Dad’s Army star opens new centre

The star of a classic BBC sitcom has opened the new resource centre of a Topsham charity.

Devon In Sight, formerly known as the Devon County Association for the Blind, has expanded its headquarters at Station House in Holman Way to create the new centre in the former railway station ticket office.

The new resource centre will allow the charity to extend its opening hours to five days a week, and improve the services it can offer to those with impaired vision.

It has been built with help from the community, including Topsham School, whose children created a sensory garden, and Exeter CVS, who gave the building a lick of paint.

The new centre was officially opened by Bill Pertwee, Topsham resident and star of Dad’s Army, who was joined by Lady Devon and the charity’s staff and members.

A celebration was held featuring live music and food, and giving residents the chance to see the new centre for themselves.

Mr Pertwee, who played ARP Warden Hodges in the popular sitcom, said: “I’m thrilled to be here, and I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen.

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“I live very close to this building, so I couldn’t miss the work going on when I came to the station, and to make this facility part of the station is a wonderful thing.”

Lady Devon said: “My connection to this charity is through my mother-in-law, the former Lady Devon, as they helped her a lot when she lost her sight.

“It’s lovely to have this historic old building taking on a new lease of life, and it’s been beautifully done.”

The charity’s director of services Martin Pallett said: “Today is the start of something new and very exciting for the charity - a celebration of our new centre but also much more than that.

“We have a new name and look, and we’re going to develop the support that we can give to visually impaired people across Devon.”

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