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Mayors News

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


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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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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Mayor’s December/January Crier Article

At the time of writing this article we are back into tighter restrictions following the Government’s decision last week, effective from the 5th November. We will have to wait to see what happens on December the 3rd and my hope is that the number of people affected by Covid19 will have reduced and if appropriate restrictions will be relaxed as we move towards Christmas.

I have been impressed again by the town traders who have risen to the challenge a second time as “essential” providers, as well as those traders and businesses who have had to close again; but despite this have remained up-beat and been incredibly innovative.

In October I was delighted to be asked to “Switch on” the new floodlights at Donnacroft Playing Fields for Torridgeside Football Club. It was a fabulous evening and one which was an example of Torridge side and the Town Council working well together. We wish them good luck in the future!

You will note from an article in this CRIER about Remembrance that we filmed two separate ceremonies prior to the 5th November and aired one on Remembrance Sunday and the other on Armistice Day. Both occasions were incredibly poignant and gave a window for everything to stop and “remember” what so many gave for the lives of others. I would like to give a special thank you to Torrington Silver Band’s Nick Megson, for playing the Last Post, the Chairman of the Great Torrington Branch of the Royal British Legion, Sid Adams, and The Royal British Legion Chaplain, Reverend Peter Bevan for joining my beadle and me on these very special occasions.

As we head towards Christmas, I would urge everyone to consider “buying local”, if at all possible. We have so many lovely independent shops and a unique pannier market where you really can buy lovely original gifts and support the “local small shops” as you do. As well as this, we all play a part in keeping our local economy strong!

I would like to mention the Mayor’s Raffle which is taking place throughout December up to the 18th. I would thank everyone who has donated a prize and would encourage as many people as possible to buy a ticket or 2 in support of my two charities this year, “Friends of the Library” and Torrington Silver Band.

Now I’d like to wish you all a very peaceful and healthy Christmas time on behalf of myself and all at the Town Council. We look forward to a calmer 2021!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything, I can help you with.
Cllr Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington

Mayor’s November Crier Article

This year is certainly running away with us! I do hope you are continuing to keep well and are adjusting to the changing rules and the situation we find ourselves in. So far, we have been extremely lucky in Great Torrington, but we must continue to be vigilant; I want to thank everyone who is keeping us safe and to our local traders who are doing all they can to ensure we can continue to shop in safety.

On the 16th of September, I was thrilled to finally be able to hand over my Mayor’s Good Citizen Award to the “Knit and Natter” Group. I met with Rose and Marg, who received the award on behalf of the group. I thanked them both for setting up and being a part of such a fantastic group. We all remember the brilliant display of Poppies that donned the Town Hall last November for Remembrance, of which I was very humbled to unveil. The group has brought lots of people from both the town and the outskirts together and has created strong friendships; something I think everyone values, even more so in these strange times.

Whilst times are uncertain, I have been very pleased to see two new shops open in our lovely town. Firstly, I visited Deborah at Lilian Rose Interiors on the 24th September and took a look around her beautiful shop. Definitely worth a visit, especially if you enjoy lovely interior design.

In early October a new business “Polish me Pretty” opened in the Pannier Market. Sarah and Anna are offering something very different which adds to the great variety of choice available. I wish them both all the very best for their new venture!

It is just over a year now since I launched my Mayor’s Challenge to, “love your town and shop local”. I have been excited to see people taking part and realising how much we really do have to offer here in Great Torrington. I am continuing with this challenge and I recommend that everyone visits our town centre at least once a week and visit our shops, businesses, cafes and Pannier Market. We can play a part in keeping our local economy strong by supporting “local” as much as we can. I always love the saying “when you buy from a small business, the owner does a little happy dance” – lets create more happy dances!

Finally, I want to thank everyone who joined our Torrington Town Tidy over the weekend of 26th and 27th September. It was slightly different to our usual event but I felt sure that you would all do your bit and help to keep our town beautiful! I was especially delighted to see some young people joining in; they are our future and it’s amazing to see how much they care about their community at such a young age. My thanks also to Cllr Clayton who helped me organise the event and started a week early by cleaning the outside of the Great Torrington Heritage Museum – we are one team at the Town Council and I am very proud of how well we all work together.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you need anything.
Cllr Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington

Mayor’s October Crier Article

I hope you have all had an enjoyable Summer, although times may be different at present, it has been lovely to be able to see more of you out and about and also to see visitors enjoying our lovely town.

