Ernie Dowding : A Shammy man and a Bideford personality.

When Ernie Dowding’s body was carried out of St Mary’s Parish Church, Bideford, on 22 April to the great Elvis Presley ballad, Shep, there was hardly a dry eye in the place. ‘ERNIE’ made from copper piping, as befitted his trade as a plumber, and a wreath of red roses accompanied his coffin.

Anyone who lives, works or drinks in Bideford will have seen Ernie around town. Short and strong with a great mop of blond-white hair and long moustache, he could be seen disembarking from the Oldenberg, or walking his dog Sheba across the old bridge towards the Tarka trail, or enjoying a drink in the King’s Arms, the Blacksmith’s Arms or the White Hart. As one mourner said, ‘Bideford must be closed down today,’ so many people attended his funeral. The King’s Arms shut its doors for the funeral and hosted a drink for his friends afterwards.

Ernie spent much of his working life in recent years on Lundy where he maintained the Landmark Trust holiday properties. His knowledge of North Devon, but particularly Bideford, was second to none – not just its history, its architecture and its pubs but its artistic inheritance, literature and cultural and social life. He had been a Bideford Grammar School boy, and went on to work with the Leach pottery and with Harry Juniper. He was a talented artist and drew the illustrations on the ceramic ware. He also had fine handwriting.

Born in Hart Street, his family moved to East the Water and Ernie, as a great lover of sport, helped found the Shamwickshire football team and devoted a great deal of time to encouraging and organising Shammy activities over the years.

The great love of his life was Sheba, his black and white dog; the two were inseparable and Sheba was always fussed over in the various watering holes which man and dog frequented. He grew copious vegetables and flowers on his allotment; he was modest (as he was about his talents and his intellect), but he had a natural understanding and love of the earth and nature. I got to know Ernie on his allotment, and picked his brains for advice. He was very patient and, if he was sceptical about my efforts, certainly hid it, as he tried to give me a few elementary tips on horticulture. He loved animals, and was a good illustrator of bird life (Ernie also kept pigeons) and at his funeral a sizeable collection was taken for the RSPB. He died on 8 April aged 70. Bideford has lost one of its most interesting personalities.

Ruth Winstone.


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Felicity’s fish cookery – June.

As May weather warms to hot June evenings an abundance of shellfish will start to be landed in our small fishing villages such as Appledore or Clovelly.

There are so many ways to make a small crab into a delicious summer lunch or supper.

Brown Crabs are available now.

Many people are duped by the misnamed Crab sticks that are really dyed reconstituted fish –rather like very cheap teabags! They are made of all the white fish that cannot be used and always made on the other side of the world! Why bother, when you can use local cooked crabs and their white and brown meat for recipes.

A simple but tasty Crab Cake Recipe

Serves 4


150g potatoes peeled. 250g crab meat.  3 spring onions, sliced.   ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper.   1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard.   ½ red pepper de-seeded and finely chopped. Grated zest and juice of ½ lime.  1 tablespoon chopped coriander.  Oil.  Salt & pepper


Boil the potatoes, drain and leave to cool.

Place remaining ingredients except oil in a bowl.

Grate potatoes when cool into bowl, mix well and shape into 8 crab cakes.

Place cakes on plate or tray and chill for 20 minutes.

Cook cake in oiled non-stick frying pan for 3-4 minutes.

Serve immediately.


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Bideford’s first Heritage Restaurant.

When local restaurateur John Emms was thinking about a makeover for his Lathwells restaurant he was also thinking about ways to encourage his customers to spend more time in the town. During a late evening conversation with John (probably well into the second bottle!) we came up with a novel solution – why not base the refurbishment on Bideford’s heritage and give the customers an insight into the town’s fascinating past. This led to the restaurant being completely refurbished and rebranded.

The Restaurant and Bar is now Mariners, a name that links it back to a time when it was a Master Mariners house, with reclaimed timber banquettes made from Old Cotton Mill Oak (oak from an old cotton mill in Louisiana), oak topped tables, storm lanterns, walls decorated with heritage “snippets” and a genuine rope timeline.

