‘Town’s a real gem,’ says owner of new business

Set to sparkle: Haydn and Nicola Welch outside their new jewellery shop. Ref shs 4747-43-15SH. Pictu

Set to sparkle: Haydn and Nicola Welch outside their new jewellery shop. Ref shs 4747-43-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

A jeweller has returned to Sidmouth to continue a long-standing love affair with the town where he started his career 37 years ago.

Haydn Welch says he is thrilled to have finally opened his new shop in High Street this week, after a long wait - and is planning something a bit special to mark the occasion.

The business owner began his trade in New Street’s Mountstephen in 1978, before going on to open his first jewellers in his home town of Taunton in 1991 alongside his wife Nicola.

The couple have long held dreams of returning to Sidmouth and when the former Grace premises became available, they jumped at the opportunity.

Haydn said: “When we were newlyweds, my wife and I worked for two years in a jewellers in Sidmouth.

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“We always missed Sidmouth tremendously and wanted to come back. It has taken us 24 years, but we have made it.

“The town is pretty unique – it has lovely, top quality shops and businesses throughout the whole range of a high street, without having a generic high street. There are some good-quality chain stores, but it has its own identity.

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“As a child, my dad would drive us down to Sidmouth a couple of times-a-week during the summer so I could swim in the sea.

“It is not just a lovely place to be that I have fond childhood memories of, but it’s also a lovely place to be as a business.”

Haydn met Nicola when he was working in an Exeter jewellery shop and he immediately noticed her smile when she came in for a job interview, not knowing at the time she was to become his future wife.

It has become a true family affair, with the couple’s son, Joseph, working in the business, before opening his own shop.

To mark the start of their new venture and honour the town they love, Haydn and Nicola will be launching a special competition, offering people a chance to design their own Sidmouth-themed pendant.

The winning design will be made into a silver pendant and a hand-crafted version presented to the winner, before a limited edition selection go on sale.

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