My Honiton – an oasis of calm – by Mary Bolshaw

Mary Bolshaw. Ref edr 11 18TI 9452. Picture: Terry Ife

Mary Bolshaw. Ref edr 11 18TI 9452. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Long-time resident and charity worker Mary Bolshaw tells us some of her favourite aspects of the town

Mary Bolshaw. Ref edr 11 18TI 9452. Picture: Terry Ife

Mary Bolshaw. Ref edr 11 18TI 9452. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Please introduce yourself…

I am a native Devonian, born in Plymouth. When I was seven, my family moved to Braunton, where I received my primary education then later at Ilfracombe Grammar School. I moved to Honiton upon my marriage in 1973, 45 years ago. My husband and I chose Honiton really by accident as we needed to accommodate both our mothers. We bought what was then Oak Lodge, in King’s Road, (now Sunningdale House) where we brought up our two children and which I ran as a guest house for 14 years. We now live in Woodhill View. Our son and daughter are married and we have four granddaughters. I am chairman of the Hospiscare Honiton Support Group which works to raise money primarily for King’s House Day Hospice, in King Street, which has been open for three years. Apart from offering day care to patients on a weekly basis, it also accommodates our community nurses and occupational therapists. I am ably supported in this work by a hard-working committee and a happy band of volunteers. I have actually been a Hospiscare supporter since before the Exeter Hospice was built 35 years ago. This volunteering gives me the pleasure of being able to help those who need this service most.

What is your favourite building in Honiton and why?

Marwood House, at the eastern end of High Street. It has great period charm and because of its position escaped the many fires that ravaged the High Street in the past.

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What do you think is Honiton’s biggest asset?

Its history and location. The town council’s strap line ‘The Town in the Country’ well sums up its quality as a place to live, work and make friends. Also the town enjoys a good rail link to London and the rest of the country along with a good road link to Exeter.

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What is you favourite memory associated with Honiton?

Taking our children and now our grandchildren to see the carnival and to the Honiton Show. These attractions are such a part of Honiton life and which are not experienced in the parts of the country where our grandchildren live.

What’s your favourite attraction and why?

The Glen. It is lovely little park which seems to one of Honiton’s best kept secrets. It is such an attractive place with its trees and stream offering and oasis of calm in the town and a place to take children to get much-needed exercise.

How do you think Honiton can improve as a town?

One of the major things which could improve the town would be a regular cutting of the road-side verges and a complete cutting not leaving parts of them as happens at present. These not only look a mess but many of them have been allowed to get so long that they are a danger to people trying to cross the road. Honiton is a tourist town and these shabby features need to be removed to enhance its image. We have so many positive attractions for tourists, the museum, lace and a varied choice of shops. I have a dream, yet to be fulfilled, that the empty High Street premises will be filled with successful independent businesses.

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