The rope for the timeline and the fittings come from a ship’s chandler, linking back to Bideford’s rich maritime past. The snippets are short quotes from the “Bideford Heritage Trail Guide”, a booklet that I wrote for Bideford 500, and are arranged chronologically around the room. Customers are encouraged to “read around the room“ and it’s worth it.

It’s surprising how many local people have “read” the room and at some point said “I didn’t know that!”.

The Mariners’ timeline has had a direct effect on this year’s B500 Heritage Day, 28 June. A number of restaurants have joined together to have their own timeline for the day, “Food Through the Ages”. ‘It will include a Medieval Banquet, Georgian lunches, World War Tea Parties and, at Mariners, a 1953 Coronation Celebration.

David Howell.

Visit for more information.


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Buzz Word – June.

Send us your Buzzes…. Write to or to the address on front page.

U tube and Pathe News.

I don’t know about you but I very rarely use UTube. Until now. (It must be an age thing? ) The younger generation(s) use this all the time. However if you are connected to the internet why not have a go.  Type in Pathe News North Devon or Bideford Heritage and you’ll be amazed by the number of film/video/ footage on Bideford and surrounding areas.  Pathe News has recently transferred its Archive onto UTube.  Under this heading within the Bideford area you have film of a Torpedo Boat forced by a storm onto the Pebble Beach, Westward Ho! in 1921 with the silent film caption ‘High and Dry’.  Further afield and there are a number of films of Clovelly look out for the 1937 film showing the donkeys – they certainly carried heavy loads.  But I am only touching the surface here.

For train enthusiasts there is a wealth of films showing Bideford and Barnstaple, Torrington, Meeth – the lines before Beeching .  Sad in so many ways but great films nevertheless.

Make sure you have a look at the footage of the Bideford Races (Abbotsham) 1923 (featured in last month’s Buzz) and we see the first women jockey.  There is a wonderful film re-creating the route of the railway from Bideford to Westward Ho! before the Great War.

‘Flood Damages Bridge’. 1968 when the arches of the old Bideford Bridge were damaged by flood water is captured by news footage at the time.  Again a real treasure… must have taken a long time from Bideford to East the Water and vice versa.

If you enter Bideford Heritage you will come across recent events.   All local events, magical moments, of the last few years.  Two Wonders are sightings of the otter in the River Torridge February 2014 and the flight of hundreds of starlings over Bideford Bridge.

But there is so much more.  I am only touching the surface.  You may have seen some that you would like to share with Buzz readers.  Utube has a great wealth of film/video on our area.

Neil Bennion.

More about the racecourse.

Stan Andrews from the Westward Ho! History Society has very kindly hunted out some more information on the Abbotsham race course. Much of the information is to be found in Rosemary Lauder’s excellent book,’ Vanished landmarks of North Devon’ published by North Devon Books. If out of print there are certainly copies which can be borrowed from Devon libraries. The book quotes an article from Bideford Gazette (27th September 1922) ‘It is admirably situated with a magnificent view of the Bay from Croyde to Hartland Point….. the actual course runs along the valley of Abbotsham Court and Cornborough.’

(Below is Stan Andrews’ photo of how the race course looks now).

And two photos of how it looked ‘then’ -

Mary Cliff.

Further to various contributions over the last few years I was most interested to see a letter in the June issue by Mary Cliff which mentions both me and my cousin John Skinner.  Unfortunately ladies have a confusing habit of changing their surname on marriage and I am most curious who Mary Cliff was in our East-the-Water days!  I wonder if you would ask her to let me know her previous name; my cousin, who does not use a computer, will be extremely interested in this name from the past. He moved from Bideford in the 1940s and is still interested in the old days.

We would both, I am sure, be most grateful for a successful outcome.

Tony Sanders (Email address:

Bideford Folk Club.

On Thursday 5th June Bideford Folk Club are fortunate to be playing host to Pete Coe, one of the most enduring, talented and popular figures on the English Folk circuit.

