English Riviera Magazine April/May 2021

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Walks • Local Food • Heritage • Nature • People • Events • Arts

EnglishRiviera April/May 2021

We meet...



Brendon Prince


Zoe Curley


Parking Tor Bay's

Resident Crews








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To the April/May issue. Created and Published By Devon Magazine Company Limited Julian Rees julian@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Telephone 01803 842893 Mobile: 07455 206470 Anita Newcombe anita@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Telephone: 01803 850886 Advertising Sales sales@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Advertising Copy copy@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Editorial editorial@englishrivieramagazine.co.uk Website englishrivieramagazine.co.uk ISSN (Print) 2052-8515 ISSN (Online) 2052-8523

Next issue 28 May Write to us at: ENGLISH RIVIERA MAGAZINE 69 DAVIES AVENUE PAIGNTON TQ4 7AW © 2018 All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or used in any form without prior permission of the publishers. All material is sent at the owner’s risk and whilst every care is taken, Devon Magazine Company Ltd will not accept liability for loss or damage. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our content but the publishers cannot be held responsible for any omissions, errors or alterations or for the consequences of any reliance on these details; neither can they vouch for the accuracy of claims made by any advertiser. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers.

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As spring brightens up our days we are finally looking at a release from a long series of lockdowns. We’ll still be having a quiet Easter but a cautious return to normal is happening as the blossom flourishes on our trees and the region gradually opens up. We’ve been chatting to some ‘outdoorsy’ people - Zoe Curley is the artist responsible for brightening up the grey hoardings around the Midas development on Paignton Green with her beautiful seashore themes. We also chat to paddleboarder Brendon Prince who is putting the Bay on the map with his amazing world-record attempt to circumnavigate mainland Britain. And we hear from Cath Cooke, recently appointed General Manager for the wonderful new visitor attraction at Occombe Farm. Ever wondered just what is going on aboard cruise ships in the Bay? We’ve managed to persuade the crew of Holland America’s ship the Volendam to give us the lowdown on the mysterious world of pandemic parking. Now, if you’ve been staring at the four walls of your home and want make some design improvements then we’ve got a special ‘Happy Home’ section to trigger some good ideas as well as our ever-popular heritage, arts and gardening features.

Happy reading and enjoy spring!

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EnglishRiviera June/July 2019


A Sailing Adventure with




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Vistas & Views on the coastpath

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In this issue | April/May 2021 6 Openers Local news snippets

12 Paignton Outdoor Artist We meet Zoe Curley

16 Brendon Prince - The Long Paddle Local man prepares for UK circumnavigation

22 Heritage - Aggie Weston Ian Handford introduces the seamans’ friend

24 When is a pier not a pier? Kevin Dixon examines the evidence

26 Meet Tor Bay’s Resident Crew Life aboard a cruise liner

33 Meeting MooBoo Cockington’s bespoke interior makers

37 Improve Your Home! Ideas for interiors

40 Coastal Walk

26 Life aboard the Volendam 16 Preparing for an epic voyage

A longer walk further from home

42 Arts Roundup Art exhibitions and events

45 Project Occombe Farm Meeet the new manager

47 Charity Appeal Dart Sailability moving home

48 Gardening Revitalise those borders

On the cover

33 Interiors update

Bluebell Woods near Stoke Gabriel © Allan Lou


April/May 2021 | 5

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Rubicon People in Torbay

Sarah Hunt from Rubicon, a highly successful South West recruitment consultancy, is the new face of the service for businesses and candidates based in Torbay. After working with Rubicon in Dorset for some years, Sarah has continued to work for the business remotely since she moved to Paignton two years ago. Having achieved many significant successes working with employers to find, interview and place high quality candidates, in both permanent and temporary-to-permanent positions across the South West, she will now focus more closely on Torbay

Get Your Sparkle Back! Conroy Couch Jewellers, an independent and family-owned jewellers, has been taking care of fine jewellery in Torquay since 1864. They know just how it important it is to look after and clean jewellery on a regular basis to keep it sparkling like new. Jewellery is often one of our most valued possessions, and not just in monetary terms. Protecting and looking after heirlooms and preciously sentimental items shouldn’t be something we forget to do. Think about it, how often do you clean your jewellery? Once a week? Once a month? Once a year? Ever? But you clean and sanitise your hands regularly throughout the day. And you do the washing up, the cooking, the cleaning englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

and surrounding areas. Sarah’s fiancé Simon comes from Paignton and their daughter Mia will attend Curledge Street Primary. They live close to Paignton Seafront and feel that it’s a wonderful place to raise children. Sarah explains, “You’ve got everything in Torbay; you can visit a different beach every day, enjoy watersports, go to the zoo, enjoy the countryside, coast path, woodland walks and places like Cockington.” Sarah says, “I love working at Rubicon - It has always felt different from other agencies - more like a consultancy; we form strong relationships with businesses, understanding their culture and their specific ‘people’ requirements. She explains that they also spend lots of time getting to know candidates so they can ensure a great fit for the candidate and with the organisation’s needs and values. The net result is a happier and more productive working environment, which can really change people’s lives for the better. With a professional team at Rubicon providing a wide range of support across engineering, industrial, office and specialist positions, Sarah is looking forward to building relationships with Torbay businesses and tracking down their perfect candidates. She feels confident that the wellestablished Rubicon brand will be well received in the Bay because it has been so popular and successful in Dorset and across the South West.   rubiconpeople.co.uk etc. All of these everyday actions result in a build up of dirt and grime collecting in the claws of your rings and obscuring the sparkle of your beautiful gemstones. Conroy Couch is now offering a free ring cleaning service so if your rings are lacking a bit of sparkle, get in touch today. They will ensure that dried soap, dirt and debris is carefully and safely removed from around any gemstones, and that the gold is polished back to its gleaming best. This offer is limited to two rings per customer and available from reopening until end of May 2021.   conroycouch.co.uk f @conroy.couch Conroy Couch Jewellers

April/May 2021 | 7

Backing up the ‘Copters Devon Air Ambulance now has two rapid response Critical Care Cars to back up their helicopter rescue service, saving more lives in the process. In their first year they have been tasked to over 470 missions (considerably more than the expected 200). The cars are based at the Trust’s airbases, one at Exeter Airport and one at Eaglescott Airfield in North Devon. This means that crews can use the vehicles at short notice

Sleepy Lizards Staff members at Paignton Zoo have celebrated the successful birth of two litters of endangered Chinese crocodile lizards. Scientists believe that there may be less than 1,000 of these lizards left in the wild in China, with habitat loss, climate change and over collection posing a serious threat to their continued survival. As well as being one of Paignton Zoo’s most unique-looking reptile residents, they are also one of the most unusual in terms of their behaviour. In their native range, they are known as the ‘lizard of great sleepiness’ after their habit of lying motionless on branches overhanging water and hibernating in cool weather. In the past, this behaviour also led to them being captured for use in traditional medicine as a supposed cure for insomnia! As well as being a bit sleepy, they’re also semi aquatic and spend a lot of time in the water. They are excellent swimmers and can hold their breath underwater for long periods of time. Steve Nash, Curator of Birds, Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates says, “Guests will 8

| April/May 2021

| April/May 2021

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be able to see some of our new arrivals when Tropical Trail, the new name for Reptile Tropics reopens later this year. Our reptile team are busy planning their new home and we look forward to showing off these incredible lizards.”  paigntonzoo.org

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Sports Enthusiast Cleans Up Local sports enthusiast Martin Simpson has launched his own oven cleaning business as part of the Oven Wizards franchise. He has lived in the Bay for a number of years and came across the oven cleaning business when looking for something new that he would enjoy. Martin met Mark Abbott, owner of the Oven Wizards business and realised that with support and comprehensive training from this established brand he would be able to offer a great local service whilst being able to enjoy his work. With oven cleaning one of the most hated household chores and growing demand for professional cleaning, Martin’s new service is likely to be popular. As well as Torbay, Martin will also cover Totnes, Newton Abbot, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, South Brent and Ashburton. Martin is offering a 20% introductory discount on his first 20 bookings. 07446 281521/ 01803 446062   ovenwizards.com/oven-cleaning/South-East-Devon

