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Free family fun with Santa in Newton Abbot this Christmas

Free family fun with Santa in Newton Abbot this Christmas – and a seasonal visit from the wondrous Ipplepen Carnival Float.

MARK the date on your calendar – Saturday November 25 is Christmas lights switch-on in Newton Abbot!

FREE children’s entertainment, a parade of more than 250 lanterns, a visit by the spectacular Ipplepen Carnival float, character walkabouts and chances to meet Santa are all part of this year’s month-long Christmas celebrations being organised by Newton Abbot Town Council.

Also being promised are a dog-friendly carol service, free craft events and balloons, stilt walkers, live music, fireside selfies in the Clock Tower and more besides.

Events get under way on Saturday November 25 with free face painting between 12 noon – 4pm and selfies in the Clock Tower 11am – 1pm.

The town centre will also host walkabout appearances from larger than life town mascot Newton, performances from the Taiko Drummers, stilt walkers and presenters from Torbay Hospital Radio.

The day’s events will climax in the fun-filled festive parade, starting in Queen Street at 5pm and leading on to the 5.30pm Christmas lights switch-on at the Clock Tower.

Accompanying Santa and his sleigh will be the amazing frost-fair themed Ipplepen Carnival Float, ‘Jack’s Back!’, and the specially-illuminated Stagecoach bus together with mascot Gary the Rabbit.

The Mayor and Consort will be riding in an open-topped car and for the first time Newton will be having his own float.

Operations permitting, a crew from Newton Abbot Fire Station will be rolling out one of their gleaming red fire engines for fans to admire.

Every following Saturday up to and including December 23 there will be plenty of entertainment and activities.

The ever-popular Victorian Evening will take place on Wednesday December 6 with street food, charity stalls in Market Square, another appearance from Santa, walkabout acts, shows by children’s entertainer Elfic and carol singing with pupils from Bradley Barton Primary School.

On Saturday December 9, pet lovers are encouraged to come into town for the doggy carol service in partnership with the Animals in Distress charity.

There will also be live music from the Forte singing group and free craft activities with Creative Newton Abbot.

Drawing in the crowds on Wednesday December 13 will be the parade of more than 250 lanterns created by children across town, starting at Bearnes Primary School and gathering at the Clock Tower at 6.30pm.

A storyteller will offer festive tales at 7pm with Santa happy to meet and greet 6pm – 8pm.

Late night shopping will be complemented with live music, street food, stilt walkers and fireside selfies in the Clock Tower.

On Wednesday December 20 a 6pm performance by the Rock Choir will precede the Mayor’s Christmas Carols at 6.30pm, all taking place by the Clock Tower.

Santa will again be in town 6pm – 8pm with more walkabout entertainment including giant illuminated roller-skating Christmas presents.

‘We’re really looking forward to this year’s fantastic programme of free festive events,’ said Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker.

‘It won’t cost families a penny to enjoy the celebrations so relax and enjoy everything on offer and support our traders if you can.

‘It will be a real treat for us to see faces new and old filling the streets of Newton Abbot this Christmas.’

The full events listing can be viewed at

Newton Abbot War Memorial decorated with 800 hand-knitted poppies

THE Newton Abbot War Memorial has been decorated with 800 hand-knitted poppies in advance of this year’s Remembrance Sunday service on November 12.

The task was carried out on Friday October 27 by volunteers from the Town Council, Museum and local Royal British Legion.

Newton Abbot Town Council Events Co-ordinator Natalie Hicks is delighted with the results and said: ‘A big thank-you to my team of volunteers who helped me attach all 800 knitted poppies to the railings around the War Memorial this morning. 

‘Also of course to all those who created these stunning poppies.

‘As always this creates a big impact and visually looks remarkable.’ 

The parade through town and service are due to take place 10am – 11.30am and will be streamed live via the Town Council’s Facebook page.

Details can be found on the Newton Abbot Town Council website,

‘We would be honoured should anyone choose to join us on Sunday November 12 to remember the fallen, either in person or via our Facebook page,’ said Natalie.

Vision Zero South West

Motorcycle legend and TV presenter Henry Cole is the face of a new publicity campaign aimed at motorcyclists in Devon and Cornwall.

Henry, who is best known for his eccentric antics on ITV’s ‘The Motorbike Show’ and ‘Find It, Fix It, Flog It’ on Channel 4, fronts the powerful new campaign from the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership.

Tunnels of love: art by the community for the community

RESIDENTS and schoolchildren in Newton Abbot have been praised for the key role they played in transforming the town’s unwelcoming subways.

Four vandalised underpasses at Penn Inn have been given an artistic makeover with much of the creativity coming from those who use the site every day, an important pedestrian and cycle link which avoids the busy A380 road above.

