Forty years of FolkWeek for Friar

Friar West is celebrating 40 years of visiting Sidmouth during FolkWeek

Friar West is celebrating 40 years of visiting Sidmouth during FolkWeek - Credit: Archant

A FolkWeek fanatic is set to enter festival folklore as he attends the event for the 40th year running.

Seasoned traveller Friar West, 67, believes that he holds the record for the most consecutive visits after first paddling into Sidmouth in 1976 in his canoe.

Friar, of Totnes, said: “I do now genuinely feel that no other person has made more consecutive visits to the festival than I have. Last year, I volunteered to spend the whole week collecting money for the festival, day and night. I visited every nook and cranny and noticed that some other people who had also been coming for decades were not there at all. No-one can look into the future, but I will continue to come for as long as I can.”

Friar hopes fellow festival-goers will celebrate the landmark with him by buying him a pint.

Friar has made sure that his many trips abroad have never clashed with FolkWeek. Friar’s journeys have included a three-month paddle around Greece and going to the deepest gorge on Earth in the Himalayas.

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The cause held weekend events during FolkWeek which attracted visitors from across the world.

Now with the help of Doug Scott CBE, the first British person to climb the south west face of Mount Everest, Friar still hopes to secure land near Sidmouth to continue the ICAN event.

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He is supporting the world record holder who will be holding talks in Plymouth and Exeter to raise money to building schools and hospitals in Nepal that were destroyed by a recent earthquake.

Festival director John Braithwaite said: “It’s wonderful to hear that Friar is making his 40th pilgrimage to Sidmouth FolkWeek as we celebrate our 62nd year. His dedication to the cause is appreciated by all of us.”

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