Conservation celebrated with candles

Revd. Handel Bennett, Prof Bob Symes, (museum curator), Chris Woodruff and Phil Planel (AONB) and Al

Revd. Handel Bennett, Prof Bob Symes, (museum curator), Chris Woodruff and Phil Planel (AONB) and Alan Darrant (SVA Chairman). - Credit: Archant

HALF-A-CENTURY of conservation was celebrated with candles as the 50th anniversary of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was marked in Sidmouth.

A bumper audience packed the Manor Pavilion to toast the landmark at an event organised by the Sid Vale Association (SVA).

The organisation began in 1963 and a specially decorated cake helped mark the occasion.

The SVA was one of the founding partners of the AONB Partnership in 2003.

Chris Woodruff, manager of the partnership, reminded the audience of how the conservation partnership had come into being - and what it had accomplished for both residents and visitors.


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The afternoon also featured the annual SVA museum talk, given this year by Philippe Planel, AONB heritage project officer.

He has been the leader of a three-year project entitled In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson (POH).

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Phil recalled that POH spent all his adult life in Sidmouth where he pursued a wide range of interests.

“His geological and archaeological observations recorded in 2,000 pages of his diaries, are of immense value,” he said.

The museum has contributed to the project by making records and research available.

In addition, the SVA’s Keith Owen Fund contributed more than £17,900 towards the cost of the project.

The museum summer season opens this weekend and includes some of Hutchinson’s discoveries.

Entry is free but donations help with essential costs.

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