Colourful ceramics, professional graffiti, fairground mirrors and photos are complemented by uplifting poems and prose, centred on the themes of air, water, fire and earth.

The Tunnels of Love project has been more than three years in the making, led by Newton Abbot Community Interest Company (CIC) and supported by The Arts Council England, Teignbridge District Council and Newton Abbot Town Council.

Project artist Kate Green told a gathering of invited guests at the unveiling on July 25 that the impressive results, already winning huge support on social media, had come about because of the community’s involvement. ‘It was more than three years ago, before Covid, that I was asked by the CIC and Cllr Jackie Hook if I could do something to brighten up the subways and I said, yes I will, but on one condition, it needs to be artwork made by local people and which is uplifting and means something. Everything here has been made by children from local schools and people from local groups. The subways also feature photographs of pedestrians, dog walkers and cyclists passing through Penn Inn’.

Two other locations in the town are set to benefit from similar makeovers later this year.

For more information or additional comment from key stakeholders please email Emily Farrell via [email protected] or call 07501889100

Below is a selection of images from the tunnels.

Oyez oyez oyez, town criers set to descend on Newton Abbot

A PARADE of richly-clad participants and civic dignitaries will launch the Newton Abbot Town Criers’ Competition on the morning of Saturday September 9.

Events are due to get under way at 10.15am when the representatives of 15 towns from four westcountry counties will make their way from the Royal British Legion to Courtenay Street.

The first ‘home town’ cry is to be heard at 10.45am, with more following until a break at 11.45am.

The second ‘sweets’ cry will begin at 12.45pm and last for an hour, after which the judges will announce the winners and present trophies and prizes.

Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker and his escort, Cllr Tom Corney-Walker, will make special presentations for the best dressed crier, best dressed escort and best dressed couple.

The host will be Newton Abbot’s own town crier, Nigel Kenneison, who is prevented from taking part in the competition by Guild rules.

Flying the flag for the Manorial Borough of Newton Abbot however will be Eveline Davies.

Also featuring on the day will be free family craft activities in Courtenay Street, courtesy of Creative Newton Abbot, plus the ancient St Leonard’s Tower will be open to visitors.

Another draw will be the offer of free face painting and balloons between 10am – 2pm.

‘This is a real taste of tradition in Newton Abbot and we’re looking forward to welcoming the criers from as far afield as Penzance in West Cornwall and Calne in Wiltshire,’ said Natalie Hicks, Events Co-ordinator for Newton Abbot Town Council.

‘We’re also opening up the clocktower as it’s a popular destination with locals and visitors alike, and in addition our Outreach Worker Kate Green will be providing a great free crafting event close by.

‘And we certainly know from previous events that the free balloons and face painting will go down a storm.

‘The actual cries will be taking place outside Austins but I’m sure no one will need directions, just follow the very loud voices coming from the town centre!

‘As a matter of interest, the traditional ‘oyez oyez oyez’ used by town criers to introduce themselves comes from old French and means ‘hear ye, hear ye, hear ye.

‘Believe it or not, it’s still used in American courts but thankfully you’ll not need to travel any further than Newton Abbot to hear it said on September 9.’

Newton Abbot Town Crier, Nigel Kenneison

For more information please email [email protected] or call 01626 201120.

Understanding the past to preserve stories for the future

Science of Collections Exhibition

A CANADIAN lynx that went on a killing spree in Newton Abbot and whose stuffed remains lain forgotten in a Bristol store for more than a century is among the artefacts set to star in a new exhibition at Newton Abbot Museum.

Also going on show as part of the Science of Collections event are fossils dating from 96 million years ago when Newton Abbot would have been lying under the warm waters of a shallow tropical ocean.

Curator India Jolly is hoping the month-long expo will help people understand the scientific processes that uncover the hidden natural history stories which lie beyond the exhibits.

‘From determining the lifestyle of a lynx raised in Newton Abbot, to supporting climate change data with 17th century butterflies, scientific processes can help uncover secrets of the past beyond the stories associated with the object,’ she said.

‘Science is used to conserve the items we look after. From fighting bug infestations to analysing the chemical make-up of materials, science helps us ensure that our museum collections are still here for future generations to discover.’

Complementing the exhibition are events throughout August, including family craft activities and evening talks. All explore history’s connection to the natural world,

The Lynx shot in 1903 had reportedly killed two farm dogs and ended up forgotten in the stores at Bristol Museum.

Scientific analysis of its DNA and bones confirmed it had lived at least part of its life in Newton Abbot, was raised in captivity and was between 11-17 years old at the time of its demise.

The 96 million-year-old fossil brittle stars were buried alive under the sea floor and have been preserved in spectacular detail.

