BROMPTON REGIS SHOW & GYMKHANA

Brompton Regis Show & Gymkhana (Brompton Regis Cricket Field, Renford Knap TA22 9NJ) will be celebrating its 65th birthday on 18 August, with lots to enjoy for every member of the family (and for dogs, horses and ponies too!) .

The show opens at 9am with show jumping when the refreshment tent will also open for teas, coffees, cakes, etc.  The exciting Gundog Scurry sponsored by Hollam Shoot starts at 10.30am and the ever-popular Dog Show starts at 12.30pm with pedigree classes, followed by family fun dog classes at 2.30pm (all times are approx.). Entries for all Scurry and Dog Show classes are taken on the day – so bring your dogs and have some fun! The exhibits tent opens at noon, with amazing displays of flowers, vegetables, cookery, handicraft and eggs.

The children’s area and stalls open at 10am with a Bouncy Castle. Face Painting will start at 11am. Enjoy our vintage tractor display, coconut shy, bric-a-brac, plants, books and bottle stalls, tombola, raffle, etc., and our Auction of Promises (opening at 11.30am) will have some magnificent offers waiting for your bid. For the first time we have the Somerset Red Arrows Majorettes performing in the refreshment area at approx 2.30pm.

The Horse Show and Gymkhana will be a full day event with lots of classes, from jumping, showing (including Exmoor Ponies) and fancy dress, to the excitement of the gymkhana to cheer on. (Entries for all classes are taken on the day.) And don’t miss our traditional Parade of Hounds at approx 2.30pm.

At around 3.30pm, the Auction of Promises winners will be announced, followed by a very entertaining auction of tempting produce from the various exhibits. Not to be missed!

See you there!

Su Elsden, Show Secretary – 01398 371473

 

MINEHEAD TO WELCOME TOP UK AND EUROPEAN JET SKI RACERS

P1 AquaX Championships will serve up two days of high-speed marine motorsport action at the Minehead Summer Festival on the weekend of 4-5 August.

More than 40 jet ski riders from seven countries will head to Minehead Bay on the West Somerset coast to compete for UK and European P1 AquaX titles. This will be the first visit to Minehead by P1 AquaX since the race series was launched in the UK in 2011, and it now stages events in the USA, Malaysia and mainland Europe.

The Minehead Summer Festival has come about through a partnership between the Minehead Events Group, Minehead Coastal Communities Team, ThunderCat powerboats and P1 AquaX. It is hoped that the weekend will become an annual event to entertain residents and attract visitors to the town to raise its profile and boost the local economy. The double bill of fast and furious jet ski and powerboat racing will be free to watch and Andy Hadley, chairman of the Minehead Events Group, said: “As a fun weekend for all the family to enjoy, we are hoping to attract visitors from far and wide to watch the top class jet ski and powerboat racing, and I want to thank local sponsors Amicus Law, Beaver Ford, CJ Lynch & Sons, Autohaus and Jewson for their support in making this event possible.”

Mayor of Minehead, Cllr Norman Hercock, is looking forward to the Summer Festival: “I’m sure all the sporting action that will take place on Minehead seafront will deliver a special and entertaining weekend for both local residents and holidaymakers alike.”

Former world champion jet skier and now Global Head of P1 AquaX, Lisa Barsby, explains: “Our events take place on the sea with simple, wide-open race courses that give riders the chance to open up their throttles and enjoy the full performance of the craft. The racing includes both sprint and endurance classes, lasting about 10 minutes and 30 minutes respectively, with the racers reaching speeds of up to 80mph.

The four-venue P1 AquaX EuroTour series kicked off on France’s Mediterranean coast in May – following the announcement that Experience Kissimmee, the travel and tourism authority in central Florida that promotes the destination, had become the title sponsor of this season’s tour – and then visited Normandy last month. After Minehead the racers will travel to Port Balis near Barcelona for the final round in October. The UK Championship has raced in Torquay and Porthcawl this Summer and Minehead now hosts the finale.

One of the competitors with only a short journey next week will be Simon Gill, the experienced and successful jet skier from Bristol who is the reigning UK and European champion in 2-stroke sprint. “Minehead is just down the road,” says Simon, “And I often ride that coastline. There’s a very fast rise and fall tide there, with a range of more than 12 metres in the Bristol Channel, so it could make for some exciting racing especially if there’s a bit of wind about to produce some interesting conditions.”

