150 years of Devonshire Association
THIS year sees the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Devonshire Association, which is being marked by a wide variety of events across the county.
Founded in 1862 by a Cornishman, geologist William Pengelly, FGS, FRS, (1812-81), 'for the advancement of science, literature and the arts', the DA continues to promote study and interest in the many natural and artistic features of Devon.
Over the years it has evolved and developed, while continuing to maintain the high standards set out at its inception.
Pengelly and his colleagues were inspired by the recent founding of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, which recognised investigations and research that Pengelly had carried out around Torquay, and subsequently contributed finance for explorations of Torquay's Kent's Cavern under his direction. These covered 15 years and resulted in a large collection of prehistoric bones and flints and of much scientific knowledge relating to the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic eras. The collection is now in Torquay Museum, which Pengelly helped to found.
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Two important features planned at the DA's inaugural meeting have continued. Firstly, an annual meeting, with presentation of research papers and social interchange held at a different town and with a new president each year. And secondly, the publication of those research papers, together with other material, in an annual volume of Transactions. The full and growing collection of these substantial volumes covers a wide range of scholarly research and constitutes a valuable resource of information about Devon that is recognised across the world.
Present membership of the DA is around 1,300. It is not necessary for anyone to have been born in Devon, or to live in the county in order to become a member. Neither are academic qualifications required, although many members are experts in their own subjects. An interest in the county and a desire to know more about its many delights — the variations of landscape, geology, and flora and fauna, history and culture — are all that is needed. The membership fee is modest, and full members receive annually a free copy of the Transactions and two of DA News, together with a choice of many events to attend. New members are warmly welcomed.
There are eight specialist sections which members may join: botany; buildings; entomology; geology; history; industrial archaeology; literature and art; and music. Also, the DA has eight local branches, each of which has its own programme of talks and events.
Sections and branches are all laying on special events throughout the year which are mostly open to the public.
This year's annual meeting (now called the conference) is being held over the last weekend in May, appropriately at Torquay. It will be extended from the usual three to four days' duration.
Later, a special occasion for members will be an occasion at Powderham Castle, home of the Earl and Countess of Devon who are patrons for the anniversary year.
Further details are available at www.devonassoc.org.uk or please contact the hon secretary Robert Letcher on firstname.lastname@example.org or at 10 Gentian Close, Marldon, Paignton TQ3 1LS.
TWO members of Torquay Soroptomist International, Maureen Hunnable and June Braithwaite, recently received long service awards from president Veronica Prowse at the annual general meeting.
Maureen was very honoured and pleased to receive her 25-years long service certificate of the Torquay and District Soroptimist Club.
The 25 years has given her great satisfaction not only trying to help people in the third world but also people in our own community.
She has been president of the Torquay club on four occasions, and during those four years has been pleased to support and collect money for Children's Hospice South West, the support of this charity continues personally.
Being a member of soroptimism not only gives you the opportunity of helping and raising money for others, but also allows you to meet some wonderful women like the present and past members of the Torquay club.
June says membership of the Torquay and District Soroptimists has been a major interest of hers. In the early years, she was club secretary she quickly absorbed the spirit of soroptimism, in particular the aim to quicken the spirit of service and to contribute to international understanding and universal friendship.
Being involved in local issues has greatly broadened her outlook on the promotion of human rights and the status of women. She has exchanged visits with soroptimists in Germany and the Netherlands and greatly values their friendship.
Her life has been richly enhanced over the 25 years in the club and she accepted the certificate of service with the warmest thanks.
The club is also pleased to report they helped raise funds for children with visual impairment. A cheque for £55 was sent to the National Blind Children's Society after selling a 'baby adoptables' card.
Members were encouraged to pick a place name for £1, the winner who guessed where the baby panda came from was president Veronica Prowse who was pleased to hear that her choice of Athens was the winner. She gets to take the panda home and members hope that he enjoys a new life in Paignton.
The money donated will help the National Blind Children's Society provide funding for recreational activities and equipment, computers and IT equipment, activity holidays and respite care and large print books for schools.
If you are a woman who wants to make a difference, then come along to one of the meetings held on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm, at Rosegarth, Torquay, where a warm welcome will await you. An expression of interest form is available at www.sigbi.org which you can complete online, details will be sent to the Torquay SI, or contact club president Veronica Prowse on 01803 401739.