Brixham gears up for bank holiday weekend of King’s coronation celebrations

Brixham gears up for bank holiday weekend of King’s coronation celebrations

King Charles’ coronation will be celebrated with more than 40 free public attractions in Brixham – including musical events across the bank holiday weekend.

“It’s an opportunity for everyone to celebrate the best in our country. The main arena of the five days of celebrations will be Brixham Town Square directly behind the town’s main bus station,” said John Brennan, chair of celebration organisers Brixham Future Community Interest Company (CIC).

“There will be different events, displays and activities including music, concerts, films, dancing, sing-a-longs, parades, a church service, library and museum displays, quizzes and socials.

“What can be a better way to celebrate in Brixham the coronation of King Charles III than a musical extravagance?”

To deliver the celebrations, Brixham Future has teamed up with Brixham Museum, Brixham Library, the Royal British Legion, the Royal Naval Association, South Devon Players, Riviera Singers, Quay Harmony, Brixham Chamber of Commerce, Middle Street Traders, Christians Together in Brixham, Brixham Rotary Club, Brixham Probus Club, Brixham Yacht Club, plus Baptist and Methodist Churches and numerous other groups.

Local businesses will join in with window displays, shops and cafe special offers. It is hoped that individual streets will organise their own local street parties to create ‘a memorable, historic occasion for everyone to enjoy’.

King Charles III’s coronation will be on Saturday, May 6, and will be shown live in the Brixham Theatre cinema between 10.30am and 2pm.

The Brixham Community Parade will take place on bank holiday, Monday, May 8. The parade will be led by a pipe and drums band. In the Town Square at 11am, a short service of thanksgiving will take place with community singing at 11.30am. Numerous local groups will take part.

At 12.30pm, the coronation cake will be cut and distributed in the Methodist Centre, Fore Street. Afterwards in the Town Square at 2pm, there will be a coronation fashion parade to which all are welcome to enter. Prizes will be presented to the winners.

There will be a special coronation thanksgiving service on Sunday, May 7, at All Saints’ Church from 7pm with a cup of tea or coffee afterwards. The King will be represented by the Lord Lieutenant of Devon.

The Riviera Singers will be performing a selection of 1960s music in a tribute concert with two free performances in the Methodist Chapel in Fore Street on Thursday, May 4, and Friday, May 5, between 4pm and 5pm.

Download Guide to What’s On

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Brixham will be going back to the Fifties in style to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June. Organisers working with Brixham Future have revealed their programme for more than 40 free events in the port to celebrate 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II’s reign began.

People joining the five-day party are being invited to don 1950s fashions for the occasions, with “full skirts for the ladies and leather jackets and slicked-back hair for the gents” the order of the day. John Brennan, who chairs the Brixham Future Community Interest Company, said: “It was such a significant historical period, with the highlight of The Queen’s coronation signifying a new age of optimism and post-war reconstruction.

“We will be delivering 40 free public events and activities including parades, exhibitions, displays, concerts, music, dancing and church services to inform and entertain locals and visitors alike. It is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate the best in our country.”

The main arena for the celebrations will be the Brixham Town Square directly behind the town’s main bus station. Mr Brennan added: “It was originally funded as a Town Square by European Regional Funding and is the only site in Brixham with capacity to entertain large crowds in a safe and secure environment.

“We are dependent upon our Brixham Lottery income, sponsorship and public donations, and are grateful to everyone who contributes in any way small or large. We anticipate expenditure of around £10,000, raised from local people and organisations.”

The formal launch event will be on Wednesday, June 1 with a social gathering at Brixham Yacht Club from 5.30pm followed by a quiz on the 1950s. The Brixham Community Parade will take place on Friday, June 3, assembling at 10am at the Man and Boy statue before marching via Fore Street to the Town Square.

The Parade will be led by the Exeter Pipe and Drums Band, and there will be a service of thanksgiving and community singing in the square. Other events include free concerts in the Methodist Chapel in Fore Street on Friday and Saturday at 4pm to 5pm when the Riviera Singers will perform.

Each day will also have different activities in Fore Street, Prince William Square or at the Old Fish Quay, with smaller entertainment or static displays such as 1950s vehicles. The Women’s Institute have committed to providing the 1950s Fashion Parade in the Town Square at 2pm on the Friday.

There will also be a range of activities at the Shoalstone Pool Green on Saturday June 4. Frances Robinson of Brixham Future added: “On June 4 there will be a 1950s Dance in the Scala Hall from 7.30pm.

Original story on DevonLive

Special Brixham memories for 100 year old D-Day Veteran

Special Brixham memories for 100 year old D-Day Veteran

A D-Day veteran from Arizona, Harold Wood, celebrated his 100th birthday with a bumper box of Brixham memorabilia, thanks to his good friend, Rick Emry and Brixham Chamber.

