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My Council

Engaging and Exciting Activities for Children and Young People in Great Torrington this October

‘The Welcome Back Fund’ is a central Government initiative to encourage people use their town centres.  As part of this initiative, the Town Council are putting on a couple of special events in this October.

The first event takes place on Saturday 2nd October when ‘Really Wild Learning’, an ethical, education-based wildlife encounter business will be providing some free children’s animal encounters between 10am-2.00pm at the Undercroft of the Town Hall. A range of reptiles and invertebrates will be on show and there will be the opportunity to handle some of these creatures under the experienced guidance of animal expert Kim Insull.

The event will launch ‘Great Torrington’s Bug Hunt ‘ wherefamilies can enjoy following a trail around the town searching for insect facts in the local shops (think window spotting for animal facts). Everybody who completes the trail and returns their application forms will be entered in a draw with the winner receiving a free family ticket to visit ‘Really Wild Planet’ CIC in Bideford. The trail will run for the whole of October and can be completed over half term. Application forms can be downloaded from the Town Council’s website or collected in person from Whiskers Pet Shop.

In addition to this on Thursday the 28th October between 10.00am and 3.00pm Torrington’s very own Pannier Market will be the location for a very special event half term holiday event.

The Town Council in collaboration with various organisations have put together a jam-packed programme of fun, exciting, creative, engaging, inspiring and most importantly totally free activities for children and young people.

Throughout the day attendees will have the opportunity of working with Tarka Pottery to create something out of air-drying clay, there will be hands on interactive science-meets-art activities with ‘Sciencedipity’ and drop in Circus Skills with experienced and well-known Expressive Arts Practitioner Rob Pudner from Entertainingly Different who will also act as MC for the day.

There will be Street Dance Workshops courtesy of founding Director of ‘Streetz Dance Company’ Amy Avery and Hula Hooping sessions with Circus Performer Maz Manuva.  Della from Fizzog Face Painting will be doing her thing throughout the day as will Dave Hendy who will perform his Punch and Judy show three times at various intervals. If this wasn’t enough children will be able to create a piece of original artwork with Kate and the fabulous Higher Beings paint spinner and last but not least, everyone will be able to contribute to a piece of people participation artwork with Westcountry based fine and digital artist Jo Mortimer. The finished piece – a unique reminder of the day will then be displayed in the town for years to come.

As you can see from above there really is something for children of all ages, abilities and interests and for one day of the holiday at least there should be no moans of being bored – you might even find a brand-new interest is forged or a hidden talent is revealed.

There is no need to book although places on some activities will be limited and delivered on a first come first served basis so whatever the weather just make a beeline for the Pannier Market on the 28th October and you and yours will be guaranteed a warm and friendly welcome and day of family fun. Look out for further details on the town council’s website and around the town, which will include timings of the workshops.

And don’t forget – When in the town centre, continue to support your local traders and “Buy Local”!

Opportunity for Voluntary Role Holder (Macebearer) at the Town Council

We currently have a vacancy for the role of Macebearer to the Town Council.  This role is undertaken on a voluntary basis, with a small honorarium paid.  A brief explanation of duties is set out below, but please contact the Town Council if you would like further information, or would like to discuss further.

Mace Bearer

A Mace Bearer accompanies the Town’s Mayor to civic events to ensure that the Mayor has “free passage” of the town.  The events are currently, May Fair, the Mayor’s Civic Ceremony and the Remembrance Parade and Service. The Mace Bearer will carry a mace whilst on duty and a uniform will be provided.  The Council currently has one Mace Bearer and is seeking to appoint a second.

Please can you provide a written application to include why you think you would be suitable for the role you. Applications for this post should be no more than one side of A4 paper.

For further information or to discuss further please contact the Town Clerk on 01805 626135 or by email:

Please forward applications to Great Torrington Town Council, Castle Hill, Great Torrington, EX38 8AA or by email to  to be received no later than Friday 29th October 2021.

Karen Chapman, Town Clerk

Mayor’s October Crier Article

What a full summer we’ve had, with some beautiful weather to cheer us.  

On Saturdays throughout August and September we had a variety of Buskers in the town centre and Pannier Market to delight us. We have had a wealth of positive comments, as we have for the hanging baskets which brighten up the town so effectively. I must also mention the superb inaugural Street Market at the end of August organised by the Linda, Anne and her colleagues at the Town Hall; a brilliant event on a beautiful day which brought a renewed vibrancy to the town centre.  As we continue to emerge from lockdown, I would like to encourage the whole community of Great Torrington to support our local traders and shop local as much as possible.

I am finding my diary starting to fill up with various engagements which I am pleased to attend on behalf of the town.  One such engagement was the opening of the Northam Visitor Centre conducted by Sir Geoffrey Cox. The centre has some fascinating displays, and interactive exhibits, and is worthy of a visit. 

