You are here -> Great Torrington - Great Torrington News and Updates


The Mayor of Great Torrington Councillor Sue Mills has nominated the MEMORY CAFÉ as one of her chosen charities for this year.

All the people involved with the MEMORY  CAFÉ would like to thank the Mayor for this generous offer, and also thanks to THE  TOWN  AND  LANDS CHARITY, THE ROTARY CLUB and  DEVON COUNTY  COUNCIL for the donations made earlier this year.

A questionnaire was sent to all of our members in Great Torrington and Holsworthy in October 2013 asking this question.  The results have been recorded and analysed and make interesting reading.  Click here to read the report. 


 What is the purpose of a MEMORY CAFÉ? 

Mainly it is for the SOCIAL aspect that it offers to both the individual that suffers from any level of memory problems, and the carer to whom it gives a break from the everyday routine, with the opportunity to meet other likeminded people. The other advantage is that we have professional staff from the Community Heath Team and Carers Link and TORRAGE who can assist with any personal problems that may be worrying individuals.

We meet every second Thursday from 10.00 am until 12.00 noon at the GREAT  TORRINGTON  METHODIST  CHURCH  MEETING  ROOM

GRAHAM BOWEN  01805 625801 Chairman
BRIAN COLESHILL  01805 625383 Secretary
JOHN PORTMAN  01805 625455 Vice Chairman
TORRAGE  01805 622666

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***


By the time you read this the Memory Café will have held its first session of the year on Thursday 14 January.  Future sessions will take place on the second Thursday of each month (apart from that arranged for Thursday 6 May) also at the Methodist Hall. The Memory Café is one of the most significant elements of the Senior Council’s activities in the area and is keen to attract support from those who would find it both congenial and helpful. One thing it needs is items of memorabilia such as old photographs or, e.g., old newspapers commemorating events from years gone by. It is planned to have a cd player available and music in that format from the 30s, 40s or 50s would also be welcome. The idea is to foster a warm and welcoming atmosphere for those attending.

The Plough held a Youth Workshop on Thursday 8th April.  They invited older people to talk to them and produced a play from the ideas that came out of the conversations.

Great Torrington Memories


The generation gap was very effectively bridged on Thursday 8 April when the Youth Theatre Group at The Plough presented a very affecting performance of one of the most dramatic domestic episodes of the Second World War, the evacuation of many thousands of children from the cities to the countryside, away from the apprehended danger of enemy bombing.

The piece was based on the personal story of local resident, Bill Best, 77, of New Street, Torrington. At the beginning of the war Bill, then a six year old living in south London, was evacuated to the West Country with many thousands of others, each with a suitcase, a cardboard label identifying the wearer and equipped with the ubiquitous gas mask. Bill was teased by those travelling with him because of markings on the back of his label and he became lost on the journey, first fetching up at a waifs and strays rescue centre at St Germans, and eventually at his billet in Callington, Cornwall, where he spent a considerable period. During his stay in Cornwall, Bill by chance met a German refugee who was trying to hide from the authorities but found time to show kindness to Bill.

The young people of the Theatre Group under the able guidance of their organiser, Richard, worked very hard and put together a vivid and entertaining portrayal in a remarkably short time. Though the audience was a little sparse, those present greatly appreciated their work. Bill said afterwards, "I cried all the way through," and it was clear that his tears were those of deep and unalloyed nostalgia for those distant days which formed an unforgettable part of his childhood. He spoke of his memories of the sound of air raid warning sirens and also said of the performance, "The music made it and gave it atmosphere," with familiar numbers such as ‘Run, Rabbit, Run'.

There is no doubt that those years left their mark on Bill, because he chose to move to the West Country when the opportunity arose and has now lived in Torrington for 23 years.

The idea for the show came from Brian Coleshill, Secretary of the Torrington Branch of the Senior Council for Devon as a way of highlighting the relevance and important role of the Memory Café which has now been running in Torrington for nine months and it is hoped that other ways of sharing its experience with the town as a whole will be generated in future.

Roy Catley
Senior Council for Devon
Torrington Branch