Multi -talented and multi- instrumental, Pete is not only a fine interpreter of traditional songs and ballads, but is also a first rate songwriter. He has been at the forefront of the English Folk scene for over 40 years, and has been rightly described as “A One Man Folk Industry”

The concert starts at 8pm.He is also an accomplished dance caller, and on the following evening, Friday 6th June, he will be calling at a Ceilidh (Barn Dance) with local favourites Bloatertown Band, at Tawstock Village Hall. The dance starts at 8pm and there will be an optional Bring and Share supper.

John Blackburn.

Bideford Lions.

Lions Club of Bideford meet at the Royal Hotel, Bideford, at 7.30p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.

Visiting Lions very welcome.

Mike Green.

Tarka Valley Railway Group.

The Chairman of the Tarka Valley Railway Group, Phil Simkin has recently and reluctantly decided to sell the Puffing Billy at Torrington Station for personal and family reasons.  Phil and his family have owned the pub for some years now and it was from Phil’s initial vision and enthusiasm that the Tarka Valley Railway Group was born. The Group is pleased to advise that the new owner of the Puffing Billy is to be the Great Torrington Town Lands and Poors Charity as Phil had hoped.  This is a local charity which has been very supportive of the Group over the past few years.

News from Northam Lodge.

On Sunday 22nd June, Northam Lodge, in partnership with Skern Lodge, will be running powerboat rides on the Bideford Estuary leaving from Appledore Quay. These ½ hour exhilarating rides can be booked in advance by calling Fiona at Northam Lodge on 01237 477238 or emailing Boat bookings are available from 12pm, with the last boat going out at 5.30pm.The cost will be £15 per adult, £10 for children aged 7-16, or why not reserve a whole boat for you and your friends. Life jackets will be provided, but be prepared to get wet! Our summer fete will be held on Saturday 26th July from 2pm to 5pm in the grounds at Rose Hill, Heywood Road, Bideford.A variety of stalls will be available for you to peruse including a sweet cart, beauty products, and arts & crafts a plenty from driftwood to bunting to cushions. There is also the opportunity to paint your own pottery, make your own button art, and have shellac nails done.Our usual cake stall and will take pride of place alongside Seasonal Samosas. Our raffle and tombola will be groaning will great gifts to win and we also cater for your little ones with a bouncy castle, hook a duck and face painting. Entertainment will be provided by the Bideford Phoenix Morris Dancers, Dance Fit Belly Dancing and Energia Samba Band.

Come along for a fun afternoon and support your local charity.


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Youth page – June.

If only birthday cards counted as ID….

Films nowadays are more or less a rite of passage. Even before you’re three you can technically march into the cinema and demand to see Free Willy; but as there aren’t that many stray toddlers roaming round the multiplexes anymore, chances are you’d be going with an adult. This means you’re immediately entitled to move onto a PG!

The next age rating upgrade takes a little longer, working with this example you have to wait about nine more years before you can legally watch a 12; suddenly bringing a parent along isn’t enough authentication if you want to see 3-dimensional gore on the big screen – but then a lot of ten year olds successfully pull off that prepubescent charm and beat the system.

However, for fifteens (especially popular ones) identification is often required. Having not yet passed other coming of age mile-stones, and as a result, having no driving licence, student visa or passably aged face to merrily parade, the average budding movie-goer must turn their eye to other avenues of proof. The birth-certificate is one option, but is not something you’re likely to have about your person when a spontaneous cinema trip is announced. The passport is another- but is this an unnecessary risk? After all, the thing’s a pretty important piece of paperwork and no one wants it getting lost, or worse, left to be masticated in the washing machine with other forgotten contents of your pocket when you come home. Very few mourn the aged sweet wrapper, but posing all over again for the passport photo ( in which looking like anything other than an extra for The Walking Dead is a personal victory) does not a fun Saturday make.

