Meet the man who has transformed a Budleigh cemetery into a haven for wildlife

PUBLISHED: 13:51 16 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:45 18 November 2019

Brian shackleton at home in Budleigh. Ref exb 46 19TI 4196. Picture: Terry Ife

Brian shackleton at home in Budleigh. Ref exb 46 19TI 4196. Picture: Terry Ife

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A Budleigh stalwart has created a stunning wildlife sanctuary in a cemetery and said: "I want to leave a legacy behind."

Brian Shackleton, who has lived in the town for 33 years, is manager of St Peter's Church and decided he wanted to enhance the site by transforming it into a haven for wildlife.

The 83-year-old former restaurateur has enlisted the financial firepower of his friends and family - as well as various groups and associations - to pay for the project, which cost more than £2,300. Now that it is complete, the churchyard contains 12 bird boxes, eight squirrel-proof feeders, three bat boxes and four hedgehog houses.

Six-hundred wildflower plugs have been planted too, which next year, when grown, will attract a multitude of beneficial insects.

Mr Shackleton said: "Everyone's concerned about wildlife and the environment.

"I thought that might be an idea for the burial ground - it looks like a military cemetery because it is all squeaky clean.

"I am probably going to stand down as manager early next year and wanted to leave a legacy at the burial ground."

Supporters of the project include Budleigh Salterton Lions Club (donated £250), Budleigh Town Council (donated £250) and Otter Vale Association (donated £100). Parishioners at St Peter's Church also gave money towards the project, helping Mr Shackleton achieve his total.

As well as supplying the burial ground with items to benefit wildlife, Mr Shackleton used the money to buy I Spy books for pupils at St Peter's Primary School and awards for those who complete the books.

He said: "I am totally surprised at how the public and associations have supported the project, to the extent that we can create what we believe is a wonderful wildlife sanctuary.

"This is mainly to help the children have lessons so they can understand the environment for their future."

Mr Shackleton said he still needs donations to help maintain the sanctuary next year.

He added: "The project has been accepted by the Co-op Community Fund - that means we will receive a share of one per cent of purchases made by members of the public with a Co-op membership card."

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