Adopting with Pride Local adoption charity Families for Children has seen a marked increase in approved adopters from the LGBT+ community providing a new home to children. Families for Children, based in Devon, ran a hugely successful campaign last year in encouraging LGBT+ people to come forward to adopt. This resulted in an increase in LGBT+ adopters being approved by them to 1 in 3 adopters overall. The charity wants to continue its success in supporting LGBT+ people in their decision to build a family through adoption. Joe englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

and Reece adopted a sibling group of three through Families for Children and say, “Adoption for us has been a life changing experience so much so that we want to do it again! We do know as we get older there will be different challenges that will come up and certain situations, but the main thing is we have the support from our adoption agency, our families and friends and other adoptive families. You know you’re not alone and that’s the fundamental thing for us, especially adopting a sibling group.” Tor Docherty, New Family Social Chief Executive says, “Record numbers of LGBT+ people now adopt or foster. The urgent need for more to do so hasn’t disappeared in the pandemic. The assessment process can still take place, despite lockdown and restrictions.”   familiesforchildren.org.uk/lgbtqadoption

Baby Monkey for Paignton Zoo A tiny Goeldi’s monkey was born at Paignton Zoo in late January to first-time parents, Eva and Rio. The parents have been taking it in turns to care for the tiny creature with the baby riding on mum or dad’s back. The pairing of Eva and Rio is an important part of a European breeding programme to protect these small New World Monkeys. They are native to the upper Amazon regions of Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, and take their name from their discoverer, the Swiss naturalist Emil August Goeldi. Goeldi’s monkeys have shaggy black hair, claw-like nails and long tails. Numbers in the wild are thought to be decreasing mainly due to habitat loss. Lisa Britton, Curator of Mammals said, “This new arrival is important for the species as they are classed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.”   paigntonzoo.org

April/May 2021 | 9

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ZOE CURLEY Painting in


en a lone artist painting fabulous d esigns on will have se e l p o e p idas site office at Paig M e h t d Many n u o r a nton Green. hoarding the grey b m e o d c r w e o p N s a t i b n y A to say hell e Curley – o. This is Zo

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Riviera People Detail of the mural on Paignton seafront


oe Curley spotted the grey hoarding going up around the Midas site office at Paignton Green and instead of seeing dull, functional construction, she envisioned a canvas where she could create some beautiful outdoor art the public could enjoy. She says, “ I am often asked by passers-by whether I’ve got permission to paint or ‘graffiti’ the boards here.” In fact she approached Midas as soon as the idea came to her and received permission within a couple of hours. Six months on, she’s still ‘freestyling’ here, has attracted a lot of attention from local people and has developed a friendly relationship with the on-site staff. Her work is voluntary but Midas has contributed to the cost of her special art pens. Zoe uses acrylic paint pens to create her designs – for this project she uses all white, which contrasts beautifully with the grey background. Over the boards she has created a paradise of seaside themes. There are barrel jellyfish, fish, seaweeds, anenomes, crabs, crab pots and sailboats. She explains, “ I just make it up as I go along – I never sketch the panel in advance.” One day she spotted the patterns a nearby tree made on the hoarding through

intermittent bursts of sunshine and decided to add it to the mural. There’s also a plan to include some beach huts and palm trees. With plenty of grey space still to cover, Zoe loves the freedom to paint and chat to people, finding it enjoyable and therapeutic. Most of her ideas come from photos and sketches taken on Paignton Beach. Her work has created so much interest from the public that the site managers here have asked her to put up small, laminated information sheets about herself on the installation. So admirers discover that she runs Blue Waters Art & Glass with her husband Shaun who makes stained glass as a hobby. She designed several leaded glass panels, which he has subsequently made up. They live right here on Paignton Seafront and Zoe loves being able to gather up her simple tools and stroll along to her giant outdoor ‘canvas’. Zoe moved to Paignton with Shaun a few years ago from Kent and now works part-time as a teacher for a Special Provision School, enjoying the variety of teaching and art. She says, “I’ve always doodled and I was a member of an art group in Kent but it was moving to Paignton that inspired me.” Since arriving she has Owl at Lupton House


April/May 2021 | 13

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Riviera People

Zoe does have aspirations of exhibiting as a solo artist in the future and being recognised for her unique style Self portrait

enjoyed some early success with her art telling me, “It was Janet Ventre, mosaic artist at Cockington Court who gave me the confidence to believe in myself as an artist.” Zoe started selling some of her hand-painted prints at local craft fairs and did well at BrixFest but these events have been interrupted by virus restrictions for now. In 2020 she submitted a successful design for the Moor Otter Art Trail 2020. Currently all of the 81 three-foothigh fibreglass otters, decorated by local amateur and professional artists, are in storage hoping to be ‘released’ to locations across Dartmoor this Easter. Hers is called ‘From The Heart of Dartmoor’. Zoe’s first commission as a mural artist was a beach scene that covers the length of a local garden wall. She also has a large mural she’s painted on the bathroom of her own home. Her early career as a graphic designer may have influenced her work and her three years of day-release at the London College of Printing gave her some formal training. This was before taking her teaching degree and starting her career in education. It’s only since coming to Paignton and having more free time though, that her art has blossomed and developed. Zoe and Shaun are also volunteers for the Orchard Forest School at Lupton House. She drew a stunning owl on a felled tree stump there in December. Having spotted the stump and gained permission to proceed, she immediately set englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

about painting it, to the surprise and delight of those present. Zoe does have aspirations of exhibiting as a solo artist in the future and being recognised for her unique style. She tells me, “Like many creatives I’ve got lots of ideas and some unfinished pieces I am working on.” Completion of the two Midas hotels is due at the end of the year at which point the boards will, no doubt, be removed. However, until then she will continue adding to the murals. Zoe may only have been here for a few years but she loves Paignton and Torbay and believes that she has found her place in the community through her art and employment. As regulars on Paignton Beach, Roundham and Goodrington, Zoe and Shaun have got to know many local people through their cheeky rescue lurcher Jack and they all adore their new life in the Bay.  @BlueWatersArtandGlass

April/May 2021 | 15

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Riviera People

Brendon Prince Paddleboard Adventurer Local resident Brendon Prince is training intensively for a world record attempt to circumnavigate mainland Britain on a stand up paddleboard, starting out in April 2021. Anita Newcombe caught up with him on a blustery day at Paignton Sands.


rendon’s official record attempt is called The Long Paddle 2021 and will start and finish right here on the English Riviera. He anticipates waving goodbye to his friends and family from Torquay’s Abbey Sands at about 5am on 24th April. This early start is because he needs to travel with the tides and thus will be paddling a routine of six hours on and six hours off throughout the challenge. It also means that he will be paddling during night hours as well as during the daytime. He will have a full-time, land-based support team following him day and night. They’ll be tracking his movements from their van-based ‘mission control’ and will catch up with him at the end of each 6-hour shift. Once he comes off the water he’ll need sleep and food but will probably need to catch up with messages, press requests and admin as well. A minimum of two volunteers will be in the van at all times as support crew with duties that include sorting out wet kit, cooking, driving and tracking and bringing lots of jolly good humour to the proceedings. Brendon will not have a boat traveling alongside him – he’s doing this alone. However, interest and support for this world record attempt has been huge. Lots of locals along the route are likely to paddle out to see him, to accompany him ashore at his stopping points and to give him a friendly wave as he paddles into the history books. However, he will regularly have a photographer and videographer working from a boat and even from the water to capture fabulous englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

photos and video footage of the trip. So what will Brendan wear and what will he have with him aboard his paddleboard on his 6-hour shifts? Surprisingly (to me) he doesn’t wear a wetsuit – he says that it restricts the arm movement and can chafe. So if it’s warm he could be wearing shorts and a t-shirt but if it’s really cold he has a special kind of dry suit to wear. He’s also bristling with safety equipment including his GPS sailor’s watch, which seems to do everything, a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), a GPS tracker, a VHF radio, a knife, a whistle, a waterproof camera and a phone. There’s also a big beacon light so that he can alert other craft to his presence at night if he thinks they haven’t spotted him. His paddleboard will be carrying the same navigation lights as a yacht including the port and starboard red and green ones. He’ll also carry water and some high-energy snacks including lots of nuts. His mission control van will be tracking him and can phone him as needed. One of his support crew will be driving and the other will be following his movements at all times. A home-based admin person will also be phoning ahead to National Coastwatch stations on the route and tracking the weather for him. Brendon can pick up calls on his watch – “a great piece of kit” he says. Of course these amazing electronics all have to be charged once he comes off the water for his 6-hour break – quite a task. Brendon has been training 6 days a week and April/May 2021 | 17


