Sunday, 31 December 2017

On reflection a colourful North Devon Coast and Country Chronicle

North Devon Coast and Country Chronicle, just some of the moments that caught my eye in 2017. Looking forward to another colourful year.
Here's to a Happy and 'Event'full 2018 everyone.

North Devon Focus Annual Chronicle 2017

Friday, 22 December 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We are looking forward to bringing you more colourful news and events in 2018.
Thank you for visiting
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
North Devon Focus
Good Tidings from Bideford. Photo copyright B. Adams (All Rights Reserved)

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Has Santa’s beard been found in North Devon?

If Father Christmas appears beardless in our skies this Christmas then he could do worse than to visit North Devon to reclaim his famous white facial fuzz.

The discovery of a rare and weird looking fungus has led to it being nicknamed ‘Santa’s beard’ by amazed staff at the wildlife conservation charity Devon Wildlife Trust. The fungus, which is more usually known by its scientific name Hericium erinaceus and by other names including hedgehog fungus and lion’s mane fungus, has been spotted near the village of Thornbury, in North Devon. The fungus is rarely seen in the UK and it’s thought to be only the second sighting of it in Devon, and only the 215th time it has been recorded in the UK since 1923.

The white, football-sized mass was spotted growing from the trunk of a tree by Meg Galley-Taylor as she drove along a road close to her North Devon home. Meg said:

“People call me ‘Curious Meg’ so of course I spotted the fungus! It is large, white and very conspicuous. I had no idea what it was but I knew I had never seen anything like it before.”

After returning with binoculars and her camera, Meg set about researching the strange object, trying to find out just what it was. Meg said:
“In the end I posted the picture on-line and then I started to get a response. At that point I thought, oh wow, this is seriously rare.”
Meg also reported her sighting to leading conservation charity Devon Wildlife Trust. The Trust’s Steve Hussey said:
“This fungus is usually spotted in North American and Asia but has occurred in the South West of England only rarely before. We’re so pleased that Meg managed to spot it and tell us about it. Fungi come in wondrous and fascinating forms, but this is one of the most unusual we’ve ever seen.”
“Its weird shape and shaggy appearance, combined with the Christmas spirit here in the office, to make us wonder if the fungus could be part of the Santa Claus story? If the great man does appear without his beard this Christmas then we will know where to send him to look for it: it’ll be hanging on a tree in North Devon.”

Devon Wildlife Trust - Santa's Beard (Hedgehog Fungus) Photo copyright Meg Galley-Taylor (All Rights Reserved)
Santa's Beard (Hedgehog Fungus) Photo copyright Meg Galley-Taylor (All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Make volunteering your new year's resolution. Can you help Marie Curie in Barnstaple or Ilfracombe?

Marie Curie provides support for people living with any terminal illness, and their families. We offer expert care, guidance and support to help them get the most from the time they have left. We are now looking for volunteers in the Barnstaple and Ilfracombe area. If you think you could spare them a few hours of your time, we would love to hear from you.
Collection Box Co-ordinators in Barnstaple or Ilfracombe
You’ll be amazed how much money is donated through collection boxes placed within the local community, and as a Collection Box Coordinator you will be responsible for your own network of boxes in your local area. Whether it’s a local shop or leisure centre, the more boxes you can place and collect, the more money you will raise for Marie Curie.
As a Collection Box Coordinator you will visit existing sites a few times a year to swap full tins for empty ones and use your local knowledge to seek new locations. You’ll also play a key part in the Great Daffodil Appeal in March, Marie Curie’s flagship fundraising campaign, by helping to place and collect daffodil boxes.
This role is flexible and varied, so you can really make it your own. You can organise your time so that your volunteering fits around your life - what could be better?
Collection Hosts in Barnstaple or Ilfracombe
Are you enthusiastic, sociable and good at dealing with money? Marie Curie are looking for people to help coordinate local store collections, particularly during the Great Daffodil Appeal in March. This would involve welcoming collectors on the day, providing them with the kit they need for the collection and counting and banking the income. The collection host will be asked to look after a few collections a year.
For more information please call Riona Houghton on 01179420129 or email
Volunteering: Can you help Marie Curie in Barnstaple or Ilfracombe?

