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Posted by on in In Loving Memory of

10 February 1966 to 5 June 2018


Bruce attended Churston Grammar School and became a Marine Engineer. Sadly, however, whilst working in France, he stopped to help at the scene of a road accident and was badly injured by a passing car.

He thankfully survived and with his mother Maggie, they were the first, of eight members, to join the newly formed ACE charity in Brixham in 1989.

Despite suffering brain injuries, a paralysed arm and being in a wheelchair, Bruce was always cheerful and a very popular member of ACE.

He enjoyed pottery and Sports Mobility. He skilfully created items from clay and he loved competing in indoor games. Bruce and mum were always on opposite sides where they enjoyed each other’s ups and downs. There was a very close bond between them.

Bruce is deeply missed by us all. 

Bruce and mum Maggi

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Chris died on 9 March 2018.

Chris was a Sign Writer by profession, but her career was cut short by Parkinson’s disease.

She joined the charity Access to Community Education known as ACE where she was a long-time chairperson.

She enjoyed the friendship, support, and activities of guest speakers, IT and art.

She took part in pioneering surgery when she had brain implants that she could control from her midriff to steady her shakes caused by her illness.

ACE benefitted greatly from her leadership and she is sorely missed. 

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2 May 1953 to 9 March 2018

Debbi was a long-time member of ACE with her mother Renee and sister Denise.

Debbi’s funeral was held at Lupton House, Brixham, where we learnt that Debbi had been a good student at school and she trained as a teacher. She met her husband Kevin and they had many family holidays abroad.

Unfortunately, her career was cut short when she was diagnosed with MS. She joined the charity Access to Community Education known as ACE and enjoyed the friendship, support and the activities.

She enjoyed our guest speakers and she usually asked searching questions. She joined in the IT, swimming, art, gardening and mobility classes. She never let anything put her off and she was always positive about her life.

When she struggled to hold her head up in swimming she adopted a blow-up life jacket and she used a mask and snorkel.

On behalf of her sister she annually presented the ‘Good Egg Award’ for members or volunteers whose contribution to ACE had been especially noticeable that year.

Debbi is now with Denise and Renee and she is greatly missed.

Hits: 189

Posted by on in The Brixham Ace Website

We spent a very pleasant hour listening to music chosen by our colleagues. It was a welcome initiative by Wendy Gaye with Helen Taylor assisting with the down loads:

Young at Heart by Frank Sinatra from Ian White

World in Union by Kiri ta Kanawa from Robert Boyd

The Street by Sailor from Grahame Young

Blowing in the Wind by Bob Dylan from Sue Slim

You are the Sunshine of my Life by Stevie Wonder from Gill Clarke

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding from Jemma

Brimful of Asha by Cornershop (Norman Cook/ Fatboy Slim Mix) from Chrissy Elsworth

Have I the Right by the Honeycombs from Mandy

Flying over Africa by John Barry from Wendy Gaye

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Tin has been mined and smelted on Dartmoor since the 11th Century. It is found as a 3% black rock with granite and other rocks that means a high percentage of waste. Pewter, made of 94% tin, 1% copper and 4% antimony, was used, in those early days, for plates to eat off and drinking containers. They forged Bronze primarily of copper plus 12% tin, for weapons and tools.

Tin ore was first found in streams and on the surface before it was mined. It was crushed, washed and smelted into moulds before being transported, by pack horses, to one of four Devon Stannary Towns for sale. Stannary Parliaments and courts were able to legislate and prosecute matters relating to tin.

Water, channelled into leats from streams or reservoirs, powered the water wheels, of various sizes, as crushers and pumps to drain the water from the mines and to supply fresh air.

Miners wore hats hardened with vinegar and they had to buy the candles they worked by. They hammered chisels into the rock and blow it out with gun powder. It was very dangerous work in dusty, wet, cold conditions and the miners were exhausted by the age of 35. Boys started work underground at ages of 8-9 and girls started work usually, on the surface, a little older. Men walked, up to 5 miles, to and from work and over that distance they stayed in local accommodation.

Gun powder was made on the moor, with men wearing slippers, to prevent explosions.

Local famers grew food and bred rabbits in constructed warrens.

We very much enjoyed Paul’s talk illustrated with photographic slides. He gives many other talks on life on Dartmoor.

Hits: 337

Posted by on in Guest Speakers at Ace

Ken Dixon, when visiting the cathedral in Florence, discovered this story of a conspiracy and murder on 26 April 1478 by a chance remark.