In which case, if local cinemas are going to ask for ID to see certain films, wouldn’t it make more sense to ask for it once, and then provide some type of stamped loyalty card that vouched for the person’s age? For many, it’s really only an issue until they become 16, afterwards their age is under little debate- but at least on that awkward cusp between the two, it would make things an awful lot easier; only having worry about your important papers on one trip. While this would not solve the issue of photo-ID it must be remembered that the birth certificate does not have that facility either. This way, 15 year olds may be able to see a 15 rated film on their birthday, without hoping the large Birthday badge on their stomach will do the trick!

Millie Sutherland O’Gara.


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Shipping news No. 112 (Apr. – May 2014).

In port – Yelland.

Burgtor - (ex- Lady Linda ’04, Mellum ’94, Port Lima ’93) built 1989 ; flag St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda ; owners German ; from Glensanda, to sea for orders ; crew Polish ; arrived 12/05, sailed 14/05 ; cargo 3,500 tons chippings.

In port – Bideford.

Ems Majestic - (ex- Holland ’08, Daniel ’06) built 1996 : flag St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda ; owners German ; from Warrenpoint to Castellon ; crew Russian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Ukrainian ; arrived 12/05, sailed 15/05 ; loaded 2,770 tons clay.

Welsh Piper 19.4, 30.4.

Oldenburg returned to service from Bideford and Ilfracombe.

In port – Appledore.

Abis Bilbao – built 2010 ; flag Harlingen, Netherlands ; owners Dutch ; from Cork to Rosyth ; crew Dutch & Philipino ; arrived 13-05, sailed 16/05 ; cargo, aircraft carrier components.

Arco Dart at Appledore 15.4, 18.4, 19.4, 27.4, 28.4.

The Irish patrol vessel LE Samuel Beckett , built at Appledore, returned to shipyard on Good Friday at 0815 after completing second series of trials off Lundy. She finally left the river on the 28.4 at 1815, spent a further 14 hrs in the bay for final adjustments, then headed for her home base Cork in Eire. (Next vessel is the Le James Joyce later in the year).

According to the Journal website the cruise ship Prisendam is due off Ilfracombe 26th July for a visit; has been here before. (Subject to weather conditions).

A report in the Gazette that the Kathleen & May is to make a visit to Bideford in August ; I’ll give further details when known.

Bristol Channel Observations

18/4 cargo vessel Arklow Rally, 4,400 tons d.w., owners Arklow Shipping Netherlands, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 08.09.

19/4 at 12.35 vehicle carrier Grande Spagne, 12,594 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 07.34. At 14.47 container ship Endeavour, 9,612 tons d.w., owners J.r. Shipping Netherland, inward bound for Avonmouth . At 16.35 bulk carrier Conti Spinell, 75,200 tons d.w, owners Conti 54 Container Nr 7 Germany, outward bound from Port Talbot, having sailed at 13.12; at 18.57 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carriers Norway, outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 14.28.

23/4 at 18.45 container ship Andrea, 11,285 tons d.w., owners Bergen Box Carriers A/S Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

26/4 at 07.40 cargo vessel A.B. Bilboa, 4,212 tons d.w., owners W Bockstiegel Reederei GMBH & Co KG Germany, outward bound from Avonmouth, having sailed at 19.56 . (However, she appeared to be heading eastbound – unknown reason for turning round. At 09.08 passing over Bideford Bay heading westbound). At 10.30 cargo vessel Zita, 4,490 tons d.w., owners Henrick Abrams Germany, outward bound from Cardiff having sailed at 06.48.

27/4 at 11.18 cruise ship Boudicca, 28,388 gross tons, owners Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Ltd U.K., inward bound for Avonmouth. At 17.15 bulk carrier Aasheim, 5,826 tons d.w., owners Hans Martin Torkelsen Norway, inward bound for Avonmouth.

1/5 at 18.16 cargo vessel Arklow Venture, 49,66 tons d.w., owners Arklow Shipping Netherlands, outward bound from Sharpness, having sailed at 10.37.

3/5 at 07.58 product tanker CPO Singapore, 31,737 tons d.w., owners Offen Tankers Germany, inward bound for Portbury.