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Riviera People to get across. And what is he most looking forward this includes gym work and running as well as paddle to? He says, “Definitely the wildlife including seals, boarding for hours most days. He will ramp up the dolphins and sea birds.” He also expects to see basking mileage significantly as the challenge approaches. I ask sharks and whales in Scotland. He’s often spotted tuna him if he’s scared he won’t make it. He laughs and says, off Dartmouth; these can be the size of a small car – “terrified!” Then there’s a brief chuckle before he grins they’re really fast and often breach the surface with huge and says he feels tremendously confident and hugely splashes. He well prepared expects to see a and supported. Brendon has set aside 90 days as the time he can fabulous array of Nevertheless there have afford to be away from his work and he’s confident birds, especially in Scotland been at least 20 this will be enough even if weather delays him but also on the failed record Severn Crossing attempts to and near Lundy circumnavigate Island where Britain on puffins can be a SUP so seen. it’s a huge Overall he challenge but anticipates tremendously completing exciting for him, about 80 his family, his kilometres a day. supporters and After leaving his sponsors. Torquay he will If he succeeds, hope to make it will be a Port Wrinkle on national news the western end story for sure as of Whitsand Brendon makes Bay on day SUP history. one, then down Sometimes to the Lizard, weather on to Sennen conditions are and around against success Land’s End and sometimes before carrying time runs on clockwise out on such around challenges. mainland Brendon has set Britain. He’s aside 90 days looking forward as the time he to visiting can afford to PHOTO © : Will Reddaway WR Photography different be away from communities en route and raising awareness of local tidal his work and he’s confident this will be enough even if races and other key features of the area. He hopes to alert weather delays him a few days (world record attempts of people who aren’t usually reached by sea safety messages. this kind do allow limited weather breaks if big storms Various paddle and surf clubs will be taking to the water roll in). to welcome him in or see him off on the next leg so it I ask Brendon which the most difficult part of the could be sociable on the water at least some of the time. challenge will be and he explains that the west coast Brendon has been Chair of Torbay Surf Life Saving of Scotland has a section with a 60-kilometre stretch Club for nearly 10 years and was Head of Outdoor where there are no ‘get-outs’ in the event of a problem. Education at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School for Also certain beach landings will be tricky with big surf


April/May 2021 | 19


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Riviera People would be specific to the features of particular beaches such as Croyde so that water-users can fully familiarise and understand the dangers of the local scene. Initially Brendon plans to start with 10 key beaches then build on this base. He needs to raise £100,000 for this with the game maker providing the balance with a further £150,000. Brendon has already completed many adventures and challenges including paddling the 280 kilometres from Sennen Cove at Land’s End to Torquay with his friend Noah on rescue SUPs, completing the trip in just over 3 days and raising substantial funds for charity. With his love of the water he’s really happy to be based in Torbay telling me, “Tor Bay is an amazing water facility and really stands out as the best place to be. I’ve paddled in so many places and the Bay really has ‘wow factor’ – it’s very sheltered and a wonderful haven for wildlife with lots of things to see including incredible sea caves. ” When he leaves from Torquay at the crack of dawn on 24th April Brendon’s family will be there to see him off. His wife Helen is a keen open water swimmer and their three children Kitty (16), Roo (14) and Jonah (11) are surfers and surf lifesavers. He says, “I couldn’t do it without their support – they love the water too so they understand my commitment.” So do his many supporters and sponsors and we wish him huge success for this amazing challenge!   thelongpaddle2021.com

25 years. Since a terrible experience as an off-duty lifeguard on the north Cornish coast when he battled but ultimately failed to save three souls from drowning, he has dedicated himself to providing vital water safety education for children. In 2017 he set up Above Water, a charity that educates teachers how to deliver water safety messages in schools (Water Safety teaching is actually part of the National Curriculum). His work for Above Water is entirely voluntary and unpaid but he also owns Ocean Water Safety Consultancy, which provides services to water-based events around the UK. Brendon has already visited hundreds of schools and communities, teaching over 100,000 children water safety and drowning prevention. His challenge will spread the water safety and awareness message even further. Half of the funds raised through this awesome expedition will go to a range of charities including Above Water, the RNLI, Surf Life Saving GB, Surfers Against Sewage and The Wave Project. The rest will be put towards ‘gamefied’ apps to make the learning of water safety messages immersive and fun. These apps englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

April/May 2021 | 21

Dame Agnes Elizabeth Weston Agnes Weston was a Christian lady who created hugely popular Sailors’ Rests; one of these was located on Victoria Parade in Torquay. Torbay Civic Society Chairman, Ian Handford tells us more.


orn in London on March 26th 1840 Agnes Elizabeth Weston was a daughter of barrister Charles Henry Weston. She moved with her family from London to Bath in 1845 and here she enjoyed a private education. From an early age Agnes (now known as Aggie) was religious, perhaps due to the influence of Reverend J Fleming, Curate of St Stephens in Bath. She adored writing, riding and swimming and, in mirroring her father, also enjoyed astronomy and geology. Becoming an independent young woman without money worries, marriage was never a priority. Living in a happy, loving and successful environment Aggie spent her early years undertaking Christian activities including teaching. On Sundays she played the organ, having been tutored at Gloucester Cathedral. With her sister, she became an active member of the Temperance Movement in support of local clergy. In time, the girls opened a small shop in Bath, which became a coffee bar to meet the needs of the Somerset Militia in the city. The family financed the project and now the troops would enjoy access to board games, a writing room and have free light refreshment. Organised Christian meetings were held at the centre and though everything was nonprofit-making, it was not long before Aggie realised that a small charge ought to be made, as nothing of any value comes absolutely free. It was a first business lesson. But now local critics including Army officers went public, stating that soldiers might get ideas “above their station” having access to writing. The girls also had their detractors. This was an era when women were not expected to have a career and soon the girls’ parents were approached, “it was not right - unmarried girls should not mix with soldiers” - even if doing good works. Marriage was a woman’s role in life. However, the critics were silenced when the business prospered.

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It was clear to Aggie that many soldiers were lonely and frightened of returning to duty, mainly because they had no one at home with whom to correspond. She might fulfil that role; if a soldier wished to write or needed a letter that was fine - she could help. In time, the letter service benefited thousands of men and became an absolute saviour. One soldier on board a ship bound for India, explaining the idea to a sailor was asked, “You redcoats seem to have kind friends….do you think the lady would write to me?” The soldier replied, “I am sure she would - if she writes to redcoats - why not bluejackets?” Thousands of letters to and from sailors at sea were sent during the 1860s confirming the need for such a service. Aggie now created a monthly newsletter titled ‘Ashore & Afloat’, and this still survives, although it is now a bi-monthly publication. She edited the magazine for 45 years, while also addressing public meetings and visiting families of naval establishments. Eventually having left Bath for Plymouth she went to live with the Wintz family in Devonport. After joining the Royal Naval Temperance Society in 1873 she received a delegation from the Petty Officer and members of HMS Dryad in Devonport. They wanted her to set up a centre for ‘blue-jackets’ at the dockyard gates. Aggie was initially hesitant but when Sophie, daughter of the Wintz family offered help, she decided to proceed. Dozens of meetings were held in Devon by Aggie to establish the necessary funds to create a Temperance Centre. It mirrored the one in Bath but being at Devonport was soon renamed the ‘Sailors Rest’. It was a true meeting place, which developed into a hostel-institution, a home-from-home where sailors might take meals in quiet relaxation, with or without family or friends. Aggie next devised a savings club for sailors. This became so popular that she had to plead with the Admiralty to take automatic