ABOUT The Great Daffodil Appeal The Great Daffodil Appeal is Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign and encourages everyone to give a donation in return for a daffodil pin during March. Money raised helps Marie Curie Nurses provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their families. Daffodil pins are available from our volunteers across the country and in Superdrug, Spar and Poundworld stores, and Wyevale Garden Centres. Morrisons supermarkets held fundraising collections on 10, 11 & 12 March across all of their 490 stores. For more information call 0800 304 7025 or visit
*Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. Your call may be recorded for quality and training purposes.

ABOUT Marie Curie – care and support through terminal illness - Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness. The charity helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by delivering expert hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance. Marie Curie employs more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, and with its nine hospices around the UK, is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.
For more information visit:
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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

New ‘mindfulness trail’ launched at popular Devon nature reserve

An East Devon beauty-spot has become the venue for a new ‘mindfulness trail’, promising visitors the chance to get away from some of the worst stresses and strains of modern life.

The trail has been established at Devon Wildlife Trust’s Bystock Pools nature reserve, in East Devon, and is the brainchild of local woman Clare Carter. The 46 year old from Exmouth created the mindfulness trail because she wanted to help other people to “slow down and switch off” from the demands of 21st century living.

The trail leads participants to 25 points around the varied nature reserve which features ponds, heathland, woodland and meadows. At each place people are asked to undertake an act of mindfulness ranging from the simple “take four deep breaths and stretch”’ to the more contemplative “Watch the water falling, listen to the sound of the water and watch the ripples”.

The trail has been designed to be done in short or long form, ranging from 60 to 90 minutes. It urges people to slowdown, to walk at an easy pace, reminding them that “mindfulness is about focusing on the present” and asks them to “let go of any distractions and bring back your attention to your surroundings”.

The inspiration for the trail came to Clare as a way of combining her interests in mindfulness and wildlife. Clare said:

“I was introduced to Bystock Pools nature reserve in the late nineties and now call it my second home! My main hobby is natural history, especially dragonflies. I also enjoy yoga, mindfulness and meditation. I wanted to create a walk which included some mindfulness techniques to help people switch off from their busy lives and encourage them to live in the moment.

I love being at Bystock and this Mindfulness walk has 'slowed' me down and allows me to switch off my busy mind! I hope it will help others too.”

Bystock Pools is one of 50 nature reserves cared for by Devon Wildlife Trust. The charity’s Steve Hussey welcomed the new trail:

“People visit our wildlife havens for lots of different reasons. Some will be real nature enthusiasts, perhaps searching for a particular bird, plant or insect, but many others will be there because of the sense of peace and tranquillity that these special places provide. This new mindfulness trail is a reminder to us all of how important nature reserves are to the health and well-being of people, as well as wildlife.”

A copy of the Bystock Pools mindfulness trail can be downloaded for free from the Devon Wildlife Trust website
Photo Bystock Pools "Mindfulness Trail" copyright Sheila Hancox (All Rights Reserved)
  Bystock Pools "Mindfulness Trail"  - Photo copyright Sheila Hancox (All Rights Reserved)
 Devon Wildlife Trust's Bystock Pools "Mindfulness Trail" the brainchild of Clare Carter
Devon Wildlife Trust's Bystock Pools "Mindfulness Trail" the brainchild of Clare Carter

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Wildlife lovers have the chance to Adopt-a-Beaver this Christmas.

Devon Wildlife Trust leads England’s only wild beaver re-introduction project, on east Devon’s River Otter. The project receives no government funding, relying on donations from people who care about wildlife and are enthusiastic about Devon’s wild beavers.

