John Harriman

We are sad to announce the death of FoBL member John Harriman who died on Monday 25th May at Hill House Nursing Home. John was the husband of Jenny Harriman, our former Chair and was active in supporting her in this role.

John had Lewy Body Dementia which is difficult to diagnose. It appears later as Parkinson’s shake.

John overcame this illness for many years and continued enjoying playing Bridge at national level (he was a life master), cycling, swimming, supporting Leicester City and birdwatching; encouraging Jenny to arrange FoBL classes with Mike Langham.

Covid has enabled Jenny and Sam to arrange special celebrations of his life, with a 5 am birdwatch at Berry Head with Mike and a private family service at East Devon Crematorium on 2nd June. Donations to the Lewy Body Society are welcomed in his memory and may be given at

The overwhelming memory people have of John was as a kind and gentle man, no one could doubt his love and loyalty for his family and friends.

On behalf of all FoBL members and friends we send our condolences to Jenny and family at this sad time

Alastair Anderson

Chairman, The Friends of Brixham Library

June 2020


May Update

The coronavirus epidemic continues to influence our daily lives in so many individual ways. None more so than for the library staff who continue to support and develop the service behind the scenes. I take this opportunity to thank all the Brixham girls as they rise to the challenge of providing a virtual service through their activities on-line. Whether it be competitions, on-line stories or Baby, Bounce & Rhyme, they have been there to support our children and young people through this difficult time. For the rest of us, the promotion of reading through e-books, for example ‘Libby’, whether in a print or audio format and other goodies have been widely promoted through the Brixham Library and FoBL Facebook pages. All these details can also be found on the Libraries Unlimited website.


In the meantime, we all have an opportunity to read whatever is available. Whether it be forgotten books lost in the bookcase, volumes that you never thought you’d read or books shared with neighbours, friends, family or discovered whilst out on one’s daily walk, the fact remains that reading still plays an important part in all our lives.


I know that some of you are worried that your books may be overdue and incurring fines as a result. Be assured that you will not be charged fines during this period of the library being closed. If this still worries you, books can be posted through the library letter box using the book drop facility and will be dealt with the next time a member of staff is visiting the library.


At the time of writing this we don’t have any information of when libraries will be reopening and when they do, what services will be provided. However, we can only hope that it won’t be too long before we will be browsing amongst the bookshelves and the overriding consideration must be that they open safely with safe distancing being a major consideration.



One day this will all be over. When it is, we at Brixham Library want to celebrate…and what community event would be complete without swathes of colourful bunting!?
So, we are asking our locked-down library friends to help us create bunting flags for us. Whilst we have been closed during the Coronavirus lockdown it has been easy enough for us to engage with some of our service users online. However, apart from ‘phone calls to our most vulnerable customers; we are finding it difficult to interact with those who are not internet users. Our bunting project is a way of helping isolated people feel a part of the community under lockdown and for us all to look forward to a brighter ‘bunting decorated’ future. So please HELP SPREAD THE WORD…
How to make your bunting: We are asking contributors to make triangular flag bunting with dimensions of 5” across the top and 6” from the top to bottom. You can use any fabric, single or double layered, in any colour and sew, glue or staple depending on your level of skill! Once the lockdown is lifted and the library reopens you can deliver your bunting flags to us or pop through our book drop. If you are housebound just give us a call and we will arrange to come and collect the flags from you.
Friends of Brixham Library #buntingproject #lockdowncraft #librariesfromhome#keepsmilingbrixham #wewillmeetagain


And finally……

I have taken the liberty of copying this from a friends Facebook page, but you can’t not smile when you see it!!

A message from Emma

Hello Everyone

On what should of been our first Friday of the month coffee morning I am currently working from home with no cake! and no lovely smell of coffee.

I hope you are all keeping well.There are a few things I wanted to let you know:

Please do not worry about your books being overdue as all charges have been stopped and our IT team are working on renewing everyone’s books to the end of June.

We are still trying to provide a Library service for you all through this difficult time, this has to be in the digital form at the moment.  Please do follow the Brixham Library page on Facebook as we have lots of things going on. We have Live Music Rhythm and Rhyme sessions, quizzes, storytime and much more. Please do let us know if you have any ideas on what else we can do.