‘The collection contains new species and provides information about their evolution and the ancient environment they lived in.

‘The exhibits are fascinating in their own right but the science which helps us understand them even more so,’ said India. 

The exhibition runs from August 1 – September 1, admission is free.  Visit for more information about summer events.

The below image shows the unfortunate lynx and other items from the exhibition


For more information email [email protected] or call 01626 201121.

Fired for Royalty Exhibition – Right royal celebration of potter at Newton Abbot Museum

NEWTON Abbot Museum is set to host a collection of historic pottery souvenirs created locally for key royal events of the past.

The Fired for Royalty exhibition is being staged by the Torquay Pottery Collectors Society with doors due to open on Saturday June 10 and the items on display until July 6 as a celebration of the recent coronation of King Charles III.

The Exhibition showcases more than 100 commemorative pieces produced for events including Queen Victoria’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees, the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, the Coronation and Silver Jubilee of King George V, the Coronation of King George VI and the Coronation and Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Also commemorated in pottery is the abdication of King Edward VIII who gave up the throne in 1936 so he could marry divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Project Curator Andy Violet said: ‘The establishment of the first pottery, the Watcombe Terracotta Company in 1869, in the Torquay area, spawned a number of potteries in the immediate locality and the south Devon area. ‘These potteries, using clay that equalled and even surpassed the Italian clays, produced a number of royal commemoratives for the prominent royal events of the late nineteenth century.

‘The royal commemorative souvenirs produced in south Devon differ from those produced by the Staffordshire potteries in that they were not factory produced with transfer decoration, but were hand thrown on a potter’s wheel and hand decorated in earthy coloured slips with roses, thistles and shamrocks with sgraffitoed inscriptions, and incorporated a crown and the heads of the monarchs.

‘They have more artistic merit than those decorated with simple transfer designs produced by the Staffordshire potteries.’

Museum Curator India Jolly said: ‘It’s wonderful to have this collection of Devon commemoratives on display so close to where they were produced.

‘We’re very grateful to the Torquay Pottery Collectors Society for arranging the exhibition which I’m sure will prove to be very popular given the interest in the recent coronation.’

Entry to the museum is free, visit for details.

The above image shows Andy Violet with a piece of the commemorative pottery.

For more information email [email protected] or call 01626 201121.

Annual Town Meeting

Free ice cream among laws suggested at annual town meeting

TONGUE-IN-CHEEK laws suggested by youngsters at the Newton Abbot Annual Town Meeting on Saturday [May 19] included free ice cream, daughter and mother days every day, and for strawberries to rain from the sky on Fridays.

A more reflective idea was to plant three trees for every one felled while one dad, Sean Kirby, called for the legalisation of pot… hole filling.

The proposals were captured on rosettes created by the children who wore them with pride to spread the ‘vote me’ message.

The free fun activity reflected the more serious aim of the day which was to gather public opinion about services and facilities in the town.

Each community is legally bound to hold an annual meeting but most take place in halls or council chambers, often during the evening, meaning very few residents attend.

For several years Newton Abbot Town Council has instead erected a gazebo in the main shopping centre during the busiest part of the day, resulting in thousands of people having their say on countless topics.

Saturday’s event was another success with hundreds of conversations taking place between elected members, council staff and passers by.

‘I’m thrilled with the number of people we’ve engaged with, yet another very worthwhile exercise with the town council reaching out to the public,’ said Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker.

‘Most comments I heard were about our changing high streets, something being seen across the country of course, as more businesses go online.

‘But the good news in Newton Abbot is that our shop vacancy rate is well below the national average and the Town Council is constantly adding to the events programme so people still have plenty of reasons to visit.

‘We’re listening to the public and will do everything we can to keep Newton Abbot streets ahead of the web.’

Town Clerk Phil Rowe said more than 150 engagement forms had been handed out, in addition to the face-to-face conversations.

‘There’s not a council chamber in the country that would attract an audience that size,’ he said. ‘Staging the Newton Abbot Annual Meeting in the street is here to stay.’

The Annual Town Meeting is not a council meeting, but one hosted by the authority to enable residents to quiz members and officers on their past year’s work or raise matters of interest to electors.

It is a requirement of Local Government Act 1972 for town and parish councils to stage such events between March 1 – June 1 inclusive.

Below: Facilities Maintenance Officers Tony Little (L) and Steve Ryan show off some of the low and high tech cleaning kit

Below: Families enjoy the rosette and law-proposing activity with Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker in attendance

Below: Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker prepares to meet with the public

Below: Sean Kirby and three-year-old son Ellis wearing their rosettes. Sean wanted to legalise pot… hole repairs while Ellis asked for free ice cream.