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My Council

Street Music returns to Great Torrington

We are delighted to announce that from this coming Saturday (23rd July 2022) “Street Music” will once again provide entertainment in Great Torrington town centre on a Saturday morning.

The first act, who proved to be very popular last year, will be Cole Crawford who will be performing outside of the Town Hall from 11am – 1pm on Saturday 23rd July 2022, with many other performers already scheduled to play over the coming weeks – come along to Great Torrington and support them.

Ellie Allin – 100th Birthday celebration

I was very honoured to be asked to visit Ellie Allin at Castle House Nursing Home on Tuesday 19th July 2022 to present her with a card and flowers for her 100th birthday. I was lucky to be able to spend time speaking with Ellie about her life and to meet some of her family who were also in attendance – what a tremendous milestone – the party was in full swing when I arrived! Ellie was delighted to have received her card from the Queen which has pride of place amongst her many other cards and gifts.

FREE Film Screening @ The Plough

In order to mark World Alzheimer’s Day, the Great Torrington Dementia Friendly Community working group is pleased to announce that a FREE showing of the film The Father, with Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman will take place at The Plough Arts Centre on Wednesday 21st September 2022 at 11am.

The film highlights the challenges of family members assuming a caring role for people living with dementia. It focusses on ailing octogenarian Anthony, who is gradually succumbing to dementia and feels abandoned when his daughter, Anne, tells him she’s moving to Paris. Confused and upset, against the backdrop of a warped perspective and his rapid, heart-rending mental decline, Anthony is starting to lose his grip on reality, struggling to navigate the opaque landscape of present and past.

Tickets are FREE for this event: you can contact The Plough Box Office on 01805 624624 in advance to reserve a seat, or just turn up on the day.

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Dementia Friendly Community Working Group

The Town Council’s Dementia Friendly Community working group was established back in 2018 and has been busy since then raising awareness about dementia and memory loss within the local community in Great Torrington.  The group gets involved in a variety of activities including running Dementia Friends sessions, launching a Silent Space in the town centre where people living with dementia and their carers can get some respite from the hustle and bustle of a busy town, organising a free film screening at The Plough of a film raising awareness about dementia and much, much more! 

If you are interested in helping the group out to achieve the important goal of making Great Torrington a Dementia Friendly Community, please do get in touch: we are particularly keen to engage with people who have experience of either working with, or caring for, people living with dementia or memory loss and who are eager to get stuck-in with the practical side of raising awareness throughout the town. 

For more information, please call or email Charlotte Kirby, Assistant Town Clerk on 01805 626135 / or feel free to pop into the Town Council’s office for an informal chat.  We are open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9am and 1pm.

Conservation Communities: A Parish Based Project; Jubilee Meadow

On the 11th June a Conservation Community Project led by Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) in conjunction with Devon Biodiversity Records Centre (DBRC) took place at Jubilee Meadow. The aim was to record as much as possible about the local environment as well as develop people’s skills in wildlife identification in a meadow setting.

The project has been running for just over a year and has have achieved a great deal to date, with volunteers across local parishes carrying out hedgerow surveys so that the condition of the hedges in the region can be assessed.  Last year over 50 engagement events took place, attracting 1700 attendees and Jubilee Wood was included as part of the suite of 2022 events.

By the end of the project, December 2022, the hope is to have gathered enough wildlife data so that DBRC can update each Parish Biodiversity Audit (last written around 2013). 

Activity on the 11th June was very successful with 146 records made including some “unknowns” and has been described by the DWT as a “very good haul” and “probably the best found yet!”

It’s great to have this indication of the richness of wildlife on our doorsteps and hope this will only continue to grow. We would like to thank all those members of the public who took part on this project along with the DWT and DBRC.

2023 Great Torrington Calendar

Calling all local photographers! 

The Town Council in conjunction with the Futures Group is looking to publish a town calendar for 2023.  We are looking for photographs of the town, whether that be beautiful landscapes, nature and/or events.  If you have a favourite photograph… or two which you have taken and are happy for it to be used, please send it through. We will ensure all photographs are credited to the photographer.

History Alive: Saturday 10th September 2022

Did you know that the two strip fields across the valley are what remain of fields that were reserved for the use of lepers who lived in the hospital of St Mary Magdalen in Taddiport from the 14th to the 17th century?

Join us on Saturday 10th September 2022 to find out more about Great Torrington’s fascinating heritage at our History Alive event!  Activities will be taking place all over the town all day – please see below for details.  A programme will be published prior to the event and will be available for collection from the Town Council, Tourist Information Centre and various other outlets across the town:

Timed Events:

Time: What: Where

10am: Official Opening Town Square

10am – 12 noon: Torrington Silver Band: Town Square

10am – 12 noon: Torrington Historical Society Oral History Coffee Morning: Methodist Church, Mill Street

10-11am & 1:30 – 2:30pm: Rolle Canal Society Guided Tour: Starts & ends at Puffing Billy (total distance approx. 1 mile)

10am – 1pm: Great Torrington Bowling Club “Open House”: The Bowling Club, The Green, Castle Street

11:30am – 12:30pm & 3-4pm: Tarka Valley Railway Tour: Starts & ends at Puffing Billy (no more than 1 mile)

2pm: The Great Cemetery Scandal Talk by Peter Christie: Great Torrington Town Hall

2-4pm: Costumed Bowls Competition: The Bowling Club, The Green, Castle Street

All Day Events (10am – 4pm unless otherwise stated):

What: Where

Costumed Market Day (10am – 2pm): Pannier Market

Mayfair Exhibition: Great Torrington Town Hall

Wardour Garrison (17th C Living History): RHS Rosemoor

History of Glass Making in Great Torrington: Dartington Crystal

15th C Living History Encampment: Castle Hill Gardens

Open Day at Cawsey House: 28 South Street

17th C Costumed Guides: Physic Garden, Castle Hill

Historical Characters: Throughout the town

Mayor’s Chosen Charities 2022/23 – Cllr Doug Smith

Our community is relatively isolated, and in times of crisis when time is critical, we have to rely on charitably funded organisations.  It is hard to believe that when we need help at sea, and the RNLI is called out, that they rely on donations to continue to function.

In the same way, we have another time critical lifeline especially here in our community, therefore my first Charity is Devon Air Ambulance, and I ask you to give generously throughout the coming year, as you always do to them.

A large part of my life until the age of 20 was taken up the Scouting Movement.  I gained the Queen’s Scout Award in 1963, and a year later was presented by Prince Philip in person with His Gold Award. The spinoff from working toward these goals has remained a guiding force throughout my adult life, and lessons learned have hopefully made me a more rounded and caring person. 

My wish is to support The Scouting movement, and to this end my second charity will be the sister organisation – The Guides.

During these financially challenging times, Charities in general are finding it increasingly difficult to fund even their basic needs. They still have overheads which are crucial to their operational effectiveness. The generosity of Great Torrington’s residents is legendary, and I appeal yet again to them to think kindly on those organisations who rely on them especially in these difficult times for their continued support.