New PR for Sid Vale Association

I M new to Sidmouth and have a huge amount to learn, says Diana East, new publicity officer for Sid Vale Association.

I'M new to Sidmouth and have a huge amount to learn," says Diana East, new publicity officer for Sid Vale Association.

From a village in the South Cotswolds, Diana and partner Colin retired to Sidmouth last December, choosing it because it offered a combination of town and countryside living, as well as the draw of the sea for the two keen sailors.

With a long-time interest in the landscape, particularly trees; having actively promoted Westernbirt, the National Arboretum, which is on a par with Kew, for 10 years, Diana was naturally drawn to the work of the SVA.

"My love of trees has been with me from a life of being out in open spaces since childhood," said Diana.

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"We had a small woodland in the Cotswolds, which sadly we had to sell when we moved."

In 1968, aged 19, she joined the world of radio, television and film, working behind the camera as a script supervisor "first for the BBC, then freelance," on programmes such as The Bill, Eastenders and David Attenborough's wildlife programmes.

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In a career spanning more than 25 years she also became involved in photography, something she has not done professionally for some time.

What interested Diana in the SVA?

"I think I am particularly interested in their landscaping and conservation aims. As a life member of the National Trust and Woodland Trust, I could see Sid Vale Association was going to be right up my street."

Through her new post, which she took on from SVA chairman the Reverend Handel Bennett at the association's annual meeting, Diana hopes to "raise the number of people who participate in the work of the SVA.

"With two funds, the Landscape Fund and Keith Owen Fund, SVA has the potential to be a real influence to get things done, major things done, and already quite small grants have been allocated widely," she said.

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