I am thankful to have finally been able to do some official duties. On Saturday 15th August, I was proud to lead a small group in commemorating the 75th anniversary of VJ Day. It is extremely important that we continue to remember these important dates and ensure we always pay thanks to those who gave so much for us. My thanks go to Nick Megson from Torrington Silver Band and everyone else who was able to join us, albeit we were restricted to how many could be there due to Covid19 restrictions.

I was finally able to hand over the Town Council’s Howe Plate award for Community Service to Pauline Baker for all she has done for the Great Torrington Mayfair and Carnival Committee. Pauline humbly reinforced that she was accepting the award on behalf of the whole committee and for the joint effort in all of the hard work that goes into organising our special day – it really is a team effort but I know all members will agree that we would be lost without Pauline and all she does.

On the 19th of August I was delighted to unveil the new gate at Jubilee Wood and the new Bridge just below. Cutting the ribbon with a pair of shears was a first for me! These have been two projects that have been progressing for quite a while and it was lovely to see them come to fruition and a big “thankyou” to all those who have worked so hard. Special thanks to Alan Williams and volunteers working on Jubilee Wood and to Al Mitchel and the Commons Conservators for the fantastic new bridge. We are very lucky to live in such a beautiful area and be surrounded by people who care so much about keeping it safe, protected and looking its best.

It feels like so long ago now, but I am pleased to report that I completed my charity tandem skydive at Skydive Buzz Dunkeswell on Sunday the 19th of July. The event was made even more special as it coincided with my lovely Nan’s birthday! It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I want to thank everyone who sponsored me. Since the event took place, I have received an additional £700 which will be divided between both of my charities from last year.  This now takes the total funds raised for 19/20 to £5,200. I cannot thank you all enough for your support.

Whilst we continue to adjust to the “new normal”, I have been really pleased to see so many people shopping local and supporting our independent traders; including shops  in our Pannier Market on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. We have so much to offer and I am excited about progressing with our new Marketing Working Group so that we can begin to really shout about what we have here in Great Torrington!

Please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if you need anything or would like my support.

Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington

VJ Day Commemorations

On Saturday 15th August the Mayor of Great Torrington was honoured to join a small group at the War Memorial to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day. The Mayor and her Deputy Cllr Doug Smith, joined Nick Megson from Torrington Silver Band and the Town Council Beadle, Andy.  The last post was played followed by a two minutes silence.  After the silence was broken the Mayor laid a wreath on behalf of the Town Council and read a “Tribute to the Millions”.  The Beadle finished by saying the Kohima Epitaph and everyone present joined with “We will remember them”.  The Mayor thanks the small group who joined them at the War Memorial to ensure we remember those who selflessly gave their lives for us.

Mayor’s Charity Sky Dive

I am actually completely speechless and cannot describe how incredible it felt jumping out of a plane at 15000ft! The free-fall was probably the most intense thing I have ever experienced, traveling at up to 120mph, but one of the best feelings ever.I then had around 5 minutes of floating back to to earth taking in all the views – I can’t thank my instructor enough for making that experience so amazing, doing spins and generally keeping me calm and making the whole experience less nerve wracking (If anyone is ever thinking of doing a skydive, I cannot recommend the team enough, put at ease straight from the start!) I’m genuinely sad that it is now over but can’t thank everyone enough for supporting me and sponsoring me – I will update a final total soon.Lastly, thank you to my family and friends that came along with me today, for waiting all morning for the cloud to clear and then being there to see me safely to the ground – especially little Reggie, who was just great all day!All monies raised for my skydive will be going to my 2019/2020 charities, The Torrington Police Amateur Boxing Club and The First Torrington Scouts 🙂

Mayor’s August/September Crier article

I hope by the time this article reaches you all, you are all keeping well and enjoying the eased restrictions whilst continuing to adhere to updated government guidelines. I for one am enjoying seeing our local shops back open and trading and look forward to continuing my ‘Mayors Challenge’.

