The view from here: very, very beautiful

SIDMOUTH has hit the international headlines once more, after a seven-figure bequest was left for the Sid Valley.

SIDMOUTH has hit the international headlines once more, after a seven-figure bequest was left for the Sid Valley.Radio listeners across the globe will receive an aural postcard from Sidmouth after the BBC World Service visited the town last week. The corporation was travelling hot on the heels of a story the Herald broke in February, that wealthy financial advisor Keith Owen had left the Sid Vale Association around £1.5 million in his will when he died in December, aged 69.The news led SVA chairman Handel Bennett on a merry-go-round of media interviews, with BBC Radio Five Live, Radio Four and with presenter Chris Evans on Radio 2. News organisations from Canada, Totnes-born Mr Owen's hometown, have also been in touch for a view from Sidmouth.BBC reporter John Devlin sent interviews from Sidmouth round the world to millions of listeners on the World Service's Outlook programme.Mr Devlin said: "It is a magazine programme, and our aim is to give people a flavour of life in Britain. We thought it would be very interesting to find out what it is about this town that was worth £1.5 million."I have found it incredibly friendly and very, very beautiful. It has certainly been a different experience than my last seaside visit, which was Southend!"Mr Bennett was joined by Sidmouth Lifeboat trustee Freddy Wedderburn in guiding Mr Devlin round the town. The pair introduced the reporter to the townspeople, and helped explain town life, including the success of Sidmouth's Britain in Bloom campaigns to a worldwide audience."I think people looked upon Sidmouth as a little-known holiday town," said Mr Bennett. "Suddenly it has come into a lot of money. From the point of view of the SVA, we are incredibly fortunate to have received the bequest."Mr Owen, whose late mother Ellen lived in Sidmouth, saw the place as an ideal English town. In his will he asked for the money to remain untouched as capital for the SVA, investment proceeds to be spent across the Sid Valley.The SVA will set up a grants committee to look at how funds can be spent, before inviting suggestions on improvements.

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