What made the news in 2019? October to December.
PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 December 2019
Proposals to relocate Tipton St John Primary school to a new site, Remembrance Sunday services, and of course the General Election were among the stories we reported in the last three months of the year.
Dog owners celebrated the end of the summer beach ban with a mass walk on Sidmouth beach with their pets. More than 20 dogs were brought along for a run on the beach and a splash in the sea on October 1.
A scheme to relocate Tipton St John Primary School to a site on the outskirts of Ottery St Mary was announced by Devon County Council. The school has been flooded several times, although not recently. The proposals for the new site, at Thorne Farm, also include 150 new homes and a road.
Sidmouth won a gold award, and the Sargent cup for outstanding effort and dedication, in the South West In Bloom competition. Seven community spaces also received 'outstanding' ratings in the In Your Neighbourhood category. The judges had visited the town in July.
It was Ottery's turn for a carnival night. Sid Vale Carnival Club won the best overall prize with their tribute to Isambard Kingdom Brunel. A newly-introduced trophy for the best-dressed window, in memory of former TIC manager Phyllis Baxter, was won by Abbots DIY.
Ottery's tar barrels event went without a hitch, but organisers were disappointed with the income from car parking charges. Many visitors walked from West Hill or Gosford to avoid the £10 fee. The organisers said they would need to raise 'quite a bit of money' to make sure the 2020 event will go ahead.
Remembrance Sunday on November 10 was marked with parades and services in Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary, and elsewhere in the Sid Valley. This year there was a special focus on the bravery of those who took part in the D-Day landings, 75 years on.
A Sidmouth schoolgirl who completed a swimming challenge in aid of The Wave Project, despite suffering from anxiety, was named the charity's Fundraiser of the Year. Elsa White, 12, attends a surf programme run by the project to help improve her mental wellbeing, and swam 100 lengths a week for four weeks to raise nearly £700.
Plans to increase charges in many of East Devon's car parks, including some in Sidmouth, were put on the back burner by the district council. Councillors agreed not to put the issue out to public consultation until a newly-formed forum had completed a report. The proposals had sparked outrage from many local residents, and the former chairman of the district council said they could be the 'death knell' for independent traders.
Frances Meek, who ran the former Marlborough Hotel on Sidmouth seafront for 35 years with her husband Douglas, celebrated her 100th birthday on December 2. The couple had also started up the Jacobs Ladder beach kiosk as part of a council initiative to improve the town's facilities for visitors.
An appeal was launched to raise the funding needed to set up a youth mental health support service in Sidmouth. The non-clinical service Headlight has a programme in Ottery, and the Sid Valley Well-being and Action on Health Team wanted to introduce one in Sidmouth. Lottery money was available, but £10,000 in match funding would be needed. Sidmouth Parish Church agreed to contribute from its Christmas/Advent appeal.
The actor Hugh Grant made a surprise appearance in Sidmouth shortly before the General Election, showing his support for the Independent candidate Claire Wright. But when the country went to the polls three days later, East Devon remained Conservative, with candidate Simon Jupp elected to the seat.
Sidmouth Town Council suggested a ban on dogs in public spaces including the Ham, Sidford Playing Fields, Long Park and Manstone Recreation Field. It was responding to the district council's invitation to comment on a review of dog control orders.
Torrential rain brought flooding to many areas at the end of the week before Christmas. A Met Office yellow weather warning was in place for four days as Devon was lashed by heavy downpours and strong winds.