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Riviera Heritage Accompanied by Sophie, she remarked that it was the most deductions from Naval pay, making it more efficient. With wonderful achievement of her life. A year later she opened her Plymouth ‘Rest’ established by 1878 she then created Torquay’s Sailors’ Rest in Victoria Parade. Finally in 1918 a ‘Portsmouth Rest’ after hearing of the loss of 320 men she received another award - King Edward VII made her when HMS Eurydice sank. Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire Never fearful of venturing outside after dark, Aggie (GBE). Sadly, Dame Agnes was too unwell to attend the often went out, dressed in “bonnet and cape”, to assist official ceremony. drunken lads on the street, rather than leaving them to Having suffered a heart attack on October 23rd official patrols. She remarked, “They are after all some 1918 with Sophie at her side at RSR Devonport Aggie mothers’ sons”. However, ‘ladies of the street’ took a dim murmured quietly, “Don’t trouble about me, I’m all right” view, as their potential clients were being removed. Some before dying aged 78. Honoured as the first woman ever prostitutes even threw mud or stones when Aggie passed given a full ceremonial Royal Navy funeral, she was buried by but fortunately the police kept an eye open for such at the Dockyard Chapel activity. One story tells of her return to the ‘Rest’ Never fearful of venturing outside after in West Mill Devonport. Sophie would continue with some sailors, only to dark, Aggie often went out, dressed in to oversee the RSRs be met by the watchman “bonnet and cape”, to assist drunken until her death in 1929. saying, “Careful how you lads on the street, rather than leaving The two ladies were open the door lady, we’ve them to official patrols. buried together under got another dozen waiting a magnificent statue here”. Records confirm at Weston Mill Cemetery Devonport. The charity Aggie in one year 378,375 sailors sought refuge in Aggie and Weston’s (known as Aggie’s) is still active across the country. Sophie’s rests. Today all RSRs have chaplaincy support to help the daily Having attended the Royal Naval Exhibition at Chelsea workload while the organisation’s ‘Ashore and Afloat’ Hospital in 1892, Aggie dreamt of establishing a widows’ pension scheme and eventually after two years civil servants publication sails on. aggies.org.uk  at Whitehall adopted the idea. All serving personnel  torbaycivicsociety.co.uk became eligible to join the new pension scheme after which Aggie was awarded a Royal Warrant. She renamed her businesses ‘Royal Sailors Rests’ (RSR) - still used today. Aggie became one of the first women to get an The Sailors’ Rest on Honorary Doctorate Law Degree from Glasgow in 1901. Vaughan Parade


April/May 2021 | 23

Does Torquay have a Pier?

Princess Pier circa 1907

Paignton has a pier; Teignmouth has a pier. But does Torquay? Kevin Dixon mulls over the evidence.


irst, we need to define what a pier is. The architectural definition of a ‘pier’ is a strong pillar used to support a structure. It’s from the late Old English, ‘pere’, ‘support of a span of a bridge’. The word then came to mean a structure built on posts extending from land out over water. Importantly, a pier is a structure that water passes beneath. What Torquay then has is a breakwater, a solid structure down to the seabed. It could have been so different. Very late in the game in 1878, speculators hoped to construct piers at Torquay, Falmouth and Plymouth for the use of pleasure steamers

24 | April/May 2021 | April/May 2021

and promenaders. And in 1881 and 1883 local groups planned a true pier reaching out from the Palm Court Hotel - now Abbey Crescent- along the lines of those piers that could be seen in Brighton or Blackpool. These grand plans were all rejected. To consider why Torquay is unusual for a tourist resort in not having such a pier, we have to go back to the origins and story of that British icon. Originally piers were just landing docks. The first pleasure pier, at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, was built in 1814, and by 1850 there were a dozen piers at British seaside resorts. These were fashionable and

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Riviera Heritage to preserve its elite image? Proposals for a pier were select extensions of the seafront promenade; they allowed repeatedly presented, but the local Board of Health holidaymakers a walkway out to sea, a way of being out on was not enthusiastic and neither was the town. When the water but above it. the local Board took over the harbour in 1883 it was These early nineteenth century resorts were generally decided that a stone pier was required for a new mooring limited to the upper classes. This would change as the basin. A committee then visited other resorts to view the Industrial Revolution raised the income of the average opportunities to create something special. working person. Improvements in transportation brought But the hoped-for ‘something special’ wasn’t to be, as greater mobility as steam-powered railways and ships the town’s conservatism asserted itself. A public meeting created the working class holiday. was held which even saw the modest offer of a covered Consequently, piers became working class palaces. bandstand turned down. What had once been a Then a poll of ratepayers was setting for the gentry was But was a pier really suitable for transformed into a part of Torquay, fighting to preserve its elite undertaken. This rejected the proposal to construct a fulla new holiday culture - the image? Proposals for a pier were scale pier by a commanding ‘improving’ entertainment repeatedly presented, but the local of classical concerts giving Board of Health was not enthusiastic 3,194 to 1,296. In its place came a much more limited way to variety shows and and neither was the town. proposal that featured a amusement rides. small pavilion. This was grudgingly accepted. Torquay Iron provided enough rigidity to support a whole range would not have a grand pier that could have attracted of entertainments and attractions along a pier’s length. unsuitable visitors. There were ornate pavilions, delicate ironwork, and exotic Work on the pier commenced in 1890 as a simple mass lighting. The Promenade remained but there were also: concrete groyne. A steel lattice girder and timber structure theatres, penny arcades, bowling alleys, Punch and Judy was added in 1894, followed by a landing quay on the shows, minstrels, acrobats and carousels plus ice cream, seaward side of the pier-head in 1906. So, both Haldon photographers, naughty postcards, toffee apples, music hall songs and smutty comedy. Into the mix came rollercoasters, and Princess ‘Piers’ were functional, built primarily as breakwaters, harbour walls or landing stages and not as a gang fights, ‘What the Butler Saw’ machines and then focus for leisure. The appellation and adornment was added cinema. Eventually electricity arrived and the new lighting for promotional purposes. made nighttime entertainment flourish. During the 1960s and 70s the package holiday was born This wasn’t free, however. There was a charge just to enter the turnstile at the foot of the pier. There were fees for and many seaside towns fell into a steady state of decline, some piers burned or collapsed. In April 1974 fire gutted ‘The sitting down and entering dance halls. Islander’ bar on our own Princess Pier and, due to damage to For many visitors these were miracles, providing an oasis of the underlying timber, the building was demolished to deck abandonment where, during one week a year, working class people could enjoy the good life. By 1900, there were 80 fully- level. Torquay’s first pavilion was never rebuilt. But across the country piers are now having a renaissance and reinventing fledged piers, with some seaside towns having two or three. themselves as part of a new seaside experience.  But was a pier really suitable for Torquay, fighting

The ever popular Paignton Pier circa 1960 englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

April/May 2021 | 25

Captain Friso Kramer gezegd Freher on the bridge with Meadfoot in the distance

Pandemic Parking

Life Aboard the Volendam The gracious cruise ships that have taken up residence in the sheltered waters of Tor Bay have become one of the most enduring symbols of pandemic life. Anita Newcombe wonders what life is like aboard.


ince the arrival of cruise ships in Tor Bay, there has during this worldwide crisis they have been operating with been a fascination for these luxurious ladies now a skeleton crew and kept in ‘warm storage’ until they are lingering elegantly in our waters. We’ve seen Cunard’s able to resume operations. We asked the crew of Holland Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth America’s Volendam to give us an insight into the strange bobbing gently at anchor off Babbacombe and ships world of ‘pandemic parking’. of the Holland America Line including the fabulous The ‘Master’ is Captain Friso Kramer gezegd Freher. Volendam, the Eurodam and the Oosterdam all bring a He tells us, “It is great to feel so welcome in the beautiful touch of glamour to Tor Bay. location of Torbay. My main objective is to keep the Kayakers, ship in good and safe We take care of each other and enjoy the paddleboarders and condition and well fantastic support of the local community. other small craft have preserved, for when the paddled out to see It truly helps brighten each and every day. time comes to receive these sophisticated our guests back on floating havens of recreation and fun. Pleasure boats board. We hope that this will happen later this year. In have plied a trade transporting passengers to admire their the meantime we take care of each other and enjoy the size and classic lines. Locals are often delighted by these fantastic support of the local community. It truly helps wonderful cruise ships and fascinated by the life of the brighten each and every day.” crews aboard. More used to cruising the Mediterranean, Captain Friso was born in Wellington New Zealand as the Caribbean or further afield they are now anchored the only son of a Dutch shipping executive. Friso’s first offshore in Tor Bay – who knows for how much longer? word was “boat” and when growing up he always had a There are not enough ports to accommodate all these fascination for water. Back in Holland, at the age of seven, vessels that would normally be at sea much of the time, so he started sailing an Optimist (a small one-sail training

