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My Council

Mayor’s April Crier Article

Where is this year going? I hope you are all keeping well and continuing to stay safe during these difficult times, and that you are remaining hopeful about the way forward. It is important to keep reminding ourselves of how far we have come and that we will come through this time and be all the stronger when we do.

Beginning to think ahead, I am especially looking forward to our independent shops re-opening. Our town centre is full of many unique shopping opportunities and to be able to come into town to buy a gift or a treat for yourself will be very special. I would like to re-enforce my Mayor’s challenge to “Shop Local” as much as you can. Our traders have all been incredible during the pandemic; either adjusting work patterns, or closing altogether for our safety; all so that we have been able to shop for essentials and  keep safe! Please support them back as we transition into restrictions being lifted.

Whilst my calendar remains quite empty in terms of events, the Town Council has continued to be busy and we have used this to work on some marketing initiatives. The new Marketing Working Group have been very proactive recently and you will note from other articles and the CRIER’s front cover that we will soon have two map trails available for the town. This is an exciting initiative and we hope that locals and visitors will learn more about the town’s rich heritage.

I know we are all anxious to get back to some kind of normality, but we must remain vigilant and remember the three disciplines… hands, face and space. We are incredibly fortunate that rates have been so low in Great Torrington and Torridge so let’s keep it that way.

As always, please do not hesitate to get in contact if you need anything; I’m very happy to help in any way I can!

Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington


A Tribute to Christine Porter

Members, officers and volunteers of the Town Council were deeply saddened to hear the news of the untimely death of Christine Porter.  Christine was instrumental in setting up the GTTC Dementia Friendly Community Working Group, striving to improve all aspects of day-to-day living within the community for those living with dementia as well as their Carers.  Christine was passionate about this initiative and worked extremely hard “on the ground” and alongside other members of the group.  Christine was an inspiration to so many and will be greatly missed by everyone who worked with and had the privilege to know her.  Our thoughts are vey much with Christine’s family and friends at this sad time.

Karen Chapman (Town Clerk)

Great Torrington Town Council Marketing Working Group

We reported last December about the newly formed Marketing Working Group.  Since then, the group has been busy and you will note from the front page of the CRIER, one of the main pieces of work has been updating the “Town Map” and John Wardman’s “Civil War Trail”.  These will join the new “Heritage Trail” map which was finalised at the end of last year, created by Emily Wapshott and the Futures Group. By mid-April, we will have 3 maps available in paper form and will distribute these far and wide, but would also like to encourage our local residents to grab copies and either have a look at what the town has to offer in respect of a unique shopping experience and/or take in one of the history trails and learn more about the wonderful heritage of your amazing town!

Last Autumn, the CDT asked the Town Council if we would take over the membership of the North Devon Marketing Bureau (NDMB). Members agreed  and we have ensured that we have maximised the quota of  photos we are able to display on the Visit Devon website as well as populated the site with appropriate information about Great Torrington.  In addition, we have also subscribed to a half page advert in the “Visit Devon” booklet which is distributed nationally.

We have spent some time boosting the One Great Torrington website by adding in various community groups.  It is envisaged that the “OneGreatTorrington” website ( will be the portal for the town and will point people to various activities, shops, groups etc.

Closer to home again, we are looking at other activities and opportunities. The working group is currently planning a History Alive weekend in September 2022, which was reported on last month and there is talk of designing a heritage calendar for 2022. We are also looking for local treasure hunt style activities throughout the town which can be added to the One Great Torrington website to be used by a whole host of people, including children.  If you have any such trails, and you are happy to share them, please contact the Town Council.

What continues to be evident throughout all of this work is the plethora of volunteers who work tirelessly and passionately for the community of Great Torrington. We are very fortunate!

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any ideas as to how we can promote the great things our town has to offer and keep an eye out in future editions of The Crier for updates on how we are progressing.

Mayor’s March Crier Article

As I write this, we are still in a national lockdown and I hope you are all keeping well.  I am aware that times have continued to be difficult, but know that people are helping each other across the community. Please don’t forget to reach out for help if you need it.

January seemed to last a long time but we are hopeful that once we get to March, we will see the coming of Spring. Let’s hope that brings us all a little bit of joy and sunshine

I have not been as busy as I would like recently as all events I would be usually attending are cancelled however, I have enjoyed doing various interviews over the last few weeks. I was pleased to be able to talk to Devon Live about my time as Mayor and about being a young mayor and Town Councillor. As much as I enjoy talking about my role, I always take these chances to talk about how Great, Great Torrington is! I can’t wait until a time when we can safely invite visitors so that they can see for themselves all the lovely things we have to offer!

As an off shoot of this interview, I was contacted by Kevin Wadland from Plymouth Hospital Radio to record something for the hospital radio station. This was something very different for me but very exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The interview will be put out on a Saturday morning at Derriford Hospital and will also be available to listen to on SoundCloud.

Whilst we are not organising our usual annual events at the Town Council over the next few months, we are still very much, “business as normal” and are working on some exciting projects, one being our new Marketing Working group. Great Torrington has so much to offer and we are looking to ensure we celebrate it and publicise for locals and visitors. We are focussing on the heritage, environmental, cultural aspects alongside the independent small shopping experience.  We are actively working on various maps, which include a History Trail, organised by the Futures Group, Civil War Trail and a map of the town centre of Great Torrington setting out the various shops and businesses.

