North Devon Maritime Museum Appledore
Odun Road, Appledore, Devon, EX39 1PT
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The North Devon Maritime Trust is celebrating 40 years of the North Devon Maritime Museum.
The trust recently purchased Odun House from Torridge District Council ensuring a permanant home for The North Devon Maritime Museum.
Nearly 200 people took advantage of a beautiful North Devon sunny day last Tuesday to witness Admiral Sir Jonathon Band cut the tape to reopen the North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore, and celebrate the museum’s 40th Birthday and the success in purchasing the museum from Torridge District Council.
He arrived at 1100 to be welcomed by Bideford & District Sea Cadets who had mounted an honour guard for him. As he stepped from the car a cadet piped the still to bring the guard to attention and another broke the Admiral’s flag from the newly installed flagpole in front of the museum. After being welcomed by Mr Adrian Wills, representing the Museum Trust’s Trustees and Mr Michael Guegan, Chairman of the Museum’s Management Committee he went on to talk to the guard he was introduced the Mayor or Northam, the Lady Mayoress and the lead of Torridge District Council.
After a short speech (text below) he cut he tape to declare the museum open.
The final part of the first phase of our medium term improvement project was completed on Saturday 8th April.
This included the relaying of new paving in the forecourt entrance area and the installation of an 8 metre mast.
So why me doing the “Honours” today? Well, to put it bluntly I was grabbed by Tom Downie. He and I served together on HMS Norfolk, the first Type 23 Frigate. I did the easy bit, command her. He did the difficult bit, keep the electronics going. Anyway he probably thought I owed him one. He was right son here I am.
As some of you may know I am Chairman of Trustees of the National Museum of the Royal Navy. We are a relative youngster to you here as we have been in existence only 7 years. In that time we have come a long way. We have integrated Fleet Air Arm. Submarine Service the Royal Marines and old Naval Museums and brought into the family: HMS Victory, HMS Trincomalee, HMS Caroline and just two weeks ago HMS Warrior. But let’s turn to what you have achieved here in Appledore over 40 years of hard graft, initiatives, generosity at key moments and probably a bit of luck here and there. From a modest start you have expanded with this building and over the road. But you haven’t just created displays, you have reached out into the community, organized events, sponsored a fleet of publications , have your own annual journal and developed an impressive archive. And over the years you have received both national and international recognition! So how fitting that you should now own your own home – Odun House, a fact we are celebrating today. That is an impressive set of achievements only possible because of the efforts of vounteers. Without the willing handsand willing minds none of what you have achieved would have been possible. So may I put on record the Trustees and Committee’s appreciation of everyone’s efforts. They are of course all volunteers and should take their share of the credit. As I know only too well – without leadership there is no outcome of success.
It evident that here there is both.
So without further ado may I declare the North Devon Maritime Museum re-opened.
After the tape was cut the Rector of Appledore gave a short blessing on the Museum before Adrian Wills thanked the Admiral and presented him with a celebratory handmade jug made by the renown local potter Harry Juniper and a commemorative pack of Dartmoor Ale and an engraved tankard as commissioned by the South Atlantic Medal Association to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Falklands conflict this year.
The Admiral then moved into the museum to be shown around by Michael Guegan, during which he met as many of the volunteers as he could including having a ‘selfie’ taken with Henry Cousins son of the Museum administrator Fiona Cousins.
The rector of Apledore cut a commemorative cake with the youngest Sea Cadet in attendance.
“What a great pleasure it is to be with you for the re-opening of the museum
May I say how nice it is to be back in North Devon. My father was brought up in the area and I used to visit the Royal Marines here at Chivinor and Instow on a regular basis when I was Fleet Commander and 1st Sea Lord. I also came to the Shipyard when they were constructing HMS Queen Elizabeth’s bow section.
“THE MARINERS” B D Hughes 1994
Dedicated to all who have crossed Bideford Bar.
Inspired by the story of St Brannock, a sixth century Celtic monk who was reported to have crossed the Bristol Channel from South Wales in a stone cattle trough. He helped to improve the agriculture of the Braunton area and founded the church at Braunton.
The legend tells of how he first attempted to build the Church on a hill but that it kept falling down, then in a vision he was told to build it where he found a white sow and her piglets. This he did and the present Church stands on the site today.
These legends often contain grains of truth. The stone cattle trough was probably used as part of the ballast in the ship which brought the Saint over from Wales and was left on the shore when the shop sailed away with a full cargo from Braunton Pill. Children were probably told that “the old monk sailed over in that very trough!” Building a Church on a hill top was not a good idea in the days when all manner of raiders attacked our shores from the sea in search of plunder. Far safer to build even a modest Church away in a hollow, invisible from the sea. The stone trough could also have been the same one taken from the shore for use by the pigs in a nice sheltered spot by the stream.