26 | April/May 2021 | April/May 2021

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Riviera Life

Above: The Volendam lying in Tor Bay Below left to right: Captain Friso with his partner Chantal; Staff Captain Laurens Wolvekamp on the bridge; Chief Engineer, Bart Rodenrijs manning the engine control room

boat for beginners). His sailing hobby then really took off and he crewed a variety of sailing boats competitively, nationally and internationally, going as far as races in Hobart, Tasmania. This continued until the age of 24 when he joined Holland America Line (having meanwhile studied at a maritime college, spent a year sailing the high seas as a cadet officer, and then completed a Bachelor Degree in Maritime Operations). Staff Captain Laurens Wolvekamp has been with the company for 16 years and has sailed on numerous Holland America Line ships all over the world, though never to Tor Bay. He says, “Although it can be windy once in a while, it’s a beautiful bay to be in and we appreciate all the good support from the agent, pilots and local community.” englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

Chief Engineer, Bart Rodenrijs lives in Ireland and felt at home straight away in the Torbay area. He tells us that although the cliffs are not as high as in Ireland, our local landscape reminds him from the scenery in his home country. His role in the technical department helps to keeps the ship and its machinery running. Environmental Officer, Diana Mihalache is responsible for verifying compliance of all environmental aspects of Volendam. With the spring approaching, Diana is looking forward to the beautiful light days in the Bay. She loves writing blogs and has a website green-ships.com that raises awareness on the work the maritime industry is doing on sustainability and protection of the environment. Hotel Director, Ruben Kooiman greatly approves of the strong 4G signal on board the ship so he can stream his April/May 2021 | 27

from navigating through the busy waterways of South East Asia, to crossing vast oceans.” Josh started as a cadet with Holland America in 2010 and has been with the Volendam for the last six years. Safety Officer Maarten Janse is in charge of managing a team of two officers, two lifesaving equipment attendants, a locksmith and a fire safety attendant. His team take care of the 14 lifeboats, 34 rafts and their cranes, the watertight, shell Environmental Officer, Diana Mihalache; Hotel Director, Ruben Kooiman and fire doors, the fire hoses, the sprinkler and CO2 extinguishing favourite football team, Feyenoord Rotterdam. He loves system and the fire detection equipment. He says, “I the local scenery and hopes to return to this area one day really enjoy sailing in this beautiful location and hope to to enjoy a holiday. be coming back here again when the ships are back in full Second Officer Josh Banyard was born and raised in service” Plymouth. He says, “I’ve been fortunate during my career The crew certainly look forward to sailing with guests to visit many remote and beautiful parts of the world, again in the near future but meanwhile are happy to be

I really enjoy sailing in this beautiful location and hope to be coming back here again when the ships are back in full service

Above: Safety Officer Maarten Janse; Right: Plymouth-born Second Officer Josh Banyard

28 | April/May 2021

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Riviera Life here telling us, “Every day we spend in the bay is a great day - our team members on board are thankful for the beautiful views, experiencing four seasons in a day, and enjoying our monthly sailings to Portland. Our team members have really bonded with each other both on the job and during free time, which is so important when you spend 4-8 months aboard a ship.” The Volendam is currently on ‘Minimum Nonoperational Manning’ and has a complement of 89 crewmembers whereas during normal operations there would be approximately 650. Currently there are 29 in the Nautical Department, which includes sailors, navigational officers and security personnel all led by the Staff Captain. The Chief Engineer leads 32 crewmembers in the Technical Department, which includes a waste disposal operator plus engine crew. The Medical Department consists of a doctor and a nurse. There are 26 crew in the Hotel Department led by the Hotel Director including the housekeeping team and chefs plus restaurant, beverage, storekeeper and administration staff. Additionally, there is a Human Resources Manager and Environmental Officer.

During normal operations, the technical team numbers 70 members. The engine and control rooms are manned 24/7 by a team of three members. Tasks include keeping watch and maintaining systems like water makers, boilers, compressors and so on. The 1st engineer is responsible for maintaining chillers, fuel, cooling and propulsion systems and there is one engineer designated for engine maintenance together with an engine mechanic. Lastly, maintaining the technical part of safety systems on board such as lifeboat engines and fire pumps is essential. Currently the safety team consists of six crewmembers who have a great working relationship with their counterparts from the technical department. The bridge is manned 24/7, and there are six watches. The Staff Captain and Safety Officer also step in as watch keeping officers when the vessel is sailing. Aside from watch keeping duties the officers also work on voyage planning as well as giving training and instructions on handling emergency situations i.e. fire, man overboard and abandon ship drills. The Volendam has designated one specific engine to run during the pause operation, but they do swap engines

I’ve been fortunate during my career to visit many remote and beautiful parts of the world, rom navigating through the busy waterways of South East Asia, to crossing vast oceans


April/May 2021 | 29

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Riviera Life the fully equipped fitness area while some prefer to walk or occasionally, as planned maintenance has to be carried run on the open deck. There is access to the internet and the out. They have five engines in total - all are V12 type use of platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp mean that engines rated at 8.6MW each. In addition they run an they are able to stay in close contact with their families. Emergency and Additional Diesel Generator weekly for The Volendam crew really enjoy the lovely views on a 30 minutes. These engines have to be tested weekly so clear weather day and you may spot them watching the they know they are ready to go if an emergency occurs. skyline or the sunrise and sunset from the verandahs. When the workday is over the crew keeps itself Some of the crew have developed a connection with local entertained with a weekly karaoke session, an occasional Torbay residents via Facebook groups. They tell us, ”The movie night and keeping fit at the gym. They eat well of thing that struck our hearts the most since we’ve been in course. The Executive Chef Darren has been at sea for the bay were the Christmas many years. He customizes the menu to meet the Every day we spend in the bay is a hampers organized by local resident Louise Stafford. requirements of the eleven great day - our team members on These gifts included different nationalities from board are thankful for the beautiful beautiful handmade cards the various continents views, experiencing four seasons in by the children – we will for breakfast, lunch and a day, and enjoying our monthly never forget this. It really dinner. A few times a week, sailings to Portland reminded us of our families he will include a dinner back home that we all special, which is always miss so much. The generosity and warmth shown by the popular. With a galley brigade of four further cooks, he community has been really humbling, and we are truly also prepares a bi-weekly theme dinner that is beautifully grateful for their efforts to spread the festive cheer.” executed and thoroughly enjoyed by the team onboard. One thing is certain and that when the pandemic recedes Off-duty leisure pursuits include movies, interactive and the Volendam, along with its sister ships, sail off into TV programs, games like pool, table tennis, darts, the wild blue yonder, their crews will remember Tor Bay and a number of the latest PS4 games. They organize with affection and Torbay residents will certainly have fond tournaments and the teams get together regularly to enjoy memories of the ‘Year the Cruise Ships Came’.  a drink and catch up on the day. Everyone has access to

Did You Know? Art has always been important to the Holland America Line fleet, and traditionally the ships have always been filled with notable works. This includes many museum-quality antiques as well as contemporary art, both by recognized artists and, in particular on our newer ships, many aspiring artists. As the caretakers of these pieces, Holland America is rightly proud that its art collection ranks among the largest at sea and is worth many millions of dollars. englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

April/May 2021 | 31


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BE HAPPY AT HOME Let’s face it – we are all spending lots more time indoors and home improvements have never been so popular. We’ve got some great ideas to make your home a better place to be - to work, to study, to share family meals and to relax. Local businesses and tradespeople can help make your dream of the perfect home come true. >> Love Your Lounge

There is a wide range of quick fixes you can employ to make your lounge a much more appealing and relaxing place to be. A statement wall can add lots of glamour and will contrast well with neutral tones. Consider designer wallpaper and beautiful paints and if you can’t DIY then there are many local tradespeople who will give you the perfect finish. Once that’s done try some other easy ideas to transform your look: colourful rugs and bright cushions give a huge lift and strategically placed mirrors make any room seem larger. Getting your sofas re-covered in beautiful fabric and professionally plumped can make a world of difference - creative lighting will enhance your mood after the most fractious day. >> The Joy of


Soft lighting in the lounge and throughout the house can transform any room, illuminating dark corners, highlighting a special painting or creating a soft mellow atmosphere. A modern chandelier can be a really eyecatching piece and standard lamps, small table lamps and wall-mounted lights are fun to choose and an easy way to add style and character to the home without a huge outlay. englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

April/May 2021 | 37

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Riviera Homes & Interiors >> Fence

off the Kids

If you have small children try and find them a little space where they can have fun and let off steam. Room dividers and fenced play areas are worth their weight in gold and a dedicated study area for the older ones where bright posters and foldaway work-tables can be placed will make life much easier. If you have a whole room you can sacrifice, dividing it between a younger zone with lots of soft cushions and fun toys and an older area with tables for Lego and other more complex games and home schooling will avoid many quarrels.

