Praise for outgoing VGS chair from successor

The new chairman of Vision Group for Sidmouth (VGS) praised the outgoing chairman as ‘the man people think of when they think about the group’.

Robert Crick is standing down after several years as the man at the helm of the group looking to the future of the town, and his successor says he will be a hard act to follow.

At Wednesday’s AGM in Kennaway House’s basement bar, Dave Bramley was confirmed as the new chair, and paid tribute to Robert’s input to VGS since it started six years ago.

He said: “When I first saw him he was wearing a silly coloured hat and I thought ‘this guy’s a bit weird’.

“But now, having worked with him closely, I can confirm he is in fact completely mad.”

Mr Crick gave his final speech as chair, and as if to underline Mr Bramley’s comments about him, illustrated his talk by brandishing a couple of cuddly meerkat dolls.

He used them to say the people of Sidmouth need to be more like that animal looking around rather than be ostriches with their heads in the ground about change.

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He asked the audience, ‘what prevents change?’ and said in the face of denial and despair what people need is a long-term vision, something the VGS is trying to create.

The meeting also saw independent district councillors for Ottery St Mary Claire Wright and Roger Giles giving a talk on the East Devon’ Local Development Framework and how it will affect the shape of Sidmouth in the future.

Duncan Hall from Sidmouth Health Centre also spoke, and issued a plea for help in bringing forward the much-needed redevelopment of the centre.

Paul Whitehouse from the newly-formed patient group also talked about their role as an interface between patients and the doctors as they try and make healthcare in the town more efficient.