At that time Florence was an Italian republic and the Medici family were the unofficial head and owners of the largest bank in Europe.

The rival banking families, Pazzi and Salviati, conspired to displace the Medici family by murdering Lorenzo de Medici and his brother Giuliance de Medici at the Easter service in the Duomo of Florence amongst 10,000 people. Giuliance died from 19 stab wounds and Lorenzo survived his single wound.

Ken described the details of the plot, the involvement of the Pope, the brutal murders and the revenge that followed.

The conspiracy failed as the Medici family gained in popularity and the conspirators were banished from Florence.

Hits: 398

Posted by on in The Brixham Ace Website

The Torbay Poetry Festival 17 started on Thursday 19th October 2017 at ACE with William Oxley and readings by Brenda Hutchings and Roy Cameron.

Brenda read: My mum’s wartime reminiscences of silk stockings, Glen Miller and her fight pilot who never came back.

Her father, a war time sailor, escaped the horrors by making kites and flying them from his ship.

About 2 boys who went to play in the rough waves and one didn’t come back!

Superstition. Don’t change the bed sheets on a Friday.

Not guilty and Beans means fines.

Big hand bags

Salmon fishing on the river Dart

Roy read: Day and Night dreams

A pint of Guinness in Birmingham railway station

Devonian limericks

Ladies behind the bar

The dread of Poetry Themes

Our Graham Young, of ACE, recited a poem without notes

ACE members have enjoyed these privileged recitals, from such excellent poets, since 2002.
We love the various styles and subjects and we are praised for being such a good audience.

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Chris previously spoke to the ACE group about his own skydiving and Base-jumping adventures.

This was a follow-up talk about the trauma he experienced after his wife Ruth had a skydiving accident on their holiday in Spain.

On the day of her accident, Ruth was an experienced skydiver and they were jumping together, with Chris leading.

When he landed and looked up he expected to see Ruth landing, but instead, he saw a crowd of people gathering around someone, on the ground, a short distance away. He rushed over and saw it was Ruth. She was unconscious and not breathing, but she had a pulse. Chris, with help, organised for her to be supported as she was rolled from her side onto her back, where he could start helping her to breath.

An ambulance arrived, but the Spanish paramedics could not speak any English and no one was able to translate for him. They gave him her wedding ring in a surgical glove. What did that mean? She was in serious danger.

Ruth was airlifted to a hospital, one and a half hours drive away, where she gained consciousness and started breathing for herself.

Chris followed and spoke to Ruth, but she had lost all her memory and she kept repeating the same question over and over.

He couldn’t stay with her like that and the doctors couldn’t explain her condition to him, so he had to return to his hotel room alone, frightened, depressed and unclear above Ruth’s future.
All he could do was pray.

He described this trauma with great skill and emotion. Ruth was flown home and he returned their hire car and flew home himself.
Ruth has now recovered, after a long period of rehabilitation, and returned to work. She continued skydiving for a short time, but she decided to give it up as it was clearly making Chris very anxious.

Chris is an excellent speaker. He spoke without notes and full of feeling and companion that brought tears to our eyes.

Tagged in: Skydiving accidents
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Pauline started her career at Paignton Zoo (PZ) selling tickets for teddy bears in the summer season of 1978.

In 1983, the Zoo employed their first marketing manager and Pauline became key to its promotion and development. She liaised with hotels, holiday camps, and annual shows and she set up a discount ticket scheme. She organised Easter Egg Hunts from 1991 and Christmas events from 1995 until her retirement in 2002.

In 1997, the first Zoo Keeper’s documentary was filmed and she assisted the film crew. These documentaries were very popular when screened in 1998 and 1999.

In 1999, the Heads of Departments all went to the USA for a week and the director, Peter Stevens, and Pauline took it in turns to run the Zoo. “Me in charge of a Zoo!

”Pauline said, “I had a wonderful time. I learned a lot and I met many wonderful people including most of the producers of the documentaries of animal programmes like David Attenborough and Chris Packham”.

The attached photographs are The Paignton Zoo’s first carnival float, The Zoo keepers’ TV series and Devika, a hand reared, Asiatic lion cub.

Pauline spent a long time preparing to perfect her talk. She included a lot of information, many fascinating pictures and lots of humour. We enjoyed listening and watching and so did Pauline as she conquered her nerves.