The jet ski action will start at 9.30am on Saturday (4 August) and 11.30am on Sunday (5 August), with the podium presentations to the winning riders taking place on The Esplanade at 4pm on Sunday. The racing will be filmed for television and shown internationally on leading sports channels and also on P1AquaX-YouTube.

For information about the weekend follow this link… p1aquax.com/Race-info/Minehead/2018/86196

LUMEN PRIZE: ADVENTURES IN DIGITAL ART EXHIBITION AT CONTAINS ART

This exhibition, specially curated for Contains Art in Watchet features interactive and immersive digital artworks by three international artists previously selected for The Lumen Prize. These works explore what is social and collaborative about digital, celebrating the value of such experiences.

American artist Biwei Niu was a 2017 Lumen Prize finalist with her ‘Evolution of Rhythm’. The piece is an interactive touch-based installation about Qi, a principle that forms the basis of much Chinese philosophy and medicine. In the work, abstract and organic graphics are projected onto a large, vertical frame covered with white fabric.  By touching the fabric surface people make waves, or push the imagery around.

‘MOC’, by Lab 212 from France, was a 2015 Lumen Prize finalist. It explores the relationship between sound and image through simple interactions. An imaginary landscape passes before the viewer, who, by whistling into a microphone, can make trees grow and evolve in real time based on the sound produced.

‘Hyperplanes of Simultaneity’, by Italian artists Fabio Giampietro and Alessio de Vecchi, was the 2016 Lumen Prize Gold winner. The work combines the tradition of painting with innovative Virtual Reality (VR) technologies. The viewer is presented at first with a large-scale urban canvas, but has their experience of it transformed by seeing the work through a VR headset.

The exhibitions runs until 12 August and is open 11-4, Wednesdays to Sundays.

RSPB SAY ‘GIVE GULLS LOVE, NOT CHIPS’

News release issued by the RSPB

Gulls consistently get a bad press, but the RSPB is calling on people this summer to take a more understanding view of this most misunderstood of creatures. The RSPB and the RSPCA is offering practical advice to address the problems that sometimes occur between urban gulls and people.

Morwenna Alldis, spokesperson for the RSPB South West, said: “Personally I love gulls – I like a bird with a bit of personality and gulls have that in spades. They’re bombastic, cheeky, incredibly adaptable, opportunistic, intelligent, and if there was a prize for ‘bird parent of the year’, protective urban gull parents would win. However, our urban gull is often misunderstood. We need to change the way we behave around gulls and try to live harmoniously alongside them.”

The RSPB and RSPCA both cite examples of where relations have broken down. Last summer the RSPCA appealed for information after a gull was discovered on an industrial estate in St Austell with a crossbow bolt through its body. The injuries were too severe for the gull to make a recovery and it was put to sleep to prevent further suffering. This sort of attack is not an isolated incident.

Llewelyn Lowen, RSPCA Scientific Officer, explains: “Every year we receive calls about gulls which have been persecuted and the victims of abusive attacks. Many have stones thrown at them, others are left homeless after their nests are illegally destroyed and they may become the target of people taking pot shots at them with airguns.

“Gulls and their nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is illegal to intentionally kill, take or injure wild birds and action can only be taken against them under licence.”

The RSPB says one of the main issues people have with gulls is linked to the birds’ nesting behaviour. Morwenna continues: “May to July is prime gull-nesting season and during this period they can be quite noisy, which is an understandable annoyance if they’ve chosen a roof near you. But keep in mind that this period is short-lived.

“Gulls are also incredibly protective and proactive parents; they have to be as their chicks are quite worrisome. Before they fledge, gull chicks start to explore their rooftop homes, which can lead to them falling from the roof and sometimes even injuring themselves. When a chick is away from the nest, gull mum and dad will swing into action, protecting their vulnerable offspring from all possible harm – and that includes us.

“If a gull feels that you’re too close to its youngster, and so a potential threat, it will fly over you at great speed and alarmingly close – rarely making contact the first time. This is a warning – it’s meant to frighten you into backing off. If you encounter an anxious gull parent protecting their young, perhaps in your garden or place of work, the best advice is to walk carrying an unfurled umbrella. Again, this is just a temporary measure until the chick has fledged.”