The Museum opening was a much-anticipated event.  The one rain shower in the area tried to dampen the spirits at the moment of ribbon cutting, but it failed dismally, and the Museum is open once more, and doing great business.  After it’s facelift, I encourage everyone to pop in for a visit.  On the roof, the Bellcote has been temporarily removed for safety concerns, and is hopefully being restored as we speak.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Calf Street Skate Park during an open day arranged by Youth Genesis, where Graffiti artists worked with some of the town’s youngsters to produce some very talented artwork. In addition, the Plough hosted the same athletic group in the main auditorium, where ramps were erected for the event. It was clear that this event was very much enjoyed by all who attended.

I have had the pleasure of visiting the Cadets and had the honour of inspecting the Unit, and welcoming the new Mayor’s Cadet, Cadet Sergeant Jack Pledger-Sussex, whose family has a long history if involvement with our Cadets. I look forward to working Jack over the coming months.

It is pleasing to see that rapid progress is being made with plans to reopen the Globe as previously reported. Torridge District Council is heading up these plans and working with the Town Council, the Plough and Petroc College. We anticipate to be able to bring much more information very soon. I am pleased to represent the town council in my position of Mayor to act as a founder member.

I cannot finish this article without mentioning the Cavalier’s superb Mayflower Bonfire! What an amazing event and huge congratulations to the Cavaliers for the relentless hard work it took to build and to host the whole day’s activities. I was privileged to help host a number of Mayors from local towns, all of whom enthused about it. One Mayor subsequently wrote and stated; “This was, without doubt, the very best event I’ve been to in Devon.  I wish I’d taken more photos. But you can’t marvel at a spectacle and look through a lens at the same time”, which I think, sums it up! Words aren’t enough to thank our Cavaliers for surpassing themselves yet again!

I look forward to the continued resuming of activity over these coming months, but let’s not be complacent about Covid19 and continue to be careful and look after yourselves and each other.

Cllr Doug Smith

Mayor of Great Torrington

Remembrance Sunday Parade

This year Remembrance Sunday falls on the 14th November 2021.    The Royal British Legion will once again hold a Remembrance Ceremony at the War Memorial in the Cemetery, commencing at 10.50am.

The parade will form in Lidl’s car park, New Street at 10.15am and march from the car park to the Cemetery at approximately 10.30am.   Organisations and members of the public are welcome to attend the ceremony. 

Please note that there will be no vehicular access to Lidl’s car park from 10.30am onwards while the parade is being formed. 

Please be advised that we are currently working towards business as usual for the Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service in November.  We will continue to monitor government advice for mass gatherings to ensure the health and safety of participants, which remains our priority, and update accordingly.

Anyone wishing to order a wreath should do so directly from the Royal British Legion by contacting them on 0345 845 1945 and the wreath will be posted out to you.

Karen Chapman (Town Clerk)

Co-Option of Town Councillor

Following the resignation of Cllr Strode, we currently have a vacancy for 1 Co-Opted Councillor to join the other Council Members of Great Torrington Town Council.

This role will give you an opportunity to get involved with a number of exciting projects and interests within the community of Great Torrington.  If you are passionate about the town, prepared to roll your sleeves up and get involved, have at least one of the qualifications below we would invite you to submit a written application outlining why you are interested in becoming a Town Councillor and what you believe you can bring to the role for consideration.    

  1. I am registered as a local government elector for the parish; or
  2. I have, during the whole of the twelve months preceding the date of my co-option, occupied as owner or tenant, land or other premises in the parish; or
  3. My principal or only place of work during those twelve months has been in the parish; or
  4. I have during the whole of the twelve months preceding the date of my co-option resided in the parish or within 3 miles of it.

Applications should be no more than one side of A4 paper.

For further information please see the Town Council’s website

Please forward applications to Great Torrington Town Council, Castle Hill, Great Torrington, EX38 8AA or by email to  to be received no later than Thursday 4th November 2021

Karen Chapman, Town Clerk

Great Torrington Town Council vote to declare a housing emergency

On Thursday 2nd September, Great Torrington Town Council, like many other councils in our area, voted:

“To declare: that we, as a Town Council, acknowledge and agree that Great Torrington is in a housing emergency; For Great Torrington Town Council to write to Torridge District Council and ask that they also declare a housing emergency, For Great Torrington Town Council to lobby Robert Jenrick – the Housing Minister- to prioritise the building of affordable new homes for local occupancy.”

Councillors have seen that there is an increasing lack of local housing in the area, and that this, along with a rapid rise in house prices (in an often low income area) means that local people are struggling to find homes that they can afford. The Council is concerned that if nothing is done, it has the potential to have a devastating impact on our community in the long term. It is vital that those who want to remain in this area, to work and raise their families, are able to do so by choice rather than economic factors.