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Call to campaign for help from three far-flung corners of Devon

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 24, 2012

Children admiring the display of bicycles – including a Victorian penny farthing – in the transport gallery at Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life, which is calling on £££s for People to help subsidise transport costs of school visits

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A penny farthing bicycle is among the two-wheeled exhibits hanging on the walls of the Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life.

The museum, which gives an insight into the past lives of people in this rural area, is particularly popular with local schools who come for a day out.

Comments from visitors include "a true gem for the town", "one of the best museums I have visited" and "fantastic and child- friendly".

Staffed by volunteers, it is also used by historians for research, and is a venue for talks on local history. And the museum has recently started taking its work out to care homes, working with older people on reminiscence projects.

It has been nominated to receive a donation from our £££s for People campaign, which has £20,000 to distribute to good causes in Devon and Cornwall, by its curator Pippa Griffith.

She says that any grant from the campaign would be used to subsidise transport for schools to visit the museum, from the many small isolated villages in the district.

The museum would also like to subsidise their reminiscence service to care homes, and, adding to the museum itself would like to recreate a classroom as it would have been 150 years ago. A donation could also be put towards running costs, so the museum can continue to grant free entry to children.

Also appealing for help from the campaign are the people of the village of Bradworthy, in a remote corner of north west Devon.

They are currently fundraising to give the play area in the village an overhaul, so that the many children living here can have somewhere safe and fun to play.

"Over the last two years several pieces of equipment – the climbing frame, slide and roundabout – have actually been condemned as unsafe and removed," says villager Mary Weblin.

"There is an active committee trying very hard to raise enough money to give the children of Bradworthy the safe, fun, play space they deserve, but we need all the help we can get!"

The play area has also been nominated by resident Lynsey Wade, who says "Bradworthy has a brilliant area with great potential which is at present a sad and sorrowful sight. Fundraising is very slow, but everyone is trying and every penny helps."

At the other end of Devon, meanwhile, the Blackdown Support Group helps elderly people, and others without transport, living in the Blackdown Hills. Operating out of the Blackdown Surgery in Hemyock, the group draws on the services of volunteers who offer lifts to and from the surgery or hospital, but also can simply drop in on someone for a chat or for nail-clipping. "In a rural area like ours, it is an essential part of keeping the community healthy," says Julie Steed, who has nominated the project.

The Western Morning News has joined forces with the Devon and Cornwall Community Foundations for the £££s for People campaign. Readers are invited to vote for their favourite from a shortlist of 60 community groups – 30 in Devon and 30 in Cornwall – by the closing date of December 7. The prize pot of £20,000 will be divided according to the votes, with each group guaranteed a minimum of £100.

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