4./4 at 11.30 small cruise ship Ocean Nova, 2,183 gross tons owners Nova Cruising Ltd Maimi USA, sailing away from Lundy heading toward Milford Haven, having arrived about 09.00 . At 1459 hrs container vessel Endeavour, 9,612 tons d.w., owners J.R. Shipping Netherland, inward bound for Avonmouth (and a day late on her schedule).

6/5/14 at 07.50 bulk carrier Patricia V, 75,345 tons d.w., owners Rostrum Marine SA Greece, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 02.05.

11/5 at 09.00 cargo vessel Celtic Challenger, 3,100 tons d.w., owners Charles W Willie & Co Cardiff, inward bound for Cardiff.

12/5 at 06.30 cargo vessel Anatolia, 30,130 tons d.w., owners Anatolya Shipping Ltd Istanbul Turkey, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 0812 buoy tender vessel Galatea, 1,200 tons d.w owners Trinity House Harwich, inward bound for Swansea . At 15.16 cargo vessel Jia Xing, 22,109 tons d.w., owners Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping Co China & Poland, inward bound for Newport.

13/5 at 0816 container vessel Kurkse, 3,250 tons d.w., owners Coral Project SA Estonia, inward bound for Avonmouth.




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Holiday snaps !

As the holiday season approaches many will consider buying a new camera. However, with the advent of the all encompassing mobile telephone is one necessary? A similarly priced camera readily captures snow scenes, beach scenes, portraits, the family cat or dog and photographs friends only when they are smiling, all in brilliant colour. Little instruction is considered necessary. How different a hundred years ago.

A traveller wishing to take photographs of scenery must first decide on the size of glass plate he intends to employ, be they 4 ¾ x 3 ¼ or 8 ½ x 6 ½ inches, although one can more readily utilise 7 ½ x 5 inch. In those countries where porters are cheap the largest format is preferred. Glass plates weigh in the region of 3 pounds per dozen and one should take at least half a gross (seventy-six, approximately 20 pounds). One might use gelatine film but glass is much to be preferred and film is not recommended for hot and humid climates.

The camera itself should be of the bellows form constructed of the finest mahogany, particularly those made by Mr. Meagher of Southampton Row or Mr. Hare of Calthorpe Street. It should have a front capable of moving vertically and horizontally, with a swing back. For normal photographs one may dispense with a tripod, however they can be useful under certain circumstances and readily purchased for 25 shillings (£1.25p). An appropriate socket will be provided in the camera along with a spirit level to ensure correct vertical and horizontal alingement.

In the field it will be necessary to have plates previously loaded in double backed holders, i.e. two plates per holder. A black light-proof bag is a necessity in which plates may be transferred safely from their original light proof packaging into the slide holders.

For cameras using 7 ½ x 5 inch plates a 9 inch lens is recommended for most subjects, Messrs Dallmeyer, Ross or Zeiss lenses should be considered. All available from respectable dealers such as Messrs. Watson and Son of High Holborn, Mr. Morley of Upper Street or Hunter & Sands of Cranbourne Street. Gelatine sheets are made in various degrees of sensitivity but their cardboard boxes are insufficient protection against injury and damp. It is recommended to have each package of a dozen placed in fairly airtight light-proof wooden boxes; during construction screws are preferred to nails. After exposure Captain Abney recommends a cardboard frame be placed between each plate or film and placed in light wooden boxes prior to being packed in a tin box whereby the lid is soldered in place as protection against damp.

A reasonable expense would be a camera for 8 guineas (£8.40p), 12 double slides at a guinea each, three lens of varying focal length approximately 15 guineas (£15. 75p), tripod 25 shillings (£1.25p). Gelatine sheets at three shillings (75p) a dozen. Chemicals 15/- (75p). A notebook in which to record each exposure, thereby to ensure correct development times later, and a sturdy box or basket to contain the whole. Due to the flexible nature of a basket a basket is preferred. Total weight approximately 60 pounds.”