I wanted to let you know that 363 new eAudio has been added to Borrow Box which now has a collection of over 2000 titles.

4288 new eBooks and eAudio have been added to the Libby app and it now has 20,400 titles.

Don’t forget you can also read magazines on the RBdigital app.

On all these apps you will need your pin number, if you do not know it please do email us at and we can help you.

Stay safe everyone and we are really looking forward to see you all again soon.

Kind regards


Emma Aydemir, Team Leader, Brixham Library

Brixham Library – Coronavirus Update and Beyond

In case you aren’t aware this was the message sent out by the Librarians when Brixham Library closed until further notice:

It is with great regret that we have had to let you know that in view of the latest guidelines, we are now unable to open for our 2 hour sessions; we understand how disappointing this will be for our customers but hope you understand that it’s with a view to keeping you all safe.

Although Brixham Library will be closed until further notice…..The online library remains open 24/7 – visit for FREE ebooks, audiobooks and magazines. (if you don’t know your PIN, then please give us a call – 01803 853870) We have the following available online:

Libby app – Download the Libby app Find your Library (Torbay Libraries) Enter your Library card number Borrow a title & start reading BorrowBox – Install the BorrowBox app Select your Library Service (Torbay Libraries) Activate with your Library membership Borrow eAudiobooks rb Digital – Download the app Select your Library Enter your Library Card number Choose a magazine to read.

We will be working and contactable via email at, Facebook, Twitter and the phone on 01803 853870 so please keep in touch. Borrowed items can be renewed online or over the phone. Our book drop letterbox is also available for returning items if you are out for a walk. Wishing all of our customers our very best wishes in these difficult times, we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Looking to the future – Wanted: Childrens Jigsaws

Brixham Library has a small collection of jigsaws in the Children’s Library which unfortunately, is depleting due to old age and missing pieces. If anyone has any children’s jigsaws that they would like to donate to the library, they would be very much appreciated.

Head in the Clouds: 37 Years of Flying


Thanks to Kate & Bruce Graeme-Cook for their afternoon with us in the library. An inspiring talk about Bruce’s career in flying followed by a ‘must have’ cream tea provided by Kate. We were so pleased that so many of you came along as the afternoon was a sell-out. So, this is an opportunity to thank everyone for their support.








An offer of IT Help

The following was received in my ‘in-box’ which I am pleased to pass on. Mike is a long standing FoBL member and many will already know of his genius with anything to do with IT. He says, ‘at this strange time when we are all told to stay at home, technology is enabling us to stay connected with friends and family’.  If you are having problems with your laptops, tablets and phones Mike O’Donnell will try to help.  Give him a call on 01803 844013. Secondly, if there is anyone else out there with a similar interest and would also like to help please let Mike or myself know.

And finally…….

Library closure

A message from our Librarian, Emma Aydemir:
It is with great regret that we have had to let you know that in view of the latest guidelines, we are now unable to open for our 2 hour sessions; we understand how disappointing this will be for our customers but hope you understand that it’s with a view to keeping you all safe. 
Although Brixham Library will be closed until further notice…..The online library remains open 24/7 – visit for FREE ebooks, audiobooks and magazines. (if you don’t know your PIN, then please give us a call – 01803 853870) 
We have the following available online:
Libby app –  Download the Libby app
                      Find your Library (Torbay Libraries)
                      Enter your Library card number
                      Borrow a title & start reading
BorrowBox – Install the BorrowBox app
                       Select your Library Service (Torbay Libraries)
                       Activate with your Library membership
                       Borrow eAudiobooks
rb Digital –    Download the app
                       Select your Library
                       Enter your Library Card number
                       Choose a magazine to read
We will be working and contactable via email at, Facebook, Twitter and the phone on 01803 853870 so please keep in touch. 
Borrowed items can be renewed online or over the phone. Our book drop letterbox is also available for returning items if you are out for a walk. 
Wishing all of our customers our very best wishes in these difficult times, we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Corona Virus – Important Message to FoBL Members

In the light of the government announcements and as many of our members are near or over the age of 70 or fall within the category of those with underlying health conditions, we have taken the decision to cancel all FoBL events until further notice. This is a huge disappointment but we are not alone in making such decisions.

