April Update


Welcome to another edition of Friends Matter and another full newsletter. The 1stApril is not only the start of many people’s financial year as the first twelve hours enable all sorts of horseplay and joke making but it is also a reminder that subs are due. Your annual membership fee of £5.00 we believe is still very good value, see the update from the Loyalty Card members below. Membership fees are our main income stream, they enable us to continue to invest in our library in support of the many activities and requirements that can’t be funded elsewhere. So, please add this to add your list of things to do and if you haven’t paid, why not make it even more painless by setting up a standing order.

Summer Reading Challenge

This summer the children of Brixham need the support of their library more than ever. So we have kicked off a campaign to raise money for the annual Summer Reading Challenge. It is going to run across the country, and the theme is Wild World Heroes – a challenge to read and learn about the world about us, and how to protect it. There will be books, rewards, and we want to make sure the children get all they need – books, medals, certificates – over the Summer to make the most of it. 

The target has been raised to £1000 – please donate now to the Summer Reading Challenge. Just click on the link below to go straight to the Donations Page. 


And we shall keep you updated on how much we have raised in the next newsletter. 

Libraries Unlimited – Let the Countdown Begin

We’re steaming towards re-opening. Libraries Unlimited have been carefully following the latest Government advice and guidance to leisure facilities and will plan to re-open on Monday 12th April 2021.

From 12th April, Brixham Library will offer phased library reopening for book browsing, and computer sessions.  Mobile Libraries will be back on the road offering book browsing for one bubble at a time. Please see Torbay Libraries website nearer the time for opening hours. All our covid-secure working practices will remain in place at this time and ongoing.

From 17th May, the rule of 6 will apply meaning that we can reopen meeting rooms for small groups of 6.

From 21st June, based on the government’s roadmap we should be able to expand our in-person offer, start to introduce events and offer meeting rooms for bigger groups.

The above timetable is subject to government guidance and potential change. Libraries Unlimited will continue to keep customers updated.

FoBL Web Master

FoBL takes this opportunity to thank Graham Offler as he steps down from the position of FoBL web master. Graham was instrumental in setting up the FoBL website initially using a free version of WordPress and as the site developed, recommending changes which made the site easier to use for everyone. Many of you will also have benefitted from his IT experience as he was one of the regular IT buddies helping out in both Brixham and Paignton libraries. In appreciation of his help and commitment, on behalf of FoBL members, I presented him with a token present of two bottles of wine which we know both Graham and Dinah will enjoy.

However, I am happy to announce that Clive Robson has kindly agreed to take over this role. Clive has many years’ experience, working in IT and his skills and expertise will be both valued and appreciated just as Grahams were.

Reader Looking for a new home:

A desk top reader and magnifier made by Presto Ash has recently become available. If you or anyone you know who might it useful this could be for you. I understand that it is not being sold but perhaps a small voluntary donation to the Macular Society could be considered. It is in full working order but might be considered old technology now. 

For further information please contact Tracey 01803 391755. The reader can be delivered locally if required.

Exercise Tiger

Exercise Tiger, or Operation Tiger, was one of a series of large-scale rehearsals for the D-Day invasion of Normandy, which took place in April 1944 on Slapton Sands inDevon. Coordination and communication problems resulted in “friendly fire” deaths during the exercise, and an Allied convoy positioning itself for the landing was attacked by E-Boats of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine, resulting in the deaths of at least 749 American servicemen. 

Because of the impending invasion of Normandy, the incident was under the strictest secrecy at the time and was only nominally reported afterwards.

To find out more about Exercise Tiger, most of the books below are available to borrow from Torbay Libraries and like me I’m sure you’ll soon satisfy your own curiosity about this major event in Devon history.


  • Exercise Tiger by Richard T. Bass.
  • The American assault exercises at Slapton Sands Devon in 1944: Exercises Tiger and Fabius by Arthur C. Clamp.
  • Pre-paring for D-Day: American assault exercises at Slapton Sands by Arthur C. Clamp.
  • Belafonte’s return by Capt. Bob Curtis (Fiction) – local author
  • The invasion before Normandy: the secret battle of Slapton Sands by Edwin P. Hoyt.
  • Channel Firing: the tragedy of Exercise Tiger by Nigel Lewis.
  • The Forgotten Dead by Ken Small – local author
  • Magic Army by Leslie Thomas (Fiction)

Other titles not available in Torbay Libraries:

  • Slapton Sands by Francis Cottam.
  • Exercise Tiger: the forgotten sacrifice of the silent few by Wendy Lawrence.
  • Exercise Tiger: the dramatic true story of a hidden tragedy of World War II by Nigel Lewis.
  • Disaster before D-day: unravelling the tragedy at Slapton Sands by Stephen Wynn.

Walking for Health – Monday Walk

The recent period of lockdown has meant that we haven’t been able to continue with our regular Monday walks. However, in a recent communication from Catherine Williams, Sports Development Officer,

Community & Customer Services, Torbay Council, she says:

I hope everyone is keeping safe and well. Over the past few months, I have confirmed funding through Active Devon to be able to continue Baywalks under the new Ramblers Wellbeing Walks umbrella. I have also attended training covering the transfer of digital information over to the new system, over the coming months I will keep you informed with the progress. Essentially as Walk leaders the walks will not change but there may be more people joining you. I am hoping to encourage more people to become Walk Leaders for the Baywalks scheme and to be able to offer more walks that spread across Torbay. If you know of anyone interested in becoming a qualified Walk Leader please either contact Michael O’Donnell or myself via the FoBL website.

Finally, we will be following advice from Ramblers and currently they are hoping that from Monday 12 April our Monday walks will start up again as normal. We look forward to this but are mindful that because of the pandemic this cannot be guaranteed.

Your Comments:

Feedback is always welcome and none so much following the March edition of Friends Matter as follows:

‘Nice FoBL newsletter Alasdair. L’s family dynamics mirror yours. They emigrated to Saskatchewan’.   sent in by J

 ‘Great newsletter Alasdair really looked good and very interesting’. Sent in by A.

‘That’s a great newsletter and thank you for the write up – fantastic !!!’, sent in by Taste. 

Loyalty Card News

As lockdown regulations at last begin to ease, our Loyalty card partners are all busy preparing for their new season. This month we have news from two of our local retailers. Many of you will have seen coverage of Fishcombe Café either on the BBC’s Spotlight News or in the Herald Express and Torbay Weekly newspapers. Chloe has been busy and is looking forward to seeing her customers again. She writes:

We are delighted to announce the cafe won Gold for the Cafe of The Year with Devon Tourism Awards, which has made us even more excited for what the new season will bring! The cafe will be opening the front hatch again from March 27th on a daily basis from 10.00am (closed Mondays).

We have some lovely events lined up, from interactive storytelling with a local performer & writer, wildlife talks with projects and events with local teams such as Health Scape to talk about cold water swimming. So, it’s fingers crossed for a summer with no social limits but lots of sunshine and family fun.  

Our next stop is at Brixham Maid in Middle Street, Brixham. Sally has been able to open throughout the winter but with spring in mind she has made some welcome changes in the shop. The cheese counter from the now closed shop ‘Taste’ has found a new home, along with a display of delicious chocolates from the ‘Taste’ range. So along with Sally’s selection of locally made jams and pickles, your taste buds will just be wanting to try out many of these items on offer.

Sally makes many of her jams and chutneys in the shop, so it’s always worth popping in to see what’s in the making and she is always happy to talk about her products and the ingredients she uses in making these yummy preserves. 

Joke of the month

What is the world’s tallest building? The library because it has the most stories!

And Finally….