The RSPB say that second main area of concern for people is the way some of the birds feed, but warn much of the problem is of human origin. Morwenna continues: “For years many people have openly fed gulls from their own hands – fish and chips on the beach were often shared with the gull eagerly pacing at people’s feet. Many people still leave bin bags of ripe-smelling food waste on the pavement (not in a bin or gull proof sack), again an easy snack for a gull. And, with the discarded curry containers, soggy burger buns and half eaten kebabs scattering the street outside many local takeaways – it’s little wonder that gulls see us as their free meal ticket. A gull can’t discern between a sausage roll dropped on the floor (free-pickings) and the one you’re unwrapping for lunch in the local park, humans have inadvertently taught gulls that our food is their food. We must all stop feeding gulls both in inland and seaside towns and in our gardens if we want to recondition their current behaviour.”

RSPCA’s Llewelyn Lowen said: “Unfortunately many see these birds as pests, but all it takes is a little care and understanding to minimise any inconvenience caused by gulls. The RSPCA believes that deterrents and non-lethal methods of control are the best way to reduce gull-related problems. Not feeding the gulls, disposing of rubbish properly, and limiting gulls’ nesting opportunities in urban environments will help to reduce any problems.”

PHOTO: Editor’s own.

CAMPAIGN FOR NATIONAL PARKS PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION

Campaign for National Parks invites applications to its summer of beauty photography competition, which has kindly been sponsored by HF Holidays.

The winner of the photography competition will receive a £250 voucher towards an incredible holiday with HF Holidays and a feature spread in Campaign for National Parks’ Viewpoint magazine.

Hannah Garcia, head of partnerships at HF Holidays, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the mind blowing beauty of National Parks. Young or old this competition is open to anyone. We are having an incredible summer and want you to join in!”

To be eligible photos should capture a moment of beauty in one of England and Wales’ National Parks. And should be submitted on twitter, facebook or instagram using #summerofbeauty by 10 August.

Fiona Howie, Campaign for National Parks’ chief executive, explains, “The National Parks are inspiring and breath-taking and we hope the entries to this competition will help celebrate and illustrate the stunning and diverse beauty found within them, whether that’s flowering meadows, lazy rivers or soaring bird life.

“As well as the scenery and wildlife, our cultural heritage, rural communities and the built environment are all part of what makes National Parks beautiful. We are so pleased to be able to celebrate this with HF Holidays and I really look forward to seeing the how people interpret our summer of beauty theme.”

Applicants should go to www.cnp.org.uk/photography-competition for full terms and conditions and further details.

EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK LAUNCHES NEW RANGER EXPERIENCE DAYS

A day out with a ranger will be on offer to those visiting Exmoor National Park this summer as part of a new scheme launching this week throughout English National Parks. The new ‘Ranger Experience’ day aims to give people a deeper understanding of the National Park and the role of the iconic Ranger team.

Working closely with local communities, farmers and landowners, the Ranger Team plays a vital role in protecting, conserving and enhancing the landscape, including over 1000 kilometres of footpaths and bridleways on Exmoor. Their intimate knowledge of the National Park will be shared with visitors as they explore some of Exmoor’s hidden gems and discover local wildlife, history and folklore from the back of the Ranger’s Land Rover.

They will also be taken behind the scenes of the National Park, including the chance to explore a working hill farm, learn about woodland conservation, see how the timber is used to create signposts, bridges and gates, and hear extraordinary stories of life as a National Park Ranger.

Exmoor National Park Ranger, Tim Parish, said: “National Parks in our country are unique – it’s a story of humans and nature that takes place over thousands of years. Working as a Ranger is a real privilege and it’s exciting to show people a different side of Exmoor through these unique experiences.”

The Ranger Experience costs £125 per person, including farmhouse lunch, refreshments, guide and travel. Taking place on selected Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August and September, the tour will depart from Dunster National Park Centre at 10am, returning at 4pm.

It is being trialled as part of a wider scheme aimed at attracting more international visitors to English National Parks. Exmoor National Park is working with local tourism providers to develop a raft of new experiences on Exmoor as part of the English National Park Experience Collection, due to be marketed to the international travel trade next year.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager for Exmoor National Park, said: “When we created our Ranger Experiences we wanted to give people a special insight into Exmoor’s landscapes, history and culture that will appeal to those from around the globe, as well as closer to home.

“Our Rangers will not only share their vast knowledge of the area, but also signpost visitors to all the other exciting opportunities there are to explore Exmoor, giving a boost to local businesses and communities too.”

