Two and a half centuries of Exmouth 'firsts' chronicled in new book
PUBLISHED: 11:02 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:18 05 August 2019
An author's latest book delves into the lives of 24 Exmouth characters who made historic firsts.
250 Years of Exmouth Firsts, by Daphne Barnes-Phillips, looks at the unique achievements of those who were born, lived, worked, died or were educated in the town.
Some of the achievements will be well-known to Exmouth residents, while others chronicled in the book lived their whole lives without being celebrated.
The book will be officially launched on Saturday, August 10, at Green Hollows, in Portland Avenue, where two of the 24 firsts took place.
One was the first anaesthetist to diagnose pancreatitis preoperatively while the other was the first principal of Seale-Hayne Agricultural College.
Mrs Barnes-Phillips said: "I wasn't going to call it Exmouth firsts, it was just going to be about people who are interesting characters.
"While I was doing that I noticed a few of them had achieved interesting firsts, so I tried to use a completely different angle on them.
"It's astonishing - I wouldn't have thought Exmouth would have so many."
This is the 75-year-old's second book, having returned to Exmouth in 2009.
Her first book, Exmouth Rolle, was released in 2015 and celebrated those involved with the schools, colleges and universities based at the town's Rolle College site.
In 2017, she led a successful campaign to get a blue plaque installed in recognition of Exmouth's first OBE, Edith Pratt, which gave Mrs Barnes-Phillips the idea for her latest book.
It contains stories of Nancy Perriam, Exmouth's first female powder monkey - a role usually reserved for boys employed on a sailing ship to carry powder to the guns - who was born 250 years ago.
The book also tells the tale Nicky Thomas, who became the first woman to command an RAF Tornado bomber.
Three of the characters mentioned in the book are still alive and Mrs Barnes-Phillips hopes two of them will be able to attend the launch.
Spike Seymour, who was Exmouth's first four-year-old to hold his own art exhibition in 2016, will be displaying a selection of his work at the launch event which will take place between 2.30pm and 5pm.