Ottery St Mary news review July to September

News from the Ottery St Mary area between July and September

July

More than 300 youngsters got on their boards, bikes and scooters to celebrate the opening of Ottery’s new skate and BMX park.

After years of setbacks and problems the community-led project was finally unveiled officially to the public, and the volunteers who made it happen put on a host of events to mark the occasion properly.

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Two Ottery nurses who had given 80 years to the NHS between them retired together.

Liz Matson and Yvonne Palfrey, who met while working night-shifts at the town’s hospital in the 1980s, had been serving the community for 25 years.

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The King’s School was given nearly �2million to build a new classroom block to replace aged and temporary facilities.

The Ottery academy applied for the funding from the Department for Education after it changed status last year, which they said had been proven to be the right decision.

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Memories of one of Ottery’s darkest days were brought back after the worst flooding in the town since the 2008 disaster.

Homes in Furzebrook, Victoria Terrace and Thorne Farm Way all saw the flood waters come close to their properties, but were spared the damage of four years ago, when hundreds of homes were affected.

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Ottery will have a travel agent again after a pair of holiday specialists announced they would be opening a new branch in the town.

Harv and Monika were expanding their current travel business in London by taking over the old Pixie Parlour shop in Mill Street.

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A teenager from Ottery was one of a quartet of lads cycling the length of Britain this month to raise money for Macmillan.

Joshua Dale, 19, would be cycling from John O’ Groats to Land’s End, approximately 930 miles, in 10 days.

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Mayor Glyn Dobson said the previous 12 months had been ‘an incredibly exciting and busy’ one but said he expected there to be plenty of applications for new developments.

In his annual report, he said more large-scale proposals, such as one for the former Ottermill Switchgear Factory, which he said was imminent, were on the way.

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It was reported that the town’s water was clearing up thanks to the completion of a new borehole, according to South West Water.

The utilities firm had been under fire from residents and the town council, after discoloured drinking water had been coming through taps.

August

The King’s School celebrated its best ever A-Level results after reporting a 100 per cent pass rate with every student making their university offer.

Pupils picked up a bumper crop of A* grades, with 14 of them achieving a clean sweep of A* or A’s.

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The King’s School headteacher was angry GCSE scores in English were significantly lower this year amid claims students had been marked down.

An investigation was launched into the marking after schools across the country saw pass rates in the subject drop for the first time in years

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The Minor Injuries Unit at Ottery hospital was closed for part of this month due to ‘staffing issues’.

All patients were redirected to either to Honiton hospital, the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital or Devon Doctors.

A spokesman for North Devon NHS Trust, which manages the hospital, apologised for the disruption the closures had caused.

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An Ottery church was marking its 350th anniversary this month with a celebration of being one of Britain’s oldest non-conformist places of worship.

The United Reformed Church, which has its headquarters in Jesu Street, was founded in 1662 by Robert Collins, the vicar of Talaton.

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A Devon health chief said Ottery would have to deal with an ageing population after predicting a massive increase of people aged over 85 in the town.

Ian Tearle, from NHS Devon, said the statistics showed the total number of people was predicted to increase by 0.8 per cent between 2011 and 2026, but the number of people aged 85 and over would go up by 37.7 per cent.

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Tributes were paid to Tony Abbott, who died after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

The “fantastic” dad-of-three, proud grandfather and DIY store founder was described as a “true Ottregian”.

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It was reported that congregation members may never be caught short again as plans to install toilets at the parish church were unveiled.

The proposals were for a �250,000 single-storey extension to the rear of the Grade I listed building.

A young leader from Ottery Girl Guides was part of an all-girl crew who sailed to Holland to experience life on the ocean.

Lauren Olive, 16, got her sea legs on the seven-day Challenger Yacht voyage, which started in Hartlepool and was co-ordinated by the Tall Ships Youth Trust.

September

A �1million project which links ‘two halves’ of Ottery has landed the town a prestigious award.

The Coleridge Bridge and Cycleway won a Green Apple Environment Award, which was presented at a ceremony in the Houses of Parliament.

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An Ottery animal-lover had a new feathery house guest after a homeless hen set up residence with her in Yonder Street.

Elli Pang, 72, took in ‘Gertie’ to live with her other chickens when a neighbour found her in their garden.

She said: “When I came downstairs she was at the back door, obviously waiting to come inside the house.

“Since then she’s been coming in every day and following me around the kitchen.”

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Speeding drivers had to watch out in West Hill as the village ‘speed watch’ training got under way.

The scheme allowed local volunteers to be approved by traffic officers to operate equipment supplied by the police and identify speeding motorists.

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Shock new plans were announced to resurrect a controversial scheme to build a dozen homes in the centre of Ottery.

The land behind the Old Convent was the subject of a bitter row in 2009, with proposals only successful on appeal.

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Tipton Playing Fields were left �3,000 from a dog-walker as a ‘token of his appreciation’ for being able to use the land.

Major William Hunter, known to everyone as ‘Jock’, bequeathed the money to the charity which manages the eight-acre field, after his death in February 2011.

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Ottery Tennis Club emerged as a favourite to use the town council’s land at Strawberry Lane, after the mayor admitted talks were under way.

Councillor Glyn Dobson told fellow members that the club would be interested in establishing facilities at the site with ‘two or three hard courts’.

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A developer unveiled plans to potentially build more than 160 new homes and a care home in Ottery.

Simon Steele-Perkins said the town had the chance to influence the proposals for land in Barrack Road by making comments on the website that was set up to display the plans.

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The town council reluctantly supported plans to build behind the Old Convent, but said it was being ‘held to ransom’.

Councillors, who voted by five votes to four in favour, said they were only supporting the plans because they were not as bad as the previous proposal.

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