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My Council

Tarka Valley Railway 150th Anniversary open weekend

I was invited to attend the Tarka Valley Railway 150th Anniversary open weekend which was opened on Saturday 6th August 2022 by Cllr Andrew Saywell from Devon County Council. Following the official opening myself, Cllr Saywell (DCC) and Cllr Michael Ireland (Okehampton Town Council & Chair of Okerail) accompanied John Puddy (Chair of Freshspring Trust) on his miniature traction engine along the Tarka Trail to Bideford Station. There we were met by Cllr Jude Gubb (the Mayor of Bideford) who joined us on the return journey to Torrington Station.

The weather was beautiful for our journey and we met many people along the way who were no doubt surprised to see the unusual traffic coming towards them.

John Kelly Obituary

It is with great sadness that the town has learned of the passing of John Kelly, ex-councillor and Mayor of Great Torrington.

John gave many years of service to Great Torrington.  He worked as a local policeman and he was a long-standing town councillor, during which he held the position of Mayor in 1988, 1989, 1996 and 1997.  John was also a keen bingo caller in his spare time and offered his services to other Mayors on several occasions to assist with their fundraising activities. 

On behalf of the Town Council and the community of Great Torrington I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends in their time of grief.

Councillor Doug Smith, Mayor of Great Torrington

Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service 13th November 2022

This year Remembrance Sunday falls on the 13th November 2022. The Royal British Legion will once again hold a Remembrance Ceremony at the War Memorial in the Cemetery, commencing at 10.50am.

There will be some significant changes this year.

1. The Parade Route: The Parade will form at the Old Bowling Green and parade “UP” New Street to the Cemetery.

2. Dismissal at the end of the Service: The Service will be dismissed in the cemetery, contrary to previous arrangements. The mayor will give his thanks followed by “God Save The Queen” – 2 verses. The order for dismissal will allow for those at the back to be the first to leave.

3. Standard Practice: Will move from the Pannier Market to the Town’s Band room in Castle Street. Further information will be sent to individual organisations nearer the time.

Ordering of wreaths will be the same as last year and should be ordered direct from the Royal British Legion in plenty of time. A wreath can be ordered by contacting the Royal British Legion on 0345 845 1945. The wreath will be posted out to you.

Karen Chapman (Town Clerk)

Mayors August Crier Article

Following an incredibly busy May and early June, life has returned to some semblance of normality!

In June I was very happy to accompany Councillor Jude Gunn, The Mayor of Bideford to the Ceremony of flag raising on Armed Forces Day in Victoria Park. Councillor Doug Bushby Chair of TDC and several Torridge District Councillors were also in attendance.

The second meeting of Torrington Together since the lifting of restrictions at the end of June was a great success. We heard from speakers representing Torrington in Bloom, Tarka Valley Railway, RHS Rosemoor, Torrington Silver Band, Cavaliers and many more. The evening was well attended, and as always, it was great to hear updates from various organisations across the town. We are very fortunate to have so many volunteers working hard in the community!

The Town Council along with the town was very sad to hear of the death of Dr Harry Cramp MBE. Harry was a long-serving councillor, thrice Mayor and a Freeman of the town. Many people remember him fondly as their GP, and stories of Harry abound. I was privileged to spend a morning with him earlier this year on the day before his 90th birthday, when we had a couple of hours of laughter and exchanged tales of travel

The day of Harry’s funeral saw a packed St Michael’s and all Angels church where the congregation gathered to pay their final respects and celebrate Harry’s amazing life whilst mourning his passing. A much loved and respected local legend! On the day, someone commented that the church was about the safest place to have a medical emergency, as there were so many doctors under the one roof, either Harry’s offspring, or former colleagues. Family and friends gathered in the Town Hall after the service for the ‘Wake’.

