Fundraiser fighting for 1st Topsham Sea Scouts

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 January 2016

Father Nick Batchelor with his daughters Rosie (left) and Grace (right)

Father Nick Batchelor with his daughters Rosie (left) and Grace (right)

Archant

A community fundraiser has revealed why he is fighting hard, so that future generations of Topsham sea scouts have a place to hold their activities.

The sea scout hut was damaged around two years ago when the Topsham Recreation Ground flooded.

Nick Batchelor, 42, has spent 18 months leading fundraising efforts to rebuild the 1st Topsham Sea Scouts’ hut.

As a result, he has been nominated for a Halifax Giving Extra Award by his 10-year-old daughter Grace.

The awards recognise and reward people for their community work.

The winners will be announced in February and March.

Nick, of Monmouth Street, said: “As a group, we’ve raised £70,000, but we need to raise in excess of £400,000, so we’ll be going cap in hand to bigger businesses.

“We’re planning to build above the flood plain.

“The project has taken more than 18 months because I wouldn’t want to fritter away the 1st Topsham Sea Scouts’ money.

“We’ve had to negotiate a one-year lease with Exeter City Council and I’ve been told we should be ready to start building six to eight months after we receive planning permission.

“The 1st Topsham Sea Scouts is one of the oldest sea scout groups in the country. It is great for teaching children important skills and aids their development for when they get older.

“Seeing the children open up the hut would be quite an emotional experience, as it would mean our project has come to fruition.”

Nick, a doctor at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, explained what impact the loss of the group’s hut has had on the children.

“We’re currently reliant on the generosity of people who let us use buildings around Topsham,” he said.

“We struggle, as a group, to get out onto the water, as we don’t have a hut we can currently use.

“Highfield Farm takes in the beavers, while the Dorothy Holman Centre offers space to the cubs and the White Ensign also helps us out.”

Nick added his love for Topsham was one reason why he was trying to give something back to the town through this project.

He said: “We moved to Topsham in 2009 from Leeds. We really like the community. It’s a safe environment to bring up children.

“There is no fast flowing traffic, so it gives our children, Grace and Rosie, the chance to be kids. I appreciate the security that the town provides.

“I think sometimes you just have to give something back to your community.”


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