From Hints to Travellers Volume II (Eighth Edition) published by The Royal Geographical Society in 1901. Edited for the Council of the Royal Geographical Society by John Coles F.R.G.S., F.R.A.S. Late Instructor in Surveying and Practical Astronomy to the Royal Geographical Society.

Happy snapping everyone! Roger Sugar.


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Felicity’s Fish Cookery – May.

Sustainable Fish.

This month sees the beginning of the summertime fish and below is a tasty Gurnard dish.

Gurnards are plentiful, not often eaten and so are sustainable and low cost.

Gurnard is available all year but needs to be well filleted because of its small pin bones. It has a good flavour and is quite firm. Its pinky-red skin looks good with this sauce.

Serves 4


4 red gurnard, filleted.

3 celery sticks, thinly sliced.

2 apples chopped into small chunks.

4 spring onions, chopped.

25g/1oz butter.

275ml/10fl oz single cream.

1 tbsp French flat leaf parsley, chopped.

1 tbsp chopped walnuts for decoration.


Preheat oven to 230C, Gas mark 8.

Butter an ovenproof dish. Place in it gurnard fillets, sprinkle with celery, apple and spring onions.

Pour over single cream, cover with foil and put into oven.

Cook for 10 mins, uncover and cook for further 5 mins.

Decorate with parsley and walnuts.

Serve with broccoli and mashed potatoes sprinkled with parsley.


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One hundred years ago – May 1914.

This month we have decided to focus on the perennially popular subject of fashion. The ‘Gazette’ devoted a column each week to ladies clothing illustrated with drawings of the garments, some of which are shown here. Going by these pictures the women of 1914 seem to have had tiny waists and tall statuesque outlines. Note also one very masculine look!

Home dressmaking was in vogue and female readers were encouraged to make their own clothes, buying the recommended patterns and materials from local haberdashery shops, of which Bideford had several. This was more economical than buying ready-made clothing from the shops as you could use the pattern several times and add your own personal touches. Clothing was showing some trends of the belle époque era; ladies spent their afternoons going out to see and be seen. Fans of Downton Abbey may recognise some of these outfits.

In 1914 clothing was moving away from the restrained Edwardian fashions towards more relaxed styles. Previously, women had been wearing heavily embellished dresses with tightly laced corsets underneath. As World War I broke out in Europe, these restrictions loosened. Men still dressed in traditional suits while children wore more practical clothes.

As regards underwear, most men, boys and girls wore “union suits”. This one-piece snugly-fitted garment was often made of flannel. Children’s union suits in 1914 had shorter sleeves and leggings. Also in 1914, the American Mary Jacobs patented the first bra. Women previously wore full corsets to provide shape and support under their rigid fashions. Now designers considered the bra as an alternative “foundation garment” when developing the new, looser styles that would continue in later decades.


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Bideford Races, May 1928.

This advertisement comes from the Bideford Gazette for 1928 currently housed at the Bideford Archive. The archive is run by volunteers, and you will find it is a mine of information on Torridge district; not just births, marriages and deaths, but also a record is being made of everything of interest in the world of local trades and professions, local government, agriculture, religious groups, sports clubs, streets and villages, and much more, including the Census records for family history research. There are photographs from the Bideford Gazette of sporting events, school and church celebrations, postcards of local village life and architecture. Source material comes mainly from the Bideford Gazette, from 1856 onwards, but they are sometimes able to provide information or documents of use to everyone. (Recently Buzz donated all its bound back copies from 2000 onwards).

Bideford Community Archive.

A recent addition to the Archive’s collection of local historical information, comes in the form of three accounts of the Archaeology of Westward Ho!’s prehistoric Kitchen Midden. It is appropriate to mention this just now, as the beach at Westward Ho! has been scoured of sand by the winter storms, and there is much of the original forest, peat and underlying blue clay exposed at low tide. The sand will return, of course, as it always does, but anyone interested in learning what was once down there, eight thousand years ago, might well care to peruse these documents.