Whilst official duties for me remain quiet, I am now back to work and enjoying that little sense of normality again. I have however taken this opportunity to use Zoom to speak to two Rotary clubs (Winchester and Taunton Vale) about my journey to becoming Mayor and how proud I am of my great town. It was great to talk about my journey and met lots of new people, that, without virtual technology, would have been a lot harder to organise. Whilst I am missing face to face meetings, there does seem to be a sense of convenience to online meetings!

Saturday 4th July saw the biggest change in restrictions so far and it was good to see the town busy and people shopping local while adhering to social distancing. I have been mindful not to push the Mayor’s Challenge so much during lock down, but I feel now is the time to pick this up again and encourage all residents of Great Torrington to venture into town at least once a week and support our local traders. They have all worked extremely hard to make shopping safe and welcoming and I know they will all appreciate your support. Please feel free to share your purchases with me, it’s great to see what you are all able to find in Great Torrington.

I would like to give a shout out to Maya and Megan’s World of Sweetness – two young entrepreneurs who have recently set up their own business selling candy floss and other sweet treats! They set up outside our town hall on the 4th of July and had a very successful day. I really do wish them both all the success for their future and their candy floss is just delicious!

At the Town Council we are getting used to holding our meetings online, although it was very strange to chair a Full Council meeting whilst sitting on my sofa!  As you can see from the Town Council news, we have remained very busy and are working closely with Torridge District and Devon County Councils.

By the time this reaches you all, weather permitting I’ll have finally completed my charity tandem skydive. Writing this, and with two weeks left to go, feeling very apprehensive is a bit of an understatement” However, I am also excited and, like I have heard many others say, that once I’m out of the plane, I’m sure I will love it!

Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you need anything at all and I hope you all enjoy August and September and I’ll be back to update you all in the October edition.

Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington

Keeley Allin Mayor

Mayor’s July Crier Article

I cannot believe I am beginning my second term as Mayor of Great Torrington; thank you all for your support over the last 12 months. It’s been incredible serving our wonderful town and I’m looking forward continuing to do so. This next year will be different, but I know as a community we will embrace the challenges and come out stronger.

I have been very proud to raise funds for the Torrington Police Amateur Boxing Club and the 1st Torrington Scout Group, and it was lovely to see you supporting these local groups through various fundraising events. I am very pleased to say that we have raised a total of £4500.00; money which will be divided equally and I know, gratefully received to by both groups and will hopefully serve to help them continue their fantastic work. (Please note this sum does not include sponsorship for my postponed sky dive.  Once I have done this, these funds will be divided and sent separately to these groups).

At this point I choose two new charities to support over the next 12 months, and it hasn’t been an easy decision. Will suggested that I look back over the last year at who has made a real impact, so my first charity is the Torrington Silver Band. They were all very welcoming at the events I’ve been invited to, they are the beating heart of the town, and I look forward to supporting them in any way I can over the coming year.

My second charity is the Friends of Great Torrington Library. Being a keen reader myself, I know how vital this service is to a broad range of individuals in our community. As well as being able to access a wide range of resources, the library offers events and support for all ages. I fondly remember doing the book tracker program as a child and would love to see more people taking an interest in reading.

Again, at this point, I would usually award the Mayor’s Award to an individual or group at our Mayoral Introduction Ceremony. Naturally this event was unable to go ahead, but I would like to announce that this year’s chosen recipient is ‘The Great Torrington Knit and Natter Group’: a recently formed group meeting every Wednesday to knit/crochet and share companionship. The defining moment for me was the incredible work that went into our fantastic Poppy display for Remembrance celebrations last year. This was a wider community effort but with the group forming and coordinating the display, it became a breath-taking piece. I’ve also received comments about how warm, welcoming and friendly the group is, with some members even travelling from outside of Great Torrington for weekly meetings. Community is what our town thrives on and so I know that this community group are truly deserving of the award.

As a council, we have been trying to resume some normal proceedings by commencing virtual meetings. It’s all very different but as we all adjust it is working well.  By the time you read this we will have held our first full council meeting (25th June 2020). I hope you are all continuing to stay safe, and perhaps that you have managed a socially distanced catch up with friends or relatives. Businesses are adapting to the ‘new normal’ as shops start to re-open and I know our traders appreciate your support and consideration as they adjust to this change.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need anything at all.

Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington – Telephone: 07783 711500