First Friday of the Month Coffee Morning

These have been cancelled until further notice.


Met Office Open Day – Saturday 23 May 2020.

This visit has been cancelled by the Met Office and we hope to be able to rearrange it later in the year. If you have already paid for a place to attend the open day then our Treasurer will be refunding your money as soon as she is able to and will advise you when this can be collected from the library.


Walking for Health – Monday Walk

Until further notice these are now on hold and although we would encourage all to continue to take regular exercise, we are also mindful that our Monday walks are also great social occasions. It is because of this that we felt they should be cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Finally, the latest advice from Libraries Unlimited and their commissioners Devon County Council & Torbay Council is that all libraries will be remaining open as normal. All library users are being asked to follow government guidelines relating to self-isolation. If in any doubt please contact Brixham Library 01803 853870 who will confirm which events have been cancelled etc.

In conclusion, these are challenging times and for the foreseeable future life will be very different for us all. Fortunately, we all recognise the power of reading and for once we will all have the opportunity to do just that and find time to read.


Friends Matter – February Update

Farewell January….

As many of us say farewell to January, it will be a month they are pleased to leave behind. With huge amounts of flu doing the rounds along with seasonal coughs and colds it’s not been a good month for many. So spare a thought for the library staff when you next visit and try to leave your infections etc behind you as being on the front-line they get hit with everything that’s going and unlike some public sector workers they aren’t entitled to a free flu-jab!! Rant over and we can all look forward to warmer spring days to come.

Coffee Morning 7 February  – free cake when you borrow a book!!


Our next coffee morning is on Friday 7 February between 10.00 – 12.00 noon. We have been so pleased with the numbers of you coming along each month, but we would like to push the boundaries even more. One of the ways that Libraries Unlimited measure the performance of each library is by monitoring the loan of books each day. So, at this coming coffee morning if you produce a book receipt showing that you have borrowed more than one book from the library on the day of the coffee morning, you will be entitled to a free piece of cake (whilst stocks last) with your coffee. Thus, we can all do our bit to help the library cause – go on you know it makes sense!!


But do you find borrowing a book from our library easy?  If not, the committee will be available to help explain how to borrow and return books etc. Comments from a number of you have made us see that there are a number of people who might attend the coffee mornings but have no real idea of how a library works now. So, if you’d like to know more, both library staff and the FoBL committee are there to help you.

FoBL Events programme – January to July 2020

Huge thanks to all involved in putting together our events programme for the start of this year. We hope there is something for everyone and like last year it lists events and activities until the end of July, and we will be producing a second programme later in the year. Many of you expressed concern about the small type face used in previous years, so we hope you’ll approve. As always to avoid disappointment do book places early and pay in advance to secure you a place and all bookings can be made at the Library Help Desk.

Future Events include:
Lifesaving Skills with Helen – Wednesday 29 January 10.30-11.30 – a free event, a few tickets are still available

Quiz Night – Friday 7 February – doors open at 7.00pm for 7.30pm start. Tickets £3.50 per person. We understand a couple of tickets are still available, so book up quick!

Talk – The Berryhead Hotel over the last 25 years – Date to be confirmed.

Health Walks Update.

We are very sorry to say that our regular afternoon Tuesday health walk is no more. Both Joy and Sharon have led these weekly walks for many years, and we were pleased that they continued to lead them when FoBL took over responsibility for the walks from the health authority. However, a combination of declining numbers and difficulties leading on such a regular basis mean that they have been discontinued. Our thanks go to all those involved over the years and if anyone feels like taking on the challenge and starting them up again do come and talk to us. However, I am very pleased to say that attendance on the Monday walk continues to thrive and information about this regular walk can be found in the new events programme.