This month, the charity has launched the Adopt-a-Beaver scheme to help raise funds for the River Otter Beaver Trial. The five year trial is scheduled to run until 2020, working to gather evidence on the beavers’ impacts on the landscape and wildlife, infrastructure and farm businesses in the Otter valley. Introduction of further beavers into the river system is also covered by the project licence from Natural England.
Each virtual adoption includes a soft toy beaver wearing a Devon Wildlife Trust ‘Beavers are Back’ T-shirt. The charity’s Dan Smith explains: “The beaver soft toy is modelled on the project mascot, Nora, whose name was chosen in a public competition by a shop-owner in Sidmouth. These beaver soft toys are unique to Devon Wildlife Trust and the River Otter Beaver Trial and are not available anywhere else.”
Adopt-a-Beaver packs are available for children and adults for £30. All packs include the unique-to-Devon beaver soft toy but children’s packs also feature a beaver quiz, word-search, maze and colouring sheet.
For an additional £10, the pack also includes a beaver wood chip, gnawed from a Devon tree by one of the beavers living in the county. These wood chips - which come with a card of authenticity in a presentation box - have been collected from a site where Devon beavers are active.
These unique Devon gifts support what Chris Packham has described as “one of the most exciting conservation projects of the 21st century”, the River Otter Beaver Trial.
DWT’s Dan Smith said: “It’s heartening to see the continued enthusiasm for Devon’s beavers, more than two years after DWT first re-introduced beavers back on to the river after their health screening. Again this year, dozens of wildlife watchers gathered on the River Otter’s footpaths on summer evenings to spot parent beavers swimming with their new-born kits. Adopt-a-Beaver packs and Devon beaver wood chips are the ideal gifts for anyone who wants to see these charismatic mammals thriving in our countryside.” 

Beaver gifts are available from or by calling 01392 279244 or calling in to DWT’s headquarters at Cricklepit Mill in Exeter, on a weekday. 

 Adopt-a-Beaver scheme to help raise funds for the River Otter Beaver Trial

Adopt-a-Beaver scheme to help raise funds for the River Otter Beaver Trial

River Otter beaver kits - Photo copyright Mike Symes.(All Rights Reserved)
River Otter beaver kits - Photo copyright Mike Symes.(All Rights Reserved)

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Bike Shed Cafe, Barnstaple has been shortlisted for Feed With Confidence Award

The Bike Shed Cafe in Barnstaple has been shortlisted for a national breastfeeding award by local mothers. The awards have been designed  by Lansinoh to celebrate places and people across the country supporting breastfeeding mums.    

One mum who nominated the cafe said: The bike shed is a cafe for bike enthusiast primarily however they have a very spacious cafe and me and my mum friends often meet there for coffee and can freely breastfeed our babies. The staff help move things around and welcome us all with all of our prams and everything else you need to lug around with a baby! We would be lost without this place! 

 In 2015, 776,950 babies were born in the UK. Yet just 0.5% of UK mums are breastfeeding their newborn at 12 months, despite recommendations from the World Health Organisation to continue breastfeeding into your baby's second year. With British breastfeeding rates among the worst in the world, could the culprit be society's attitudes towards breastfeeding? 

To understand if there is a stigma attached to breastfeeding in public, Lansinoh conducted research to gauge public opinion. The new research quashed common misconceptions, revealing that the over 65s are the most accepting and that men are more comfortable with it than women. Witnessing a woman breastfeeding in a café, restaurant or pub was uncomfortable for an average of 46% of people. Despite the most comfortable public spaces being revealed as the great outdoors, a surprising percentage of people still felt uncomfortable at the park (17%) and beach (16%).

The Feed With Confidence Awards recognise people and places that help to support mums and positively change perceptions. The awards are supported by the Lansinoh Feed With Confidence Ambassador: Al Ferguson of The Dad Network.
The Bike Shed Cafe, Barnstaple
The Bike Shed Cafe, Barnstaple

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Wild About Watercolour. Devon watercolour artist Karen Thomas wins coveted industry award

Devon watercolour artist Karen Thomas has won a coveted industry award for her beautiful painting Shades of Gold. Judges of the PaintersOnline 50th anniversary competition awarded Karen the Summer painting prize for her intimate portrait of a handsome Bengal tiger at rest.