I want to thank everyone who has joined this group. These relatively quieter times have given us a chance to prepare for the future of the town.

Another longer-term project is a History Alive Weekend, being headed up by John Wardman, Dave Gibbons, Peter Hood in conjunction with the Marketing Group. The sub-group have been working extremely hard on this idea and the committee were delighted to hear an update last month; more information is included in a separate article this month.

I hope, by the time this article reaches you all, that we will see ourselves in a different position. The vaccines are being rolled out and I want to thank everyone in our community who has played their part.

As always, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if you need anything.

Cllr Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington

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History Alive

We know we live in a historic town when our “New” Street was built in the 12th century, but how much do we really know about our town’s history and the lives of the people who lived here before us? Wouldn’t it be something if the past could come to life?

That’s the whole idea of “History Alive”. The event will be part of a national heritage weekend 10th-11th September 2022. Alongside the Town Council’s newly formed Marketing Working Group and using the inspiration of other local groups in our town and groups of friends and individuals, we aim to recreate some of the events that have shaped our town and the nation’s history. We could portray anything from Great Torrington’s role in making the nation’s favourite tinned rice pudding, and fashionable gloves, through to the transport innovations of the canal and railway. The town has been no stranger to conflict. There have been conflicts over Great Torrington cemetery, the fencing-in of common land, with the lepers, the destruction of two castles, and national conflict between Cavaliers and Roundheads that was fought out on our streets in 1646. More recently the impact of the First and Second world wars on the town.

As a town, over the years, we have showcased our history: the Cavaliers re-enacted the explosion of Great Torrington church in 1646 at one of their famous bonfires, the informative work done by the Rolle Canal and Tarka Valley Railway groups, the role of the old Torrington 1646 centre, and the work of the local history society. Plus, the local history work done in our schools, and by the Commons Conservators, the Plough and its musicians and players, local historical authors and the Taddiport Lepers. The Mayfair Carnival is a yearly witness to the creativity of local groups and groups of friends. Let’s bring it all together on a weekend in 2022, with talks, demonstrations, guides, re-enactments etc. Starting the planning now, gives us the time we need to formulate ideas and by Autumn this year we could be ready to go to press for inclusion in national and regional tourist publicity literature. We really want to involve as many local people and community groups as possible so to learn more and get involved, please contact one of us.

Town Council:; 01805 626135

John Wardman:; 01805 622622

Dave Gibbons: 

Peter Hood:       01805 622433

Annual Town Meeting – Thursday 15th April 2021

Notice is hereby given that Great Torrington Annual Parish Meeting will be held via Video Conference on Thursday 15th April 2021 at 7.00 pm. 

The Mayor of Great Torrington will submit a report on the Town Council’s activities during 2020/21.  Consideration will be given to any matters raised by Registered Electors who reside within the parish of Great Torrington.

We would be very pleased to see members of the community at this meeting and would value your thoughts regarding priorities for the Council going forward.

For Video Conference details to enable you to join the meeting, please contact the Town Council before Thursday 15th April @ Noon

Karen Chapman (Town Clerk)

Post expires at 7:00pm on Thursday April 15th, 2021

Mayor’s February Crier Article

I hope you all had a happy and healthy New Year and an enjoyable Christmas, despite the restrictions. I would like to thank all key workers who worked during the Christmas period in our hospitals, nursing homes and other sectors. You have all been there for people who may not have been able to see their family and I am sure they are all very grateful.

We now find ourselves in another lockdown due to Covid-19. At the time of writing this, we have been fortunate to have relatively low numbers of cases in Great Torrington. I am sure that it is thanks to everyone playing their part to keep our community safe. I would therefore like to thank all our essential shops for continuing to step up to serve our community and to ensure that everyone has exactly what they need, as well as our ‘non-essential’ shops who have had to close once again to help towards keeping our town safe.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas I was delighted to hear that may local traders were busy and felt very well supported by the community. It seems that people really embraced the ‘shop local’ message! I would urge you all to continue this during these next few weeks and, once we can shop a little more normally again, to continue to support all of our local traders. We have so much to offer in Great Torrington and I for one cannot wait until more of our shops are open again.

With various vaccines now approved, there is the beginning of a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. I have heard of a number of people in our town being called up for their vaccines, along with many of our nursing home staff and residents. This is a great step for everyone in our town and I look forward to a time when more of us can be vaccinated. However, for now, we must remain vigilant as there is still a long way to go.

Business at the Town Council remains open! However, the office remains closed for face-to-face interaction, but we can still be contacted either by phone, email or via our website/Facebook pages. We are currently working with TTVS who have various services available for anyone needing help in these uncertain times.

Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you need anything.

Cllr Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington

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All mapped out!

There’s a lot going on in Devon right now by way of coronavirus vaccination and testing centres, so Devon County Council and NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have created a map to show you what’s happening where.

The information is pulled together from various places, and includes hospital vaccination hubs, local vaccination centres, temporary GP vaccination clinics, large scale vaccination centres, and pharmacy vaccination sites.

You can also find your nearest community testing sites, NHS mobile testing units, NHS local testing sites and NHS regional testing sites.