Mike Dibble, retired estate agent and avid sports fan, writes for the Herald about his passion for East Devon.

Earlier this month a large number of mourners gathered at Sidford Church to say goodbye to Terry Jenkin. Terry was a former goalkeeper for Sidbury United. He also played skittles for the Mr Men, a team who were once based at the football clubhouse in Sidford. His three daughters gave a wonderful eulogy. There were tears of laughter and sadness as the stories were told about his life. Afterwards mourners gathered at Sidmouth Town Football Club where newspaper clippings of Terry’s interesting achievements were on display. RIP Terry.

Last week Peter Fung passed away after a short illness. Peter would have been best known as a local GP but many will have known him from his musical and sporting exploits. He was a former Chairman of the Tennis Section at Sidmouth Cricket Club and prior to that he had played for a few seasons for the 3rd XI cricket team. RIP Peter.

On the commercial property scene there is lots of activity. Firstly the Joules clothing store in Market Square closed last Saturday. It was initially thought that the store would remain open after the company had been bought out of administration. As yet there is no sign of activity at the old HSBC premises which lies empty. The Hairloft salon is now closed following the owner’s retirement. There is a lovely picture of Sidmouth now adorning the window space which certainly brightens up the High Street. Flaunt It has also now closed in the town centre due to another retirement. A new business is due to open in the premises soon. M & Co is due to close at Easter. It is reported that the buyers did not require any of the shop premises across the country. A business called Driftwood is due to open soon opposite Dukes and a business called Kapes is due to open in the kiosk in front of Dukes on the seafront. The Marine is back open again and new tenants are due to take over soon. Browns Kitchen Bakery will move in March from East Street to Church Street. The Eatery is due to open in a couple of weeks in Cross Lane. All very positive.

The scaffolders and decorators have been extremely busy around the town these past few weeks. The seafront hotels look very smart as are a number of shops and pubs that have also been redecorated. The Anchor is worthy of a particular mention. All of the seafront hotels will be open by this weekend. Certainly there was a real buzz about the town last Sunday on a glorious sunny day.

There has been lots of debate on social media about the possible street trading plans for the town. Opinions vary but the majority I have seen do not want street trading all year round. I suspect a lot of local businesses feel the same way. Opinions are being sought via a questionnaire from East Devon District Council.

Another real positive for the town is the refurbished play area at The Ham. Those with children and grandchildren will really appreciate the effort that has gone into creating this. As will the children themselves of course!

Sidmouth Daffodil Day is on Saturday, March 11, with activities at Kennaway House being the main attraction. There will also be lots of goodies for sale on the day including plant stalls. Why not come along and possibly have a ride on the famous Sidmouth Toastrack charabanc? Hopefully the owner will remember to fill her up with fuel this year!

A big question currently hanging over the residential property market is whether the holiday home bill will get through parliament. This will potentially see the doubling of council tax bills for holiday home owners in East Devon. Watch this space.

Finally the turnstones on the seafront are gradually leaving and heading north to their breeding grounds. A sure sign that Spring is on the way.