps the virus is not your primary concern, maybe you are worried about going back to pre-COVID social situations, such as visiting a restaurant or a pub.

All of these situations are examples of what can lead to an increase in common mental health problems such as anxiety, low mood or depression which can greatly impact on your day-to day-life and leave you feeling exhausted or worried.

We would urge people to seek help from TALKWORKS if they need support.

Part of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, TALKWORKS is a free, confidential NHS talking therapy service dedicated to helping people improve their mental wellbeing. They are here to help individuals who may be struggling to cope, feeling low, anxious, stressed or just not quite themselves.

Chris Silman, TALKWORKS Clinical Team Manager for North Devon, says: “There is a real emphasis on taking care of our physical health at this time, but it can mean that people are struggling more with low mood, stress or anxiety. At TALKWORKS, we have adapted our services, meaning we are now offering talking therapies and practical help with your mental wellbeing through online platforms and over the phone.”

Sue Pike, TALKWORKS Service Manager, adds: “Last year we saw almost 19,000 people across Devon. This year we expect to treat even more people. However in common with other NHS services, we have seen fewer people coming forward to get help and treatment since lockdown and social distancing was introduced.

It’s important that those who are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing know that the NHS is still open as usual and that TALKWORKS in North Devon can help you or anybody you know that is struggling. We are able to offer an initial appointment very quickly.”

We all did our bit to protect the NHS by staying at home, but now is the time to look after ourselves, too.

Call TALKWORKS today on 0300 555 3344 or self-refer online at www.talkworks.dpt.nhs.uk.

Take the first step to improving your life and feeling like ‘yourself’ again.


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Help with relationship counselling.

New Local Relationship Counselling Service.

A new Relationship Counselling service opened in Barnstaple earlier this year to help local couples and individuals struggling with their relationships to access support in their local area.

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the service had to be suspended for face to face appointments, but with lockdown restrictions now eased clients can once again have appointments in person.

Following the closure of Relate’s Barnstaple centre in December last year, local people needing help had to travel to Exeter or Taunton to access specialist relationship support. In response to conversations with clients and some local GPs worried about this, Jean Bowerman, a former Barnstaple Relate counsellor until its closure, set up North Devon Relationship Counselling Service in February this year to provide North Devon people with local help. Jean works from The Tarka Clinic in Barnstaple, with strict safety precautions in place, and also offers appointments by telephone or video call, which many clients find really convenient.

Jean said “When people are anxious or stressed by difficulties in their relationships they can feel in real crisis. Being able to talk through their difficulties with an experienced professional can be invaluable. They need to be able to access help easily and quickly and, particularly if they rely on public transport or need evening appointments, do not want to have to travel long distances. The Covid-19 outbreak has brought with it extra pressures such as worries about finances and concerns about future job security. It is really important that local counselling is available for them, particularly if their relationships were already in difficulty before lockdown.”

Appointments can be made, sometimes at fairly short notice, by calling 07887562072 or Tarka Clinic on 01271 373346. For further information see www.northdevonrcs.co.uk where you can also send an email enquiry.


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Beaford Archive reopens to record Coronavirus.


North Devonians invited to photograph life during lockdown.

April 2020, North Devon.

For the first time in over 30 years, the Beaford Archive – home to the North Devon photographs of James Ravilious and Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins – is being reopened.

James had unrivalled access to North Devon lives, but not even he could have recorded life during lockdown,” said Mark Wallace, Beaford’s Director. “The only way we’ll do that is together – so, for the first time ever, we’re asking everyone in North Devon to add their photos to the Beaford Archive.”

The Beaford Archive contains over 100,000 images of northern Devon from 1850-1990. Over 10,000 of these are now available online at beafordarchive.org, thanks to the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Royal Photographic Society has called it “unparalleled in both quantity and quality”. It has never before been opened for general submission, but the trustees of Beaford see it as vital that the Archive records these times for future generations. As a result, this new chapter in the Archive’s history will be written by the people of North Devon.

More details on how to submit photographs and information on James Ravilious’s approach to photo selection can be found at http://beaford.org. Curated galleries featuring submitted photos will be displayed throughout the lockdown period.


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Abbotsham – an historical note.

If you have been watching the last series of ‘Poldark’ you will know that the final episodes dealt with the threat of invasion in the West Country by the French. This threat was temporarily resolved by the Peace of Amiens in March 1802, but by May of 1803 the war was back on and the threat of invasion with it.