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The enforced trend of working from home has been an eye-opener to some business-owners, who have realised the flexibility this can offer. Love it or hate it, many of us are spending a lot of working time at home. If you are lucky enough to have a room of your own, the world is your oyster with bookshelves, beautiful and efficient work stations and perfectly balanced seating arrangements to choose from. If, like many, you have to squeeze into a corner, a ‘work nook’ with some designated shelving, proper desk and chair and maybe even a folding screen can help create a more seemingly dedicated working environment.

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There are many local businesses, which offer the ultimate in fireplace heaven and can deliver and safely install your choice. Choose from wood burning and multi-fuel stoves, built-in gas and electric fires with realistic flames and some stunningly designed fireplace surrounds – traditional or contemporary. For the summer you can try outdoor patio and garden heaters for the ultimate good life.


There are endless ways to improve the way we live at home. Don’t forget though, that there are lots of local makers, designers and tradespeople who will provide a creative and professional service at a sensible price so do try them first.  englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

April/May 2021 | 39

Take the

secret path... Need to know

Distance: 5 miles Exertion: A strenuous walk! Time: Allow 3-3½ hours Terrain: Coast path of varying quality. Not suitable for pushchairs or very young children. Dogs: On leads where livestock present. Refreshments: ring o r as Start Postcode: TQ6 0EQ Grid Reference: SX 90953 51236


ith lockdown relaxed we’ve gone a bit further afield for a serious walk. Five minutes drive from Brixham lies some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the South West, if not the country. These stunning views are well worth the considerable effort that this walk requires and one doesn’t need to feel any shame at taking plenty of extended breathers to admire them. There is a lot of steep terrain so make sure you are equipped with good walking shoes and plenty to drink on a warm spring day. There’s much more to see as well as the views including the National Trust’s picturesque Coleton Fishacre, the ruined WWII defences of Brownstone Battery (now a National Coastwatch Institute station) at Inner Froward Point and for the curious, Dartmouth’s magnificent beacon to seamen, the Daymark. This circular route has options to extend or shorten - If you like a challenge then extend the route by taking the red route to Scabbacombe Head from point one. If it’s a hot day and the hills have got the better of you then either of the yellow routes will take you back to the car park.  40 | April/May 2021 | April/May 2021

1 Leave the National Trust Coleton Camp car park

by the kissing gate in the right hand corner and take the link path signposted for Ivy Cove to join the South West Coast Path. There are 4 stiles to climb along the way. Breathtaking views start from here along with steep climbs and deep combes. 2 Turn right and follow the South West Coast Path signs in a westerly direction until you come to a gate followed by a stepped descent down toward Pudcombe Cove where you can see the remains of a small sea pool and bathing platform once used by residents of Coleton Fishacre. Unfortunately the cove is no longer accessible due to erosion. Once at the bottom of the descent cross the small footbridge and follow the path to ascend the other side of the combe. There is an entrance to Coleton Fishacre House here (visitor charges apply when open). 3 Follow the path further westward toward Inner Froward Point and take in the stunning views. The path moves through a wooded section before arriving at Brownstone Battery, the WWII defences that are now an NCI lookout point.

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National Trust Coleton Fishacre




5 Kingswear Castle


NCI Froward Point

Ordnance Survey

© Crown copyright. Media 082/19

westward toward Kingswear through the woods above Newfoundland Cove then over a stile and down the woodland path that leads down steps to Mill Bay Cove. 5 Take the metalled road on the right then left over the stile and follow the steps up from the cove. Follow the signs to Brownstone and take the right hand fork to Home Farm. Then follow the footpath signs up the steep path to the concrete lane at Higher Brownstone Farm. 6 At this point you will see the Daymark, a tower that aids navigation, being the first object mariners sight when crossing the channel for Dartmouth. Detour to the right for 100 yards to access the site and marvel at the substantial stone

The Mew Stone

NCI Froward Point Coastwatch Station

4 From Brownstone Battery follow the coast path


structure. Follow the lane back up to the metalled road, past the Brownstone car park and entrance to Coleton Fishacre House and return to the Coleton Camp car park.


Please check before travelling as events are subject to change more than usual. Ongoing events reopen after ‘lockdown’.

Torquay’s Artizan Gallery and Artizan Collective Exhibitions and Events

Small Works Exhibition 13 April – 8 May Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm, Saturdays 10am-6pm This showcase of art will be entirely made up of works with dimensions less than 40x40cm with an upper price limit of £300, as they welcome back artists and audiences to otheir venues. Artizan Gallery & Café, 7 Lucius Street, Torquay, TQ2 5UW art-hub.co.uk/ex/asw21

in recent months.In contrast to this there is hope for the future and sections in the exhibition look to this new world with closer collaborations within our communities. This will be a thought-provoking exhibition incorporating a wide range of styles and mediums, with pieces that have been created by more than one of the artists and include different art forms intertwined. Artizan Gallery & Café, 7 Lucius Street, Torquay, TQ2 5UW art-hub.co.uk/ex/kernwo20 Outcrop Sue Coleman Kernow Creative Partnership

A Break in the Clouds Rosemary Bonney

The Sculpture Studio at Artizan Joining this newly renovated studio are Elizabeth Hadley, Ezra Bailey, Jenny Amon, Anthony Barclay and Sara Evans. The artists’ work is complementary to each another but there is a clear differentiation in medium, technique and style. Artizan Gallery & Café, 7 Lucius Street, Torquay, TQ2 5UW artizangallery.co.uk

English Riviera Photography Showcase

Creating for a New World 18-29 May Kernow Creative Partnership is a group of Cornwall based artists with some members having strong links with Torbay. They came together during lockdown and have been working ever since in collaboration to try to make sense of the current situation and to reach out for a brighter future. The subject matter ranges from the darkness felt by the artists during the worst of the pandemic, also reflecting the environmental crisis and black lives matter themes which have also been relevant

42 | April/May 2021 | April/May 2021

19 April-16 May Monday-Sunday 11am – 4pm Finding A Way Home is a multi-stranded photographic and digital artwork exhibition hosted by Artizan Collective CIC and co-curated and produced by The South West Collective and Artizan Gallery. Featuring a headline exhibition, a showcase of 5-8 spotlighted artists, and an open selection of individual works, this exhibition highlights work that considers the idea of ‘home’ both in the traditional sense and the contemporary context in light of the global pandemic. Artizan Collective Unit 5, 74 Fleet Street Torquay TQ2 5EB art-hub.co.uk/ex/erps21

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The Design Room – An Exhibition of Printmaking 24 May – 22 June The Design Room will welcome printmakers of all mediums, traditional and digital graphic design, and urban art forms in a showcase, which will combine works presented in their raw and polished forms. Artizan Collective Unit 5, 74 Fleet Street Torquay TQ2 5EB art-hub.co.uk/ex/tdr21

The GALLERY @Cockington Court 10.30am-4.30pm daily ngoing selling e hi ition sho ing the regions leading artists and makers. Items ranging from scarves, jewellery, ceramics, metalwork, artists cards, metalwork, collages, paintings and prints ont miss the a lo s cra t st dios too 01803 607230 Facebook @cockingtoncourt

Virtual Content at: art-hub.co.uk/postcards art-hub.co.uk/artistsupportpledge For more information contact: juliebrandon@artizangallery.co.uk 07522 509642 artizan gallery.co.uk Also check out art-hub.co.uk

