My Ottery St Mary by Richard Coley

Richard Coley at Cadhay House. Ref edr 24 19TI 6097. Picture: Terry Ife

Richard Coley at Cadhay House. Ref edr 24 19TI 6097. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Richard Coley explains why he enjoys living in the town.

Please introduce yourself...

I came to Ottery with my wife Cynthia and two young children - Stephen and Jill - in 1969 (Andrew was born soon after we arrived), to take up a senior post at Bicton College, then one of the best colleges of its type in the country.

I took early retirement in 1992, which has enabled me to get involved in various voluntary activities.

What is your favourite memory associated with Ottery St Mary?

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Before we moved to Devon from Northamptonshire, we spent a long time trying to find somewhere to live, without finding anything or anywhere we really liked.

My favourite memory is coming down the hill into Ottery and remarking 'This looks as though it could be OK' - and so it proved to be.

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What do you like most about Ottery St Mary?

The thing I most like about Ottery is how easy it is to get to know people.

Going into the town on a Saturday morning is like going into a club.

The problem is that I never know how long I will be out, because of all the people I meet.

What is your favourite shop in Ottery St Mary?

There isn't one.

We are lucky to have such a large variety of independent businesses in such a small town where you always get a friendly welcome and good service, and the multiples are not to be outdone in this respect either.

How have you seen Ottery St Mary develop throughout the years?

As in many other places, more than 30 per cent more houses are being added to the town, leading to traffic problems and a strain on the local facilities.

But there will be benefits too as the new inhabitants take their opportunities to get involved in one or more of the many organisations in the town.

The scout and guide movements cater for almost 200 youngsters each week.

People can play indoor or outdoor bowls or cricket, football and tennis.

They can sing in one of the choirs, play bridge or ring hand bells or the church bells.

They can go to the Men's Forum or the WI. There are churches of different denominations in the town which run a range of activities.

They can walk along the well-marked footpaths. They can take part in performances by Ottery Community Theatre, or help in running the Tar Barrel event, Pixie Day or Hospiscare.

The Heritage Society organises a well-attended series of talks each year and the National Trust association runs outings and talks open to non-members as well. And there are more.

No-one need be short of anything to do.

What is your favourite building in Ottery St Mary?

Though the church comes near the top of the list, Cadhay has my vote.

A charming Tudor house, it is surrounded by beautiful gardens. A mile or so from the town centre in quiet countryside, Cadhay is lovingly cared for by its owner. No wonder the people who go on the Friday afternoon guided tours sing its praises so highly.

To read more features from East Devon Resident, click here.

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