This threat was perceived very seriously in the area around Bideford, as can be seen from two documents in the North Devon Record office that relate to the parish of Abbotsham. These are what in today’s parlance might be called a ‘contingency plan’.

The first document, dated 4th December 1803, is The minutes of the resolutions entered into at a meeting of the inhabitants of Abbotsham’. There were six numbered resolutions setting out where parishioners were to meet and place themselves under the direction of named persons, where they should take their stock, that various carts were appointed for the removal of sick and infirm people and that the overseers of the poor would supply 6 bushels of meal at parish expense to Mrs Stone to make 4 loaves of bread for each of the poor. The Overseers of the Poor were also to supply materials to enable the livestock to be marked and they even specified how and where such markings we to be placed.

The document then sets out who would conduct and drive the stock along one of two specified routes – one to Dartmoor and the other to Somerton, distances of about 40 miles and 80 miles. They weren’t taking any chances!

The second document details the owners of the stock that was to be moved plus the names of the old and decrepit persons and whose cart they should travel on. There followed details of the routes to be used, with some alterations written in pencil, showing slight differences to those of the first document, which must be the later version.

This shows some forward thinking by the leaders of the parish, although one can’t help wondering how much notice of invasion they would need to put this plan into action.

David Snow.


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Heroine of India honoured with statue in Torrington.

A bronze statue of Sister Nivedita (1867-1911) was unveiled by Great Torrington Town and Torridge District Councillors in Great Torrington Cemetery on Saturday 27th August . Sister Nivedita, who was born Margaret Elizabeth Noble, spent much of her life in India where she is revered as an educationalist and campaigner for India’s freedom movement. Her involvement with India came about after a meeting with Swami Vivekananda in London in 1895 after which she travelled to Calcutta. She was given the name Nivedita meaning “dedicated to god” and opened a girls school in 1898. Her intention was to educate girls who were at the time deprived of even the most basic education. She is also noted for nursing the poor during the plague epidemic in Calcutta in 1899 as well as having a close association with the Ramakrishna Mission until later when she made an active contribution in the field of Indian Nationalism.

She died in Darjeeling in 1911 and following her cremation her ashes were returned to Great Torrington where they were interred in the family grave. The statue and plinth were commissioned and paid for by the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms Mamata Banerjee to commemorate the 150th anniversary of her birth on July 4th and also in commemoration of her life which she dedicated to India. Torridge District Council provided the plot on which the bronze statue has been sited as a permanent memorial. It is the first statue of Sister Nivedita to be erected outside of India and was unveiled jointly by Deputy Mayor of Torrington Doug Smith and Torridge and Great Torrington Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin who is also lead member for Community, Culture and Leisure at Torridge District Council.

TDC Lead member for Community, Culture and Leisure – Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin said – “I must admit that I was largely unaware of Sister Nivedita’s family connection to the Great Torrington area or of the fascinating and selfless work she devoted herself to in India. Clearly she was a remarkable woman at a time when people (and women in particular) were not given the opportunities that they have today. This makes her achievements even more significant, and I hope that the statue will act as an inspiration to those who see it and bring about a greater recognition of her life which was dedicated to helping those who were less fortunate.”

Mayor of Great Torrington – Councillor Keeley Allin said: “The information in relation to Sister Nivedita’s incredible achievements in India and her connection to Great Torrington have been a revelation to many over these past few months. It is clear that amongst other things, this lady’s life had a major impact in empowering young women in India through the provision of education and learning. It is a privilege to host the statue of remembrance and recognition in our town’s cemetery and hope that many people, young and old, will visit and be inspired by the life and achievements of Sister Nivedita.”

Swami Sarvasthananda said: “We are delighted to be part of unveiling ceremony of Sister Nivedita, also known as Margaret Noble, who gave her all to India at the behest of her spiritual master Swami Vivekananda. She was inspired by his message of Service of God in man and contributed a lot in several fields for the uplift of the Indian masses including that of women’s education. It is a great privilege for the monks and devotees of the Ramakrishna Mission to honour her contribution by installing a bronze statue in Torrington kindly made possible by the help received from the government of West Bengal, India. Our sincere thanks to Torridge District Council for their unconditional help and support.”


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