Karen, who lives in rural North Devon, is best known for her lively watercolour paintings of hares and the majority of her work, in demand at art fairs and galleries throughout the West Country, focuses on local landscape and wildlife. However, Shades of Gold is part of a body of work taking a step in a wilder direction, inspired by Karen’s developing relationship with Dartmoor Zoo.

Karen says “Friends of mine visited Dartmoor Zoo and, being keen photographers who know I paint animals, forwarded me some very inspiring images. I sent a painting to them as a thank you, which Benjamin (the Zoo’s owner) saw and loved, and he asked that I contact him. Benjamin gave me a tour of the zoo, meeting the animals and teaching me how to engage with them. He described their personalities to me, which is very important to me as I try to reflect that in my painting. Over several visits with sketchbook and camera, I enjoyed spending time there getting to know the animals better and produced a series of paintings. My award winning painting, ’Shades of Gold’ was inspired by that period of time.

“The painting was a culmination of all the exposure to endangered animals at the zoo. I wanted it to be moodier in feel than my usual work and to convey a sense of the connection I felt while getting to know such animals. Eye contact with a Bengal tiger is such an electrifying experience - it’s hard to describe but you’ve never felt more ’seen’. A stillness descends. It’s a bit like falling in love. I felt no threat, only a connection, but I was still grateful for the fence!”

Karen says that winning the award was a total surprise and a sheer delight. Painters-Online are responsible for The Artist magazine and Leisure Painter magazine, two publications who create valuable content for artists and serve as a pulse on the UK world of art. Karen feels that winning the award is confirmation that, as an emerging artist, she is headed in the right direction.

Karen has just taken up a new studio space at the beautiful Kigbeare Studios and Gallery near Okehampton at the edge of Dartmoor. She will be moving in this November just in time for the Kigbeare Christmas Open Studio where visitors will be welcome to chat to Karen about her work and buy direct from the studio. You can see more of Karen’s watercolour work on her website where you can also find out information about upcoming exhibitions and where to buy original paintings as well as prints and cards produced from her delightful paintings.

Shades of Gold. Karen Thomas Watercolour winner of the PaintersOnline 50th anniversary competition
Shades of Gold - An intimate portrait of a handsome Bengal tiger at rest
Karen Thomas Watercolour  Animal Paintings and Nature Inspired Art

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Down on the Farm - A North Devon Short Film Commission

Farmers, film makers and local communities are being invited to show their support for a landmark creative heritage project in north Devon. Local community film making organisation North Devon Moving Image CIC (NDMI) is making plans to launch an exciting new film commission which will create a series of short documentary films about farmers and farming in northern Devon.

Creative Director of NDMI, Amanda McCormack says "Down on the Farm will be a unique chance for the farming community to share their stories with the wider world. Our Boat Stories films have been immensely popular and that project demonstrated the value of preserving and sharing local heritage on film. We now want to do for farming what Boat Stories did for fishing and Down on the Farm is set to do that."

Amanda adds "Part of our remit at NDMI is to support film makers, both in North Devon and the wider creative community throughout the UK. This commission will provide an exciting opportunity (and the money - £1,000 per film) for six emerging or experienced film makers to develop and exhibit their individual artistic and narrative skills."

Before NDMI can apply for funding they are seeking written support for the project. Amanda says she would like to hear from: 

• farming families who would like to be the subject of a film
• volunteers interested in local agricultural heritage who will support the film makers with research and contact with farmers
• film makers who would like to apply for a commission
• film tutors who believe this is a great opportunity for film production students
• members of the local community who would love to see the films made.

To find out more visit and if you would like to show your support you can email Amanda at, write to North Devon Moving Image, 2 Cullamartin, Instow, Bideford, Devon EX39 4LU or visit the NDMI website and complete the contact form.
Down on the Farm - A North Devon Short Film Commission

Monday, 16 October 2017

In the Gallery: Dave Clinch and The Ballad of Richie Havens 20th October

Step back in time with Dave Clinch when he performs his Gallery Gig: The Ballad of Richie Havens" at the Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington on the 20th October.