As Harold had served as a radio operator in Brixham during the build up to D-Day, his friend, Rick Emry contacted Brixham Chamber via their website, to see if any Brixham items and some form of official recognition could be sent across to the US to celebrate Harold’s special birthday.

Mike Franchi of Brixham Chamber said “We replied immediately to Rick that we would be delighted to help. Together with Brixham Future and the Brixham Branch of the Royal British Legion, we arranged a special certificate, 100th birthday card and a package of Brixham souvenirs, books and information leaflets to be sent to Harold via Rick.”

The items were presented to Harold at his birthday celebration on 16th February. Rick said “Harold was overwhelmed to say the least. He has since set up small display of the certificate and the other items that were sent in his room and enjoys coffee daily from his Brixham mug.”

Harold said “I felt I should let you know how much I appreciate the “Brixham Collection” you gave me. I expect to have many happy hours poring over each item. As you can guess, Brixham has special memories for me.”

Harold was stationed in Brixham from May 1944, lodging at the Berry Head Hotel from where he was picked up each morning and transported to the radar station a few miles away. His most chilling memory of the war was seeing ships loaded with men departing from Torbay for the D-Day invasion.

In 1947 his sister flew on an army transport to England to marry a British pilot officer. On Harold’s recommendation they honeymooned at the Berry Head Hotel.

In 1984, Harold and his wife returned to Brixham and took in the 40th Anniversary commemoration of D-Day.

You can read more of Harold’s story at:

WW2 Brixham’s lasting legacy

WW2 Brixham’s lasting legacy

Details have been revealed of a series of information boards which  are to be erect­ed to commemorate Brix­ham’s role during the Second World War.

The  project has  been organised by  regeneration group Brixham  Future which is aiming to create  a ‘lasting legacy’. Eight    boards,  to be installed to  mark the  75th anniversary of D-Day, will feature different aspects of wartime Brixham.

Brixham Future spokes­man John Brennan explained: “The Churchill Memorial Garden site  was originally houses demolished to create the  turning circle for  Sher­man  tanks to  embark from the slipway below.

“We are delivering a major improvement by erecting eight  one-metre square infor­mation boards on the garden walls  alongside other  poten­tial improvements.

“The  information boards, which are intended to last for the  next  25 years, will  link Winston Churchill, Second World War, D-Day and local people and the  site in text and pictures. The  site will become an educational focal point.”

The  boards will include information about wartime prime minister Winston Churchill, after whom the gardens were named.

Homes were demolished where the  gardens are  now in 1943 to provide space  for American tanks to embark as part of the  4th  Infantry American Division  which  led the  invasion of Europe. The town’s war memorial records the  deaths of 125  Brixham people in the conflict.

Brixham,  is known as ‘the town that helped liberated Europe’ as it played  a crucial role on sea, land and air. In  the  key  24 hours of D­ Day  June 6, 1944,  the  first American ground  troops landing on  Utah beach departed from the  slipway below the gardens.

The boards will also record how  many Brixham people volunteered to evacuate people from Belgium’s coastal ports. Coastal defences were built from 1939 including large  artillery emplacements and smaller shoreline defences such as beach obstacles and machine gun emplacements.

Out of an original 130 such installations, only two remain open to  the  public, one  of which is  Brixham’s own Battery Gardens.

The  port’s role  in  D-Day was  crucial  to the  liberation of Europe  as many of the first ground troops and heavy equipment embarked from the  port’s ramps were des­tined for Utah beach.

More  detailed information can be seen in Brixham Heritage Museum.

Original story by Ellen Grindley in Brixham News.

Brixham Future – 75th Anniversary of D-Day

Brixham Future – 75th Anniversary of D-Day

Brixham played a crucial role in the liberation of Europe. The American 4th Division departed our harbour and landed on the first beach to be liberated – Utah. Allied forces and refugees were welcomed into our community and many remain in our local churchyard.

We intend to hold a major commemoration event on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day next year. We anticipate that local groups, voluntary organisations, commercial and professional interests will participate in some way. It may be a display or activity of some sort that is pertinent to the event.

It will boost our town. We intend to hold specific a specific event on the 6th June and have a guest list of 300 national and local dignitaries. We anticipate crowds of 10,000 people for the public events. We have for example pre-booked the ‘Battle of Britain’ memorial flight and several other attractions for that week.

Other Brixham organisations, clubs, companies or societies etc will be celebrating the week. We can therefore adjust our early programme to suit and include you in publicity.

We would be delighted if you would consider doing something around a 1940’s theme to celebrate this historical event between Saturday 1st to Sunday 9th June 2019 next year.

We can provide further details in due course. I am contactable on 01803 852270 or email if you want to discuss further.

We would be grateful for a response by the 1st September so that we can plan accordingly.

John Brennan
Project Lead
Brixham Future CIC