Brian Wood’s unexpected death came just a couple of days after Harry’s funeral. A loss of yet another local character! Brian was a former Mace Bearer for the Town Council as well as having worked in the town, keeping it tidy. Brian will be sorely missed within the community and our condolences go to Brian’s family and friends.

One of my Charities this year is The Devon Air Ambulance who held an Open Day at Bideford Rugby Club during one of our mini heatwaves. Luckily our Local Ice Cream van was in attendance and performed magical restorative powers to many in need. The Helicopter is a regular visitor to our skies, and only a day or so before this event, one had responded to a call by landing in Torrington Football Club Ground. Many people don’t realise that the Air Ambulance is financed solely by public donations. I would therefore encourage any donations to be made if you are able.

At the time of writing this article the community was experiencing a number of serious incidents in our normally tranquil town. A couple of thefts, anti-social behaviour and serious incidents of arson had been reported, all of which were extremely upsetting and dangerous.

The Council has limited Powers, but in response to this spate of incidents, has arranged a meeting between a number of agencies who do have influence, and include the Police, Torridge District Council, GTS and the Fire Service in an attempt to facilitate a coordinated community response. The Town Council is incredibly shocked and saddened by these events and hope that we can work together as a community to ensure that all matters are dealt with appropriately and for restoration of a sense of calm within our midst.

On a brighter note, as I write, we are in the middle of a heatwave, so please do be conscious of the dangers to vulnerable people and animals. Pavements are blisteringly hot, and paws are very susceptible to burning… Enjoy the weather, but be vigilant.

Mayor’s Civic Parade and Service

The Mayor, Councillor Doug Smith will hold his Civic Service at the Methodist Church, Mill Street, Great Torrington on Sunday 4th September 2022 at 10:30am.

Councillors, uniformed organisations, Trustees, Conservators, and Chairs or Presidents of the Chamber of Trade, Rotary and Royal British Legion are requested to assemble in Sydney House Car Park outside the Castle Hill building at 10am.

STANDARDS should NOT be paraded.

Karen Chapman (Town Clerk)

Local Applications for Grant Aid 2023/24

Great Torrington Town Council administers the Commons Allotment Charity. Each year the charity allocates its small amount of funds to locally based community groups. In addition, there are a number of Precept Grants awarded every year.

Applications for either/both grant types during the year 2023/2024 are now open and the application form can be obtained electronically here or in paper format from the Council office. Please contact Charlotte Kirby, Assistant Town Clerk on 01805 626135 between 9am and 1pm Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday or email her on for more information.

Please ensure completed applications are submitted no later than 12 noon on Thursday 8th September 2022.

Karen Chapman, Town Clerk

Job Opportunity – Town Clerk

Great Torrington Town Council is looking for a town clerk and responsible financial officer to join their team.


Job title: Town clerk and responsible financial officer (RFO)

Organisation: Great Torrington Town Council

Salary: £34,373-£36,371 (SP 30-32) per annum pro rata

28 hours per week plus evening and very occasional weekend work

Application deadline: 17th August 2022 (12 pm), Interview date: Wednesday 24th August 2022.

County: Devon

Email address:

Phone number: 01805 626135


This is an exciting opportunity to become part of an established but growing town council in an attractive historical North-Devon Market Town.

The council seeks a skilled and resilient person to lead us into the future.

You will need to be able to provide strong leadership and build a wide range of positive working relationships with councillors, staff and partner organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors. You will also need to undertake the statutory duties of the town council.

In return, the council offer a generous salary, access to the local government pension scheme and enhanced holiday entitlement. This is an opportunity for an experienced, solutions-focused manager who is dynamic and innovative, and who will work with councillors to meet the aspirations of the people of Great Torrington. Experience of acting as a town clerk/assistant town clerk is helpful, but not altogether necessary if the right person demonstrates the ability to progress swiftly into the role.

For an informal discussion please contact Karen Chapman on 01805 626135.

A job description and application form are available below:-

Post expires at 1:00pm on Wednesday August 17th, 2022