Sidmouth’s ‘weather man’ steps down after 35 years

PUBLISHED: 07:15 27 May 2018

Stuart Herridge from the Met Office presents a retirement gift to weather observer Roger Davis. Ref shs 21 18TI 4053. Picture: Terry Ife

Stuart Herridge from the Met Office presents a retirement gift to weather observer Roger Davis. Ref shs 21 18TI 4053. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

After 35 years of taking the measurements for the Met Office, the town’s very own ‘weather man’ is retiring.

Stuart Herridge from the Met office presents a retirement present to Whether observer Roger Davis. Ref shs 21 18TI 4060. Picture: Terry IfeStuart Herridge from the Met office presents a retirement present to Whether observer Roger Davis. Ref shs 21 18TI 4060. Picture: Terry Ife

Roger Davis was given a specially-inscribed barometer by Stuart Herridge from the Met Office to mark the occasion.

Roger said: “I have been interested in the weather all my life, apparently, I am told, even watching the clouds go by when I was in my pram!

“But I got more seriously involved when an opportunity arose to take the official weather observations for the Met Office at Sidmouth.”

Sidmouth has had an official weather station since 1926, recognised and run by the Met Office as part of its climate monitoring network, to which the data is reported and archived for the nation.

Whether observer Roger Davis with his retirement present from Stuart Herridge from the Met office. Ref shs 21 18TI 4063. Picture: Terry IfeWhether observer Roger Davis with his retirement present from Stuart Herridge from the Met office. Ref shs 21 18TI 4063. Picture: Terry Ife

Roger, who lives in the town, has been responsible for making the daily record of temperature, rainfall, and general conditions.

During his years of service, he has had able assistance from others including John Barrett, John Hodgson, and Roger Everest-Philips.

“Roger has decided, after many years of volunteering, to take a well-earned retirement. We wish Roger well in his retirement - the Met Office and the scientific community are grateful for your efforts,” Mr Herridge said.

Roger added: “With all the talk of global warming, I have noticed that the winters have got milder, but, Sidmouth, being a coastal resort, there seems to have been little warming during the summer.”

Stuart Herridge from the Met office presents a retirement present to Whether observer Roger Davis. Ref shs 21 18TI 4053. Picture: Terry IfeStuart Herridge from the Met office presents a retirement present to Whether observer Roger Davis. Ref shs 21 18TI 4053. Picture: Terry Ife

As a keen weather-watcher, he remembers many notable events over the years, including the severe winter of 1962-63.

Roger has vivid memories of the River Thames being frozen solid at Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey, the long hot summer of 1976, the blizzard of February 1978, and the five weeks of ‘The Beast from the East’ from late January until early March 1986.

“I will miss taking the observations at Sidmouth, but hopefully some new observers will take on the job and I wish them well. Meanwhile, my weather station will be in my back garden,” he said.

The Met Office is now on the lookout for new volunteers to keep this historic site reporting.

The thermometer screen and rain gauge are adjacent to the bowls and tennis clubs, where readings are taken each morning.

Doing the observations takes only five or 10 minutes per day.

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