Yalberton Craft Collective A group of young local artists aged 19-24 are working together to promote their crafts, having created a collective d ring the rst loc do n ng s, a e and ess are cousins who have been brought up on a cider farm in o th evon ng s and a es partners, opp and ais no also live in al erton ll ve o them live and work there together and among them are: a blacksmith,


a potter, a landscape oil painter, a woodworker, and a printmaker. They have all been self-taught in the lovely Yalberton Valley, exploring their favourite traditional crafts and take considerable pride in producing high quality items that will have undoubted appeal to wide range of people. Their website has a shop with a selection of beautiful items to browse. yalbertoncraftcollective.wordpress.com

April/May 2021 | 43

At Abbeyfield people are at the heart Supported Housing for Independent People of everything we do

Supported Housing for Independent People


Sheltered Housing for Independent People over 55

ABBEYFIELD SOUTH WEST SOCIETY staff, consisting of a Manager, cooks and a cleane oth Abbeyfield houses are situated in lovely areas, oasting their own beautiful grounds. Park House in who all work together to ensure residents are happy staff, consisting of a Manager, cooks and a cleaner Both Abbeyfield are situated in lovelypark areas, and content. aignton is situated directlyhouses opposite a beautiful boasting their own beautiful grounds. Park House in who all work together to ensure residents are happy nd is a five minute walk from the beach. Sanders and content. are various activities, events and entertainmen Paignton is situated directly opposite a beautiful park There Court in St Marychurch, Torquay, hastheabeach. wonderful and is a five minute walk from Sanders that take place throughout the year which the There are various activities, events and entertainment Court in St Marychurch, Torquay, has a is wonderful that take place throughout the wish. year which the arge private courtyard and the local precinct just a residents can join in if they large private courtyard and the local precinct is just a residents can join in if they wish. ve minute walk away, with all the amenities you would five minute walk away, with all the amenities you would Traditional home cooked meals are provided in the Traditional home cooked meals are provided in the xpect. Both sites offer public transport services expect. Bothgood sites offer good public transport services dining room every day and breakfast dining room every day and breakfast provisions areprovisions are by,and so it iseasy nice and easyand to goexplore. and explore. lose by, so it isclose nice to go provided for residents to have in their rooms. provided for residents to have in their rooms. At our Abbeyfield houses residents find friendship The weekly charge covers all utilities and food, so t our Abbeyfield houses residents find friendship Allsupport bills arelosing included, except telephone line &all calls and without their independence The charge utilities there weekly are no bills to worry covers about, other than a BTand food, so nd support and without dignity. losing their independence telephone lineno which the residents, there are billsis necessary to worryforabout, other than a B nd dignity. The rooms are unfurnished with en-suite facilities and telephone 24hr emergency pendant to work, so all concerns line which is necessary for the residents a kitchenette area. The houses have a communal

he rooms arelaundry, unfurnished withlounge en-suite and dining room, and facilities beautiful garden. kitchenette Each area. The houses have a communal house has a small and friendly committed aundry, dining room, lounge and beautiful garden.

about running a house are taken away.

24hr emergency pendant to work, so all concern Each room has its own 24hr emergency call system about running for residents peaceaofhouse mind. are taken away.

Each room has its own 24hr emergency call system for residents peacetelephone of mind. ach house has a To small and friendly committed arrange a visit or for more information

the Manager at: Park House, Paignton 01803 557732 or a forvisit Sanders Court, Torquay 01803 316164. arrange or for more information telephone Or visit our website: www.abbeyfield.com

To the Manager at: Park House, Paignton 01803 557732 or for Sanders Court, Torquay 01803 316164. Or visit our website: www.abbeyfield.com Registered Society No: 23413R under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014


Riviera People

Cath Cooke Transforming Occombe Farm

Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust (TCCT) has appointed Cath Cooke as General Manager for its brand-new visitor attraction at Occombe Farm.


xciting things are happening at Occombe Farm, wonderfully positioned at the head of the beautiful Occombe Valley and a haven for families and countryside lovers with its popular café, nature trail and ancient woodland. During lockdown the local charitable trust, which is funded by membership, donations, legacies, grants and management fees has been pressing ahead with plans to create an appealing year-round destination for residents and visitors including a greatly expanded farm shop, a bigger terrace for the café plus indoor and outdoor play areas for children. Cath has now joined the TCCT team to head up the final stages of Occombe’s regeneration and to lead the running of the new Occombe Farm once it opens this summer. She brings a wealth of experience having served 20 years in attraction management. She has a successful track record within many top national treasures including the Tate Modern and the V&A Museum of Art and Design. In the last ten years, Cath has been working for the National Trust as a General Manager in the South West. This role, in particular has been significant in ensuring that both local residents and the region’s visitors have (in normal times) been able to enjoy the natural beauty the South West has to offer. Cath says, “Not only will Occombe provide a great new destination for our local community to enjoy all year around, but also will support the great conservation work that TCCT undertakes in caring for our stunning green spaces and places.” Building work at Occombe is progressing well. TCCT has taken advantage of the latest national lockdown while farm and café were closed, to press on with the work and it is hoped that the majority of noisy building work will be completed before the café reopens in May. An extension to the old farm shop is being added to englishrivieramagazine.co.uk

Trust Director Damian Offer welcomes Cath to Occombe Farm along with John Stocks

create a floor space that is three times the current size. The farm shop extension is also providing Occombe Farm Café with its new, much larger terrace above. Work has also started to remove one of the barns, which will be replaced with a new, much larger one, to accommodate children’s indoor play. The new attraction at well-loved Occombe Farm will create as many as 60 new, full and part time jobs. Cath says, “I can’t wait to start recruiting new people to join our team and am looking forward to welcoming visitors in the summer.” The new attraction is also expected to offer more varied and interesting volunteer opportunities and allow the charity to generate additional vital revenue. It will certainly address a long-standing gap in Torbay’s visitor offering by providing a farm-based visitor attraction and by bringing a bigger share of regional visitor spending to the Bay. Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust is an independent charity that manages Torbay’s most important wildlife and heritage sites, including Berry Head National Nature Reserve, Cockington Country Park, Occombe Farm, The Seashore Centre, the South West Coast Path and the English Riviera Geopark.   countryside-trust.org.uk

April/May 2021 | 45

Promote your business in Torbay’s Best Glossy Magazine Since launching English Riviera magazine in August 2013 we have worked with many local companies helping them grow their businesses with a substantial return on their investment. Our aim has always been to deliver engaging, informative content marketing to inspire our readers, encouraging response for our advertisers. Walks Local Food Heritage Nature People Events Arts

Walks • Local Food • Heritage • Nature • People • Events • Arts

Walks • Local Food • Heritage • Nature • People • Events • Arts

Walks • Local Food • Heritage • Nature • People • Events • Arts

Soak up the summer with

WE MEET Lockdown Heroes


EnglishRiviera EnglishRiviera


EnglishRiviera EnglishRiviera Enjoy!

106 super events

Torbay Air Show Ways With Words Brixham Trawler Race and lots more...




June/July 2017


August/September 2017


Super Summer Events

June/July 2020

Give It A Go!


Snuggle up with a

Salty Sheep


Illustrator Extraordinaire

Take a virtual challenge...


Riviera Heritage Dr Herbert Chilcote Brixham Battery New! Heritage Trail

Paul Barclay

Picture Quiz

Where in the Bay?




June/July 2019

A Sailing Adventure with

Torquay's SEA ARCH In Trust


Who's protecting our beauty spots?



History & Heritage

Wilfred Owen's

Kents Cavern 140th Carews of Haccombe A Brixham GP in 1908 700 years of Carys

Torquay Vacation A Lifetime in Art

Give It A Go!

Bowls & Ladies Cricket


Cockington Florist

Vita Sumeiko


& Ron Campion

Brixham Stalwart





Sailing Special

Berry Head



Face Your Fears

Occombe & Paignton Harbour

Give It A Go!


at Virtual Jet Centre

Armchair Twitcher

Debbie MacPherson

Hidden Coves & Sparkling Beaches


We visit Bays Brewery

Fashioning Leather

Vistas & Views

Feathered friends in your garden

on the coastpath

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English Riviera Magazine for Residents by Residents

English Riviera Magazine for Residents by Residents




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60 short biographies of famous figures, past and present, associated with Devon

60 short biographies of famous figures, past and present, associated with Devon

If you’ve enjoyed reading our local heritage articles in English Riviera Magazine, you’ll love this new book by local author Ian L Handford. Famous Devon Figures costs £12.99 plus £5 postage and packing.