One detailed document is the Inkerman Rogers’ examination of the artefacts he found there – flints, hazel nuts, antlers, etc. Another is by an Australian gentleman named Mr. D.M. Churchill, from Monash University, Melbourne, and the third, made by the Department of the Environment with Nick Balaam and 2 colleagues in 1987, is a very thorough analysis of everything that was discovered by taking away a slice of the midden. Every part of it was examined with the latest technology – radio carbon dating, dendochronology (tree rings), and includes analysis of tree and flower pollen, types of tree, and flints and tools left behind by prehistoric man all those years ago.


Donations are welcome, but a small charge is made for for photocopying, and postage is charged at the going rate. You are welcome to visit, free, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9.30 to 12.00. (Closed on Bank Holidays ) Tel : 01237 471714. First floor, Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam, Bideford.


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Shipping news No. 111 (March/ April 2014).

In port – Yelland.

Clavigo - built 1992 ; flag St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda ; owners German ; from Glensanda to Birdport ; crew German, Hungarian, Polish & Russian ; arrived 15.04, sailed 15.04 ; discharged 3,000 tons chippings.

Welsh Piper 16.3.14, 21.3.14.

In port – Bideford.

No cargo movements since last edition.

The tug Goliath sailed for Southampton on the 16th March, pm, with the barge with Southern Beaver on board.

Oldenburg returned to service 1st April .

Arco Dart at Appledore 16.3.14, 18.3.14, 29.3.14, 30.3.14, 14.4.14.

The Irish patrol vessel LE Samuel Beckett being built at Appledore did not sail on the 15/3/14 as per my previous report ; I do apologise for the mistake. She sailed on her first trials on the 29.3.14 (at 04.10) and returned on the 3rd April at 07.30 she; was also seen off Ilfracombe, and quite a bit of time was spent in Bideford Bay. She sailed again on second sea trials on the 14th at 05.40 returning on Thursday 17th prior to leaving for her home base at Cork.

According to the Journal website the cruise ship Prisendam is due off Ilfracombe 26th July for a visit; has been here before. Visit subject to weather conditions.

A report in the Gazette that the Kathleen & May is to make a visit to Bideford in August ; further details when known.

Bristol Channel Observations

15/4/14 at 09.40 container ship Endeavour, 9,612 tons d.w., owners J.r. Shipping Netherland, inward bound for Avonmouth, (returned to her normal weekend arrival).

21/3/14 at 08.45 cargo vessel Hertfordshire, 2,489 tons d.w., owners Bibby Line Liverpool, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 1200 cargo vessel RMS Wedau, 1,708 tons d.w., owners Rhein Maas -Und See Schiffahrtskontor GMBH Germany, outward bound from Swansea, having sailed at 06.06.

22/3/14 at 13.23 cargo vessel Ciudad de Cadiz, 3,500 tons d.w, owners Anita 2 SNC France ; usual cargoes are aircraft parts for Airbus Ltd, – this occasion carrying motor vehicles. At 11.13 vehicle carrier Viking Chance, 33,863 tons d.w, owners Gram Car Carriers A.S. Norway, inward bound for Portbury. At 17.20 container vessel Njord, 8,001 tons d.w., owners Njord Shipping B.V Netherlands, inward bound for Newport. At 17.24 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carriers Norway, outward bound from Portbury. At 08.39 cargo vessel Shuya, 3,148 tons d.w., owners Orion Shipping Co Russia, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 01.06, (later went to shelter off Clovelly). At 16.54 vehicle carrier Sapphire Ace ,15,204 tons d.w., owners Mitsui OSK Lines Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 18.06 vehicle carrier Grande Scandinavia ,18,440 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

31/3/14 at 18.27 cargo vessel Frisum, 2,355 tons d.w., owners Boomsma Shipping B.V Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth.

7/4/14 at 16.00 cargo vessel Muammer Vagci, 2,481 tons d.w., owners Yagci Denizcilik Istanbul, inward bound for Cardiff.

11/4/14 at 08.50 container vessel Andrea, 11,285 tons, owners Bergen Box Carriers AS Norway rs, outward bound from Portbury (having sailed at 03.43).

Regards Norman


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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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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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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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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 © David Green)

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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