Richie Havens rocketed to world fame following his stellar opening performance in front of half a million people at Max Yasgur’s farm at  Woodstock in the August of 1969. Freedom became his signature song.

Dave says “I was mesmerised by the way Richie Havens played when I saw the film Woodstock in 1970. Forty years later I took up a Guild D40, like Richie’s, and began learning to play his method.

The evening will be my acknowledgement to the memory of Richie Havens and his songs. It will include some of my own songs and other favourites.”

Dave Clinch is a singer and multi-instrumentalist, who has been playing on the North Devon open mic scene for nearly two decades. He also plays the uilleann pipes and low whistle in the tribute band Nightwished.
Gallery Gig
The Ballad of Richie Havens
Dave Clinch
Friday 20 October 8.15pm to 10.00pm

Tickets from The Plough Arts Centre  
Box Office Tel: 01805 624624
Proceeds to the Hebron International Resources Network education projects
For More Information
Facebook: thepipercallsproject Clinch
Email: - Tel: 07887 650671

Friday, 29 September 2017

Devon residents go batty for science this summer

Hundreds of people in Devon have surveyed their gardens for bats this summer as part of the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project.

The 2017 Devon Bat Survey has been the biggest yet with 600 unique locations surveyed, from Seaton to Plymouth and Salcombe to Combe Martin. Participants in the survey - which this year runs until the end of October - collect their bat detector and ultrasonic microphone from one of 20 monitoring centres across Devon, including shops, garden centres and community hubs.

Each survey takes place over three nights - so there have been a total of 1,800 nights of bat detecting in Devon gardens this summer. So far that has required more than 2,700 hours of volunteer time in collecting and deploying the bat detectors.

And this survey effort has resulted in more than half a million sound files recording the nocturnal noises - including those of echo-locating bats in flight - in Devon gardens since April.

These files are being analysed to produce a report for each garden showing which of Devon's sixteen bat species has been recorded. Bat surveyors from early in the season have already had their reports, which take around a month for project staff and volunteers to complete.

Devon's landscapes supported thriving bat populations for centuries until some species suffered serious declines in the last few decades. Monitoring bat activity is an important tool in bat conservation, but there are still many gaps in our knowledge of what species are present in different parts of Devon.

Ruth Testa, manager of the Devon Wildlife Trust-led Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project said: "The Devon Bat Survey is so important in helping to increase our understanding of how all bats, not just the greater horseshoe, are using our landscape. By doing it in a way that involves members of the general public, it means that more people become aware of bats around them, raising the profile of these fascinating mammals".

Taking part in the Devon Bat Survey has proved a hit with wildlife lovers in Devon. After receiving the report from their garden, one participant at Goodrington, near Paignton, said: "We are most excited to hear that we have so many different bats in the area. We will most definitely be keeping an eye out for them!"

And receiving survey results has even inspired a little friendly competition among the volunteer surveyors, keen to see whether they can match the number of bat species recorded in their neighbours' gardens. Jill Turner, owner of holiday cottages near Bideford, commented on Facebook: "Really easy to set up the equipment, now eagerly awaiting the report from our August survey. Others in Littleham have discovered 10+ species flying by so we are excited to discover more about our bat population."

There are still opportunities to take part in this year's survey by booking a bat detector online at The 2017 survey runs until the end of October. The Devon Bat Survey will return next spring and continue as part of the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project for another three years.

A report on the full results from all bat surveys across Devon in 2017 is scheduled to be available online in January.