Compiled by

Ian L. Handford Published by Devon Magazine Company Ltd

TO ORDER YOUR COPY: Send a cheque to Devon Magazine Co Ltd, 69 Davies Avenue, Paignton TQ4 7AW, along with your name and postal address or order online at:


46 | April/May 2021 | April/May 2021

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Riviera Community

£25,000 Relocation Appeal Dart Sailability, which provides boating activities for the disabled, has had to weigh anchor and move from Noss on Dart Marina to Galmpton incurring major relocation costs. Can you help?


or 23 years Dart Sailability, which provides boating fun for people with a wide range of disabilities, has made its home at Noss on Dart Marina, with successive owners offering free berthing for this worthy cause. However, they must now weigh anchor and establish a new home for their charitable activities as they have been unable to secure affordable terms with new owners Premier Marinas. The good news is that the charity has now been welcomed by MDL Marinas at Dartside Quay in Galmpton, and Dolphin Quay has offered some free moorings. Naturally Dart Sailability and its members are immensely relieved and grateful. However relocation costs are very high. They include: over £10,000 for a ramp and pontoon so disabled sailors can access boats safely, the renovation of a Portakabin which will become a club house (£6,500), dinghy trollies (£1100), generator (£850), hoist (£300), clubhouse furniture (£750) and other significant moving costs including fuel tanks, tools, transport and ground works. In addition, it costs about £20,000 to keep the charity afloat annually. Principal of Dart Sailability Ian Wakeling says, “We desperately need financial help for these very significant relocation costs and our target is £25,000. Our sailors and volunteers get so much out of their sailing and activities and it is crucial that we deliver a really good summer programme of events. There is absolutely no doubt that our sailors’ mental and physical wellbeing and enjoyment are greatly enhanced by being out on the


water and the freedom that sailing on the beautiful River Dart gives. The clubhouse will be a real asset for all our members, old and new.” Volunteers and sailors are standing by, ready to start preparing the new base and moving boats. This will provide members who have a wide range of physical and learning disabilities with the opportunity to get back out on the wonderful River Dart. These opportunities include cruises in a specially built landing craft, which can take a number of wheelchairs. Members can sail a range of purpose built and adapted sailing boats or learn to drive a powerboat. In 2018-19 Dart Sailability delivered 635 sailor days of activity supported by 860 volunteer days of support and, despite the Covid pandemic, the charity found ways for some sailors and volunteers to safely enjoy some sailing on the river last summer. The charity, which was established in 1997 is run and managed purely by volunteers and is a Royal Yachting Association Recognised Training Centre and also a centre of excellence for Sailability in the South West. It has identified numerous tailored access points for disabled people along the River Dart so they can enjoy its beautiful scenery, heritage and wildlife.   dartsailability.org

To Donate There is a donation button on the website and there are further details including how to donate by BACS or by cheque on the home page. April/May 2021 | 47

Mr Fox’s Garden In this issue Mr Fox decides to reprieve some mice he finds living in his greenhouse, gets to grips with homemade compost and muses over the unfortunate reputation of the lovely dandelion.


t’s that time of year again, tidy up time in the greenhouse, time to give the windows a good scrub with hot soapy water and get rid of all the algae. Our greenhouse becomes a dumping zone through the winter months, storing anything I need to keep dry and all the succulents too. I popped by to assess the job; it was one of those really cold mornings at the start of March. I detected a distinct smell in there. Mice, I thought to myself - poor little souls, they must be freezing out in this weather. I closed the door and walked away thinking they’ll have to go, but not today. I found some clothes pegs I ordered on the internet last summer; they’d come direct from China, by air mail. One year later and they’ve already become brittle, cracked and broken. One thing’s for sure; the archaeologists of the future won’t be delicately brushing away the earth to reveal traces of us, there’ll be junk every where. We are in the ‘plastic age’. This year I’m really going to make an effort in the greenhouse; I doubt I’ll grow Torbay’s biggest marrow but I’m going to try. I heard about ‘Just Eat’ the other day, the idea being you’re sitting there and you pick up your phone and order some food. Then someone drives it over to you and you ‘just eat’. Sounds good but everyone knows that the best meals are home cooked and home grown. I’m planning on going one better this year; I’m doing home grown in my own homemade compost. I’ve bought myself a fancy new compost bin, called a Hotbin. It was Product of the Year at the 2019 Chelsea

Flower Show and I’ve wanted one ever since. £180 for a compost bin is a bit steep but I justified it by working out what I can save on buying compost from the shops. Wow it’s fantastic; all the garden waste and food waste goes in and before long it’s not waste any more. The Hotbin is literally eating it and it will soon be giving us back fine rich compost (in 50 days). I’ll let you know what it’s like when I get the final product but even before it’s produced anything, the Hotbin is definitely the highlight of my year and my new favourite member of the family. So maybe preparing a good meal should begin a year in advance when you’re mixing the compost in which you’ll be planting your food. If anyone in Torquay manages to grow any giant veg please send me a picture, I’d love to see it. My email is James.a.fox@outlook.com A few years ago when saving bees was becoming popular. I was declaiming ‘Save the Dandelions!’ Dandelions are just as good a pollinator as any flower but what kind of gardener can make a living whilst not wanting to pull out dandelions out? I still claim dandelions are lovely little plants; if they were difficult to grow everyone would want them... Enjoy Spring!

Mr Fox

We are James and Catherine (Mr Fox’s Garden). We provide a garden maintenance and landscaping service around the Bay but the main part of our business is making plant supports, garden art and sculptures - and it’s all made right here on the English Riviera. After our display garden won the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Tavistock Garden Show, we can now happily say we are ‘award winning gardeners’. We’re also proud to say that this year we have pieces on permanent display at RHS Rosemoor and Buckfast Abbey.

mrfoxsgarden.com 48 | April/May 2021

Mr Fox

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Rejuvenate your borders

Buddleja davidii butterfly bush

Early spring is a great time to revitalise and replan garden borders. New plants can be settled in before the growing season really kicks off; prune mature shrubs hard to reinvigorate and encourage new healthy growth; herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses can be divided to turn single plants or small groups into large, eyecatching spreads. A variety of approaches will be needed when renovating borders. Start by looking at the largest plants – usually shrubs. Even quite mature plants, particularly evergreens,

can be moved to a new site if done with care. It very much depends on the type and the root system, but if a plant is in the wrong place, it’s worth a go. Make sure to check for nesting birds first. Get the new planting hole prepared first then dig round the plant and slip a piece of tarp underneath to keep as much soil round the roots as possible. The other option is to hard prune - the usual method of rejuvenating a mature plant is to thin out about a third of the oldest stems near the ground, letting light and air through the congested centre and encouraging new growth. However, there are some shrubs such as camellias and laurels that can be taken back almost to the Hard Pruning - thin out about a third of the oldest stems near the ground


ground, even when mature, and which will regrow really well. Also late-summer flowering shrubs such as butterfly bush (Buddleja) can be hard pruned in total too. Introducing just a few new plants to a border can make a wonderful transformation. Think about contrasting shape, foliage, and stem colour, as these will impact all year. Flowers are delightful, of course, and choosing blooms for a succession of colour through every season will pay dividends. Choose pollinator-friendly plants wherever possible; bees, butterflies and other insects need every bit of help we can give. 

Seasonal jobs for April - Plant lily bulbs in tubs or in the ground, into well drained soil or compost. - Big clumps of crocus and snowdrops can be transplanted now by lifting the clump, separating into several clusters of bulbs, and replanting for next year. - Save a lot of hard work later by keeping on top of those weed seedlings. Whizz round with a hoe on a dry day to slice off young weeds. - Instead of weedkiller, kill weeds the slow and easy way, by covering the ground with light-excluding brown cardboard or landscaping fabric. - Plant seed potatoes, onion sets, shallot, and garlic varieties that are suitable for spring planting. April/May 2021 | 49

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