Brixham Commemorates VE Day

John Brennan from Brixham Futures writes:

‘Our thank to the `FRIENDS OF BRIXHAM LIBRARY` for the £100 Donation [note from editor: this was the payment to advertise Library services, not a donation] to VE events. We hope that all your Members will be pleased with the adverts in the Brochure. Hopefully there will be a large FOBL presence at all the VE Events -but please publicize so people get into diaries etc!  Please highlight to your FOBL Members the following:

1) FREE Launch Thursday 7th May 7pm- Conservative Club -all your Members invited  
2)FREE Friday  8th May -Public Parade from `Man & Boy` statue 1030am-All your Members invited
3) FREE Friday 8th May Service in Town Square 11am -1145am-All your Members invited
4) FREE Friday 8th May 12 Noon Reception Scala Hall-All your Members Invited
5) FREE Friday 8th May  3PM Concert -Baptist Church –All welcome ( first come for seating)
6) FREE Sunday 10th May 1045am -Service @ `All Saints`-All your Members invited
7) FREE Belgium/ Evacuees Reception 6pm-Conservative Club -All your Members invited
In total there are 40 FREE  public events planned as per brochure to which  everyone is welcome.

We do hope this major event in 2020 helps promote Brixham and its heritage.

Thank you for all your help.

Best wishes

John Brennan, Brixham Futures

And finally…….

January 2020

Happy New Year


Welcome to our first newsletter for 2020 and not only the start of the New Year but also for the start of a new decade. To start this January edition of the newsletter if you didn’t get around to making any New Year resolutions this year, why not take a leaf out of Maureen Chivers book and sign up to ‘Intentional Health taster Session’. This is part of a wider programme taking part in libraries throughout Devon & Torbay and anyone can become involved. I have included details supplied by Maureen below but further information about other related events and activities can be found in the library.

Maureen writes…….


I’m writing to ask you to give some publicity in the next Friends Matter to the Intentional Health Taster Session which I’m running at Brixham Library on Tuesday 14th January between 10.30am and 11.30am as part of ‘Active Life, Active Mind’.

Intentional Health is an excellent programme which takes a whole person approach to health and well-being.  I’m attaching a poster which gives an idea of the scope of the programme and mentions one taster session, but not the one at the library.

I’ve really benefitted from the programme and am sure that other Friends would, so I’d be grateful if you’d bring it to their attention and perhaps mention that it’s being run by a FOBL member.


Maureen Chivers

Torbay Council


In the run-up to Christmas I have received a letter from Torbay Council relating to their proposed ‘Torbay Council Cabinet Draft Budget 2020/21 Consultation’. Copies of this document are now available in the library and I seriously urge you to ask for a copy and share your thoughts on why you think Brixham Library plays an important part in your life and why it is important that no further cuts to the service are not considered.  Following the recent refurbishment I think we can sensibly argue that future investment in to our libraries is considered, whether it be in terms of an increased budget and/or increased opening hours, so that once again the library can provide a service that can be used by the whole community and not just those who can visit during daytime opening hours. It’s a big ask but the more that people respond, the more likely the decision makers will listen to what we as library users have to say.

In the meantime, we have been invited as a Friends group to offer our views as part of the consultation. Whilst we are happy to do this on your behalf, your own views are just as important and I cannot over emphasise the need to respond as individuals.



Forthcoming Events


Our events programme is still being worked on by Helen and we hope to see its publication in the near future. In the meantime, our next coffee morning is on Friday 7 February 2020 between 10.00 – 12.00 noon, so please make a note of this in your diary or on your calendar. In fact, why not ask a friend a neighbour who has never been to a coffee morning meet you there and show them around our wonderful library.


And finally…….




Friends matter – Christmas Edition



December 2019 FoBL Loyalty Card Scheme

FoBL is pleased to welcome The Wine Loft in Middle Street Brixham as the latest retailer to sign up with our loyalty card scheme.


The Wine Loft in Middle Street is a wine shop with a difference. They have nearly 300 wines available to buy, starting from £6.99, including 60 which are under £10. Over 15 different, constantly changing wines can also be enjoyed on the premises by the glass or even more choices by the bottle, sat on our bar stools overlooking fantastic views of the town. Tapas style dishes are available all day, for example freshly sliced Spanish charcuterie, home smoked salmon, Portuguese tins of fish accompanied by Dan’s homemade sourdough, pâtés and cheeses. The Wine Loft is open Tuesday to Saturday for normal retail hours plus two evenings, Thursdays and Fridays till 8pm.