Devon Wildlife Trust. Greater Horseshoe Bat in flight - Photo copyright Frank Greenaway (All Rights Reserved)
 Greater Horseshoe Bat in flight - Photo copyright Frank Greenaway (All Rights Reserved)
Devon Wildlife Trust. Collecting Devon Bat Survey materials at Chudleigh Town Hall
Collecting Devon Bat Survey materials at Chudleigh Town Hall
Devon Wildlife Trust. Bat detector, microphone and other kit
Bat detector, microphone and other kit

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Rare Strawberry Spider Discovered in North Devon

A rare and remarkable looking spider has been discovered living at a North Devon nature reserve.

The spider in question is the strawberry spider, a species which is classified as ‘nationally scarce’ by arachnid experts. The discovery is thought to be one of only a handful of sightings in Devon since it was discovered near Ivybridge in 2008.

The strawberry spider was found at Devon Wildlife Trust’s Meeth Quarry nature reserve, the first time it had been seen at the North Devon wildlife haven which is close to the town of Hatherleigh.

Araneus alsine to give the strawberry spider its full scientific name, is a member of the orb-weaving family of spiders. The spider has a very distinctive red-orange body, flecked with yellow dots and looks remarkably like a plump, ripe strawberry. It’s also large for a British spider, with the bodies of females reaching up to 15mm in size.

The surprising eight-legged discovery was made by bug-hunting expert Rob Wolton while he was making a routine visit to Meeth Quarry nature reserve. Rob said:

“I was out recording insects like hoverflies on the reserve, when I spotted this huge red spider unlike any I had ever seen before. I took some photos and when I got home looked it up. It was a real surprise to find such an eye-catching spider. It just goes to show what a special place Meeth Quarry is. Full of the unexpected.”

Meeth Quarry is one of 50 nature reserves cared for by the charity Devon Wildlife Trust. Until the 1990s it was an active clay mine producing clay for export. After being decommissioned its two huge clay pits stood unused for a more than a decade before Devon Wildlife Trust took over its ownership in 2013.

Today the nature reserve is visited by thousands of people each year, many arriving on the Tarka Trail cycle way which runs through the site. Its 150 hectares are free for people to explore and enjoy. A newly installed wildlife hide makes a popular destination for birdwatchers while insect experts have identified one of southern England’s largest colonies of the rare wood white butterfly living on the reserve. Now a rare spider, the strawberry spider, can be added to the growing list of Meeth Quarry’s known inhabitants.
Devon Wildlife Trust. Strawberry Spider (Araneus Alsine) Photo copyright Rob Wolton (All rights reserved) 
Strawberry Spider (Araneus Alsine) Photo copyright Rob Wolton (All rights reserved)


Invitation to New Book Launch at Clovelly Visitor Centre, Saurday 14th October at 2pm

Sir David Lewis, in his retirement from a successful career in the City (also as the eighth Welsh Lord Mayor), settled in the Edwinsford area, North Carmarthenshire, and has since researched and written about the histories of gentry and families there.

This book is the third in his series, covering the connection to Clovelly when the Williams family daughter, Arabella Williams (1739-97) of Edwinsford, married Sir James Hamlyn Bt MP (1735-1811) of Clovelly in 1762, bringing the Edwinsford Estate as a dowry.

To celebrate the Clovelly launch of this handsome and very interesting new book, Sir David Lewis will be at the Clovelly Visitor Centre on Saturday 14th October, from 2 pm to give a reading, answer questions and sign any purchased books.

The book is a hardback cover with dust jacket, 540 pages, 400 old and new photographs, and maps. £20 per copy.
  • History of the Edwinsford and Clovelly family and estates over 1,500 years
  • Histories of Clovelly, Talley, Llansawel, Caio, Crugybar, Pumsaint and Hawthornden Castle families and estate properties
  • Histories of community life, sporting events, churches, chapels and schools
A book can be purchased at the launch OR thereafter at the Clovelly Visitor Centre OR by contacting Sir David Lewis, email:


Invitation to New Book Launch at Clovelly Visitor Centre
Invitation to New Book Launch at Clovelly Visitor Centre 
Saturday 14th October at 2pm
"A History of the Edwinsford and Clovelly Communities - The Williams, Drummond, Cary, Hamlyn, Fane, Manners, Asquith and Rous Family Owners" by David T. R. Lewis

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Clovelly Lectures: "What the Jihadis Really Want" Speaker Sir Sherard Louis Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO

Clovelly welcomes Sir Sherard Louis Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO to a Forum on World Affairs, International Relations, Security & Defence and Science & Technology. A platform for providing information for informed choices . In its 8th year, Clovelly Lectures has found a reflective and responsive audience. A curiosity and interest in listening and discussing matters that directly impact our lives in a fast changing and confusing economic and political world.

Clovelly Lectures: Sir Sherard Louis Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles joined HSBC Holdings in October 2013 as Senior Adviser tothe Group Chairman and Group Chief Executive. In May 2015, he was appointed to a new post as Group Head of Government Affairs, and then as Group Head of Public Affairs from June 2017. He is also Chairman of HSBC Bank Oman SAOG, and a Director of HSBC Bank Egypt SAE. 
Before HSBC Sherard worked for two and a half years as Business Development Director, International, at BAE Systems PLC. Earlier he spent over 30 years in the British Diplomatic Service, which he joined straight from reading Classics at Oxford. He served in Cairo, Washington and Paris. 
He was also Principal Private Secretary to the UK Foreign Secretary, the late Robin Cook, and was Head of the Foreign Office Hong Kong Department from 1994 up to the handover to China in 1997. His final diplomatic jobs were as Ambassador to Israel(2001–2003), Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (2003–2007), Ambassador to Afghanistan (2007-2009), and the UK Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (2009–2010). 
Sherard is also Chairman of the UK Financial Inclusion Commission; an Ambassador for the Money Advice Trust, and for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust; a member of the Boards of the China-Britain Business Council, and the Egyptian British Business Council; Chairman of the Omani-British Business Council; a Committee Member of The Hong Kong Association; and a Board Member of Asia House. He is President of the Algeria British Business Council;and Chair of the UK Advisory Council, LSE Confucius Institute for Business London, and of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery Trust. 
He sits on the International Engagement Committee of the British Academy. He is an Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford, and President of the Jane Austen Society. He has an honorary D Litt from the University of Westminster, and is a Liveryman of The Skinners' Company. Sherard is the author of two books about his diplomatic experiences: Cables from Kabuland Ever the Diplomat. He speaks French and Arabic, some Hebrew and rudimentary Pashtu
Saturday October 7th 2017
"What the Jihadis Really Want"
Sir Sherard Louis Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO
For tickets and further information please contact or Tel: 01237 431200

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Sign of the Cross. Remembering the Lynmouth Flood Disaster

The Lynmouth Flood August 15th 1952.

“When the Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend C. Mortimer preached at the Memorial Service held a fortnight after the disaster in 1952 he said that when it was all over a cross should be erected where the water broke through.

The Bishop said, ‘A cross is a sign, not simply of death, but of death followed by resurrection’.”

On the 50th Anniversary of the disaster the Lord Lieutenant of Devon unveiled the memorial wooden cross on the Lyndale Bridge as seen in the photograph here.

There is permanent free exhibition at the Flood Memorial Hall opposite Lynmouth Harbour.

Exhibits include a  model of the village pre-flood, along with images of the buildings which were destroyed, films, photographs and personal accounts.

Today Lynmouth has been truly resurrected, a vibrant place where visitors flock from all around the world. Lynton and Lymouth "Where the moor meets the sea" is on the dramatic Exmoor Coast and is also famous for the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway, Glen Lyn Gorge, Watersmeet, the Valley of Rocks and more....

The Memorial Cross for the victims of the Lynmouth Flood at Lynmouth Today - Photo copyright Pat Adams
 The Memorial Cross for the victims of the Lynmouth Flood Disaster. Photo Lynmouth August 2017 Pat Adams
Lynmouth Flood Disaster press cuttings on show inside the Flood Memorial Hall - Photo copyright Pat Adams
Press cuttings on show inside the Flood Memorial Hall - Photo Pat Adams