Melanesian visitor to Ottery on fact-finding mission

A visiting dignitary from Melanesia is visiting Ottery as part of a three-month fact-finding mission.

Joe Takeli, the Education Secretary of the Anglican Church on the Pacific islands, has attended services at Ottery St Mary Parish Church and has been visiting several schools in the area.

Katie Drew, the church administrator, met Mr Takeli when her and her family spent three months on the Solomon Islands doing volunteer work last summer.

She said they have taken the visiting dignitary to Exeter Cathedral and to the city’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum, which houses some Melanesian artefacts.

This week Mr Takeli has been to Ottery, West Hill and Feniton Primary Schools, St Peter’s school in Exeter, and had meetings with Diocesan and county council educational staff.

The trip is part of ongoing links between Feniton and Melanesia, which started after the first Bishop of the islands, John Patteson [corr], came from the Devon village.

He was martyred by locals in 1871 who mistook him for a slave trader, but later this year his descendants will be travelling to the island where the Bishop was killed for a reconciliation ceremony.