We are pleased to announce that the owners Clare and James Brown will offering all current FoBL members a 10% discount on Lunches taken in the Wine Loft.

We look forward to enjoying future collaborative events with them. However, in the meantime with Christmas and new Year on the doorstep you might wish to go and have a look for yourselves.



Christmas Music & Song

Our first big event in the library since the recent refurbishment and it was just a perfect setting for this carol concert. With a sell our performance the audience were entertained by the Torbay Galliard Recorder Group and the Quay Harmony Ladies Choir. Under the direction of their new Musical Director Ronnie Layne, the girls sang a delightful selection of Christmas songs to huge applause. The concert made a terrific amount of £640.00 for FoBL funds. Our thanks go to Quay Harmony and to all those who made the night such a success.



First Friday of the Month Coffee Morning

First of all, an apology to all those who came to our December coffee morning and were disappointed that there were no carols from the children from Furzeham Primary School. Unfortunately, the school found that they had double booked themselves and as a result mock tests meant a cancellation at very short notice. However, the morning made £133.00 towards FoBL funds and we were very pleased to see so many people come along and join us all for coffee and cake.

Our first coffee morning in the New Year is on Friday 3 January at the usual time and we look forward to seeing you then.

Walking for Health on a Monday Morning

Our regular Monday morning walk around Berry Head continues to be as popular as ever. For those who like numbers, this last year over 1000 individual walks have been achieved with an average of 30 people every Monday morning enjoying our regular walk. This is quite something and our thanks to all those involved in making these walks happen including Maureen Chivers and Mike O’Donnell as well as to Joy Mills who leads on the Tuesday afternoon walk for us.

And finally…..

With Christmas still to come, it may seem a little early to start thinking about New Year resolutions. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:

1 – lend or recommend a book that you’ve enjoyed to a friend.

2 – try a different genre of book taking you out of your comfort zone.

3 – make time to read every day.

4- suggest to your children, grandchildren or friends’ children that you sit and enjoy reading a book together.

5 – bring a friend with you to our monthly coffee mornings.

6- join one of our health walks on a Monday morning or a Tuesday afternoon.

On behalf of the FoBL Committee may I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and the very best for the coming year.

Alasdair Anderson – Chairman, FoBL


December Friends News

This is our new


With the opening of our newly refurbished library on Monday 25 November, this is a time to celebrate renewal and the rebirth of our much-loved library. Over the last four weeks, painters and decorators, carpet fitters, electricians, handymen and library staff have been busy making our library fit for purpose for the 21st century. Having been involved myself all those years ago in the planning and fitting out of Brixham Library, it is hard to believe that it all happened 26 years ago. With it’s clean and bright new lines, we’re sure that what has been done will tempt you back. Yes, it will look different and changes have been made, but Emma, Sarah, Michelle and Rebecca will be there to help you and to show you around if you can’t find what you are looking for.


Christmas Coffee                      morning

Our next coffee morning is on Friday 6 December between 10.00 – 12.00 noon. To give it a special Christmas feel we are hoping for a visit by the children from Furzeham School to sing some carols for us. So why not come along and join is some seasonal fun to start the festive period?

Christmas Music & Song

Our local choir Quay Harmony with their guests are holding their annual Christmas Concert in the library on Wednesday 11 December 2019 with doors opening at 19.00pm. Tickets are £6.00 to FoBL members and £8.00 for Non-FoBL members. These will be available in the library from Monday 25 November or by calling 01803 853870 / 858181. There will be a licensed bar and a raffle, with all proceeds being given to FoBL. Donations for the Christmas Raffle Hampers would be much appreciated and can be handed in at the library.

The Wine Loft

Recently, a group from FoBL enjoyed a wine tasting at The Wine Loft, Middle Street Brixham. As James & Clare talked through a selection of wines with appropriate canapes, a most enjoyable evening was had by all. This was our first group visit and we look forward to arranging further events with this delightful and helpful couple. However, please don’t wait for our next event there as you will receive a huge welcome and will be amazed at what is on offer.

And finally………

As autumn turns to winter, this is always a time to consider sitting down by the fireside with a good