To celebrate National Parks Week next week (22-29 July), Exmoor National Park will be offering a special discount on Ranger Experience Days. To take advantage of this exclusive offer, follow them on Twitter twitter.com/ExmoorNP  and Facebook www.facebook.com/ExmoorNP/.

For more information and to book visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/ranger-experience or drop into one of the National Park Centres at Dunster, Dulverton or Lynmouth.

BROMPTON REGIS CHURCH SECURES HLF FUNDING

Brompton Regis church has secured £162,000 Heritage Lottery funding to tackle its tower problems.

The medieval tower of St Mary’s Church at Brompton Regis will be 800 years old in 2020, and has been absorbing water through the centuries. The effects inside the church have become acute in recent years, with green mould and peeling plaster on the walls, and puddles on the floor in very wet periods. The damp atmosphere has become a threat to the church’s historically important Thomas Lewis organ, and the building has been placed on the At Risk register by Historic England.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has now come into partnership with the Parochial Church Council to address the problem decisively. Having committed some legacy money to the project, the PCC has been raising further funds and is approaching the final target, but the major part of the cost is being borne by the HLF. Preliminary drilling and other investigative works have been completed, and the full repair and conservation project will get underway on 6 August. It will last nearly a year and will involve complete re-grouting and repointing, stonework repairs, a new tower roof and improved ground drainage. It will be guided by Alan Smith of Smith Gamblin, a Bridgwater-based architectural company, and carried out by Carrek Ltd, a Bristol-based company specialising in historic buildings.

Churchwarden Malcolm Miller said: “The parish is hugely appreciative of the HLF’s commitment to conserving this important part of its heritage for present and future generations.”

The church has also received £10,000 from the National Churches Trust, together with £3,000 each from the Somerset Churches Trust and Allchurches Trust, plus several smaller but much-appreciated grants from other charities, and this support will enable the complete realisation of the project.

REMINDER TO DISPOSE OF YOUR BARBECUE SAFELY THIS SUMMER

Press release issued by North Devon Council

With the summer in full swing, many of us are enjoying eating ‘al fresco’ in the garden or at the beach.

North Devon Council is reminding residents to dispose of their barbecues safely. If you are planning a barbecue, consider how you will cool and dispose of it to ensure everyone is kept safe:

  • Do not empty ashes into dustbins or wheelie bins; if they are hot they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.
  • Do not put your disposable barbecue in a bin until it has cooled down completely; allow several hours.
  • Consider using a charcoal barbecue rather than a disposable one.
  • If you are at the beach, use sand or water to extinguish and cool your disposable barbecue. Some beaches have barbecue bins.
  • If you are using a barbecue in a remote location, take plenty of water with you to extinguish it.
  • Never bury your barbecue in the sand or leave it on the beach.
  • If you are planning on having a fire on the beach, check that fires are permitted, cool and clean up any charcoal.
  • Take your litter home with you.

Executive Member for Waste and Recycling, Councillor Rodney Cann, says: “We would like to stress how important it is to ensure your disposable barbecue is completely cool before putting it in the bin. Likewise, if you have a charcoal barbecue, never put hot ashes in your bin. We all want to make the most of these sunny days, but please remember to take litter home with you and if you are planning a barbecue, consider the safety of yourself and others and dispose of it carefully.”

More information about barbecue safety is available on the Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service website.

NORTH DEVON GYMNAST TO REPRESENT GREAT BRITAIN

North Devon’s Adam Tobin has qualified to represent Great Britain at the European Championships in Glasgow next month.

The event is an exciting new multi-sport competition bringing together some of Europe’s leading athletes in gymnastics, rowing, triathlon, golf, cycling, aquatics and athletics. Adam is the only gymnast from the South West in the junior team of five.

Seventeen-year-old Adam is also waiting to hear if he has been selected to represent Great Britain at the Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires this autumn. If successful, he will be the only male gymnast to represent Great Britain at the event, which will be a massive springboard for his gymnastics career.

Falcons Gymnastics Academy was founded in 2004 and has firmly established itself as the leading gymnastics facility in the South West, with members travelling from as far away as Bristol to take advantage of the world-class coaching and equipment on offer.

In 2012, North Devon Council made land available next to the Tarka Tennis Centre in Barnstaple and agreed a low-interest loan of £200,000 to enable Falcons to build a brand new state-of-the-art facility. The club was also lucky enough to receive the gymnastic equipment used at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Falcons now has 26 coaches teaching 1,000 children each week, which is the largest number of participating members of any sports club in North Devon.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “Adam can be rightly proud of this achievement and I’m looking forward to hearing if he has been selected for the Junior Olympics. Falcons has gone from strength to strength, which is credit to the commitment and vision of the coaching team and the hard work and determination of the club’s members. This puts North Devon firmly on the sporting map!”