Hits: 594

Posted by on in The Thursday Ace Group

In early September, Simon Akeroyl, Head Gardener at Colleton Fishacre and Green Way and Ali Marshal, Head Gardener at Torre Abby judged the ACE garden.

We felt really privileged to be judged by such experts.

They looked at aspects of our large garden that presently has leeks, cauliflowers, Runner Beans and French Beans, tomatoes, roses, summer flowers, Holly Hocks, lavender, grapes, apple and pear trees and numerous pot plants.

We enjoyed their company and the gardening tips that they shared.

We will have to await the Presentation Evening, on 19 September, to see if we have been successful.

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Sky Divers jump from a high-altitude aeroplane, where they first free fall before ejecting their parachute. There appears to be ample time to complete each manoeuvre and it looks very enjoyable and safe.

BASE jumping, however, is performed from relatively low points like cliff tops or antennae towers. Time is short and it too looks exciting but there is no time for any error, as the records show.

Chris emphasised that the parachutes must be packed precisely so they eject correctly. Each side of the BASE parachute must be packed identically so the parachute ejects without any sideways deviation, which could cause the diver to veer into the cliff wall or to land badly.

Chris spoke of jumping from the edge of a Norwegian Fjord at 3050 feet and the cliff top at Beachy Head at 270 feet. The jumps lasted between 10 and 2½ seconds.

His talk was outstanding with gripping precision and pictures. He realises both sports are dangerous, but they have a unique exhilaration.

I have attached photographs of Chris talking to us, Chris with his parachute and 2 internet examples of BASE jumping from an antennae tower and a ravine in Idaho. 


Hits: 567

Posted by on in The Brixham Ace Website

We had a beautiful, sunny morning for our annual BBQ with very little wind. It was so warm that we struggled for space in the shade. We shared the day with members of our local Cheshire Home and Theresa Chapman, the mother of the late Robin Chapman. We fondly remember Robin as a drummer and a lover of wrestling. 

Maggi, as always bought and cooked the BBQ food and Charlie, Chrissy’s partner, sliced the onions. Our priceless volunteers brought in pasta and rice dishes with bowls of vegetables and fruit salad.

After this delicious lunch, the ACE chair, Robert Boyd had the bitter/sweet task of saying a huge thank you and sad farewell to Sam Watson as she takes up a new teaching post closer to home. Sam has been the tutor for the Write Way group for 13 years. Robert, members of the class and volunteers thanked her for her enthusiastic teaching, which encouraged so much hilarity and class participation. She always had an encouraging smile and wonderful arm ology that brought life and energy to her creative writing and poetry classes.

The class discussed the written work of many authors and wrote their own pieces during the lesson that they read out. They were tasked with weekly homework. They jointly wrote plays that they performed in theatrical costumes. ACE members loved these plays and their readings and we wished we had had a Sam Watson to teach us.

Class members presented Sam with her leaving presents and they all said how much they had enjoyed Sam’s classes and how she had guided them to become creative writers; changing their lives.
Many tears of joy were shed that day.

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The Royal Botanical Gardens were built during the Depression of the 1920s, when rough ground was shaped and planted beside Lake Ontario.

The gardens provide large areas of natural beauty for recrea&on, school par&es and weddings amongst the roses and rock gardens, a large arboretum with rare trees, wild areas with White Tail Deer and brightly coloured skinks and extensive lakes that is home to numerous )sh, birds and canoeists.

Roger’s extensive photographic record took us all on a very beau&ful Canadian journey.

Hits: 583

Posted by on in Guest Speakers at Ace

John Risdon took us on an illustrated tour of Totnes, which is a former Saxon settlement, built 9 miles up the river Dart from its mouth at Dartmouth, where it is the first place the river can be crossed on foot and cart. The first bridge was built by the Norman invaders in the 12th century.

The Normans built a moat and bailey Keep in 1068 to keep the locals in order.

It had a Benedictine Priory from 1088 where it linked with Monks’ Bridge in Brixham.

It was fascinating to be taken around Totnes to see the buildings being added through the Tudor, Victorian and modern times. It had a Corn Exchange and vegetable, fish and poultry markets. In 1523, it was the 2nd richest town in Devon andthe 16th in England.

It was an important site learning at various Grammar Schools.

Today Totnes is the home of the South Hams District Council and the conservative Member of Parliament, Dr Sarah Wollaston.

