Founder calls for museum support

ONE of the founding members of the Fairlynch Museum has called on Budleigh Salterton residents to do more to back one of the best of its kind in the country.

ONE of the founding members of the Fairlynch Museum has called on Budleigh Salterton residents to do more to back "one of the best" of its kind in the country.

Cambridge scholar Priscilla Hull, 89, the daughter of George Carter, the pioneering archaeologist who studied East Devon's Pebblebeds from the early 1920s into the late 1960s, set up the museum with three sisters in 1967.

Mrs Hull of Fore Street, the former chairman of Budleigh Salterton Urban District Council and the Chamber of Commerce - amongst other things - joined forces with Joy, Aalish and Elizabeth Gawne.

But despite huge support from tourists over the last 42 years, and the high esteem it is held in the world of academia, very few of the town's residents visit it.

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She said: "I think it is one of the best volunteer-run museums of its kind in the country, but it's never been supported as it should be.

"Maybe it's on the wrong side of the road but a number of people I talk too and ask 'have you been there recently?' say no.

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"It's a real asset to the town and very highly regarded."

Mrs Hull said it was set up during a time of real change for the town - new houses were being built along with new police and fire stations.

"But the town needed a soul," she said. "There was something missing, and we saw the house up for sale and thought 'wouldn't that make a great museum?'

"We all felt very strongly we needed it."

The house was up for sale and they committed to buy it for the grand total of �7,000 and started up a fund.

But, within the town, it drew very little support and they were left in the position of committing to buy the property - with the coffers dry.

But Pricilla's husband, Gordon, an uncompromising character who had been part of the shadowy Special Operations Executive who waged a secret war of sabotage against the Nazi state, persuaded them to take an alternative route.

"He just knocked our heads together and said 'don't be so stupid' and that if we got together we could afford it.

"It's a wonderful educational experience, we have things no other museum has and a huge archive.

"When people visit, they are enchanted, it is just shame people in the town don't visit more often.

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