Mike Beagley, Head Coach at Falcons, says: “We’re all so proud of Adam, he’s worked very hard to get to the European Championships and everyone at the club is really excited for him. Adam is one of the sport’s rising stars and the Europeans will be a great experience for him. He would never have got this far without this facility on his doorstep, so I’d like to thank the council for believing in our vision and supporting the development of gymnastics in North Devon.”

Having completed his studies at PETROC, gymnastics is now Adam’s full-time career, with funding from British Gymnastics allowing him to travel all around the world to compete. This year he’s already visited Texas, Germany, Portugal and Azerbaijan. If he makes it to the Youth Olympics he will be jetting off to Argentina in October.

Adam Tobin says: “I’m really proud to be part of the British Gymnastics team. I have to work hard, training 29 hours a week at Falcons and once a month I travel up to the National sports centre in Lilleshall with Mike. It’s really inspiring to train alongside Olympic athletes. Now I’ve finished studying, life is a bit easier as I can now dedicate all my time to training and nutrition. I’ve had an awesome start to 2018 and I hope to do myself, Falcons and Great Britain proud at the Europeans next month.”

Adam isn’t the only Falcons gymnast to make it to National Squad. Nineteen-year-old Joe Cemlyn-Jones is part of the GB senior squad, training and competing alongside double Olympic champion Max Whitlock MBE.

You can follow Adam’s progress at the European Championships at www.glasgow2018.com, tickets are available online and the event will be televised. Also, regular updates will be posted on the Falcons Gymnastics Academy Instagram page.

Falcons Gymnastics Academy offers a range of classes suitable for all ages and abilities. For more information follow Falcons on Facebook, Instagram or go to www.falconsgymnastics.co.uk.

PHOTO: Coach Mike Beagley with Adam Tobin at Falcons Gymnastics Academy, Barnstaple.

CALVERT TRUST EXMOOR DELIGHTED TO BE AWARDED GOLD

Calvert Trust Exmoor has achieved the AHOEC Gold Standard for the quality of its outdoor education, and continues to be the only centre in the South West to carry this endorsement.

The AHOEC (Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres) exists to champion high safety and quality standards in the provision of outdoor learning, and does not award its Gold Standard assurance lightly, with just 49 centres across the UK currently brandishing the accolade.

The Gold Standard is the AHOEC’s quality scheme, which recognises exceptional performance in the provision of outdoor education delivery and learning outcomes whilst also taking in to account other operational aspects, including the quality and safety of facilities, staff and customer care. Focusing on nine areas altogether, the standard provides a framework against which the top activity providers are thoroughly assessed.

On receiving the news, Sophie, Activities Manager at Calvert Trust Exmoor, said: “I am delighted to have retained the Gold Standard award, as we continue to strive to provide the best experience possible for our guests.”

Calvert Trust Exmoor strives for excellence in everything it does, and is proud to hold a growing number of awards and accreditations for the services it provides. The centre offers the only 5-star rated activity accommodation in England, and is also accredited to the AALA and CLOtC.

Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the edge of Exmoor National Park, a short distance from the North Devon coast, and with everything together on one fully accessible site, the Trust welcomes guests of all ages and levels of ability, enabling people with physical, learning, behavioural and sensory disabilities to experience exciting, challenging and enjoyable outdoor activities, together with their families & friends. Highly experienced instructors are qualified by national governing bodies such as  British Canoeing, the RYA and the BHS and are specially trained to work with disabled individuals.

Residential breaks are built around a structured programme of activities led by qualified instructors, all tailored to the specific needs of visitors. Activities include cycling, climbing, abseiling, horse riding, archery, low ropes, and crate stacking. Calvert Trust Exmoor also has exclusive access to Wistlandpound Reservoir for sailing, kayaking and canoeing. With a range of indoor and outdoor activities on offer, and standard and adaptive equipment provided to suit individual needs, the Trust’s aim is to provide each and every guest with the best possible experience so that they leave keen to return and eager to recommend it to others.

To ensure Calvert Trust Exmoor continues to meet the demands of its Gold Standard, the AHOEC carries out inspections every two years.