Hits: 682

Posted by on in Guest Speakers at Ace

Bob and Donna Myres met in 1996, when volunteering at the Torbay Hospital Radio charity, where they still broadcast to patients on a Monday evening.

In 2012 they formed the Torbay Times as a community newspaper to improve the publicity for voluntary organisations in Torbay.

Waitrose was the first large store in Torbay to sell their paper and others followed. They now have a steady circulation in the Bay and a large advertisement on a local bus.

They reached their 50th addition this month with regular columnists like our ACE member – Uncle Tom.

Dr Wollaston, the Totnes Member of Parliament, invited them to visit the Houses of Parliament and a reception, at Number Ten, for journalists. They soon discovered that their newspaper was the only one present without a bias.

They feature controversial issues, without a biased view, such as the possibility of closing local hospitals or the future of Oldway Massion.

Much of their newspaper is involved with Charity events with in Torbay

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Posted by on in The Write Way Class

The Creative Writing Class read some of their poems and other creative writing to us hich we enjoyed very much. They have promised us some of the items for the website.

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Posted by on in Guest Speakers at Ace

Yvonne, Janet and Sophia provided us with a most interesting, well-illustrated talk onthe Island of Madeira.

Sophia had created an expert power point presentation, which was very helpful for Yvonne’s talk.

We learnt how the island was born of an ancient volcano and that it was claimed for Portugal.

It is visited by approximately one million tourists annually and many cruise ships call.

Madeira is a lush, mountainous island popular for the numerous man made water channels called levadas, which provide lengthy walks amongst the mountains. Janet and her husband, Bruce, have visited Madeira seven times and she showed us photographs of them following the levadas amongst the mountain tops and low level clouds and views over the sea.

Yvonne showed us pictures of the world-famous New Year fireworks display, the Brazilian style carnival, the exotic flower shows, the dancing from all ages, the market of mouth-watering fruit, vegetables, fish and meat.

Yvonne had baked local delicacies which we sampled with small glasses of local wine and rum.

Their talk brightened up our grey day of frequent showers.

We would now all like to visit for ourselves.

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Tina is a past friend of ACE. She started with an illustrated talk on her visit to India, which she gave dressed in a traditional Sari. Then she taught cookery on a Tuesday evening.

Now we welcome her back to share her craft knowledge. After her demonstration, wemade a Christmas Tree from an old book and decorated it.

The tree tested our dexterity, hand, eye co-ordination and skill with glue and tinsel.

It was very enjoyable and we took home our own Christmas decoration

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Carl, an ACE member and our Guest Speaker organiser, provided us with an excellent talk on the ‘Sovereign’s Christmas Message’.The message was

The message was first broadcast by King George V in 1932 as part of the BBC Empire Service and is continued today by our present Queen Elizabeth II. She now broadcasts on the BBC World Service to the Commonwealth of Nations on television and the internet.

It was interesting to hear some of the topics that have been mentioned in the messages over the years. They can all be found in the Wikipedia section of the internet title.

Carl’s topic was followed by Yvonne our administrator, who told us about her trip in 2012 to Lapland in Finland.

At the time her son Carlo was a Thompson’s Holiday Rep. at the Santa Claus Villagein the Finnish capital of Rovaniemi.

We say beautiful sub-Arctic winter scenes of Santa Claus and his elves in his work shop, thick, dry snow cover fields and forests, the green Northern Lights-Aurora Borealis, reindeers and dogs pulling sleighs and the colourful costumes of the indigenous Sami people.

We finished by naming Santa’s reindeers and singing Jingle Bells.

I’d like to commend Carl and Yvonne for the pleasure of their talks, despite their nerves, and we would encourage others to follow their lead.

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Posted by on in Guest Speakers at Ace

Janet is a volunteer and trustee of ACE and she and Bruce celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a holiday to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is a Central, Latin America country, with a population of 4.5 million, situated between Nicaragua and Panama. The capital is San Jose, the main language is Spanish and the main currencies are the Colon and the American Dollar.

It has a tropical climate being 8 degrees north of the equator. 25% of the country is protected national parks and recreational hunting is banned. Ecotourism is now worth more than coffee and banana production. By 2021 they plan to be carbon neutral.

Janet illustrated her talk numerous pictures of jungle views, some of the 14 volcanoes, curious ecolodges and wildlife species of every type imaginable.

The attached examples are a  toucan, a spider monkey and a hummingbird




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