Surprise party held in honour of Ottery’s Pixie Day chairman

PUBLISHED: 07:01 10 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:42 12 February 2018

Residents gathered for a surprised party for Richard Coley, who has organised Pixie Day, for more than 40  years.

Residents gathered for a surprised party for Richard Coley, who has organised Pixie Day, for more than 40 years.

Archant

Pixie Day committee members and participants from across the years gathered to surprise the man who has been behind the tradition for the past 40 years.

Richard Coley was presented with a cake for 40 years of service of the Pixie Day.Richard Coley was presented with a cake for 40 years of service of the Pixie Day.

Richard Coley, who is the current chairman of the event, had no idea that an afternoon tea was being held in his honour at the scout centre last Saturday.

The 81-year-old was kept busy during the day by his granddaughters Evie and Harriet before being greeted by 60 guests. Richard said: “My glasses steamed up so I couldn’t see them to begin with. It was very nice thing for people to do, it shows what a good team we have had over the years.”

The Ottery resident has overseen the festivities since 1978 after helping to revive the event started by Fred Godfrey in 1954.

As the then chairman of the scouts support committee, he joined forces with the town guides group to start up the tradition.

Each year some 80 to 90 youngsters dress up as mischievous pixies to re-enact the town’s legend which ends with the unsuccessful ‘capture’ of the church bell ringers.

Catriona Paton, who co-organises Pixie Day, said the committee had discussed doing something to recognise Richard’s involvement with the event.

They held it at the centre in Winters Lane due to his involvement with the group on the weekend it would have held its annual jumble sale.

Catriona, who has been on the committee for 22 years, said: “40 years is quite a momentous amount of time to be involved in Pixie Day. We sent out invites saying it was a celebration of Richard being involved with Pixie Day and at the bottom it said ‘do not tell him’.

“He does so much behind the scenes. Pixie Day is a big event in itself.

I became involved because of an off the cuff comment and I think Richard had he not asked me to do it, I would have not got involved and I wouldn’t know very many people.”

This year’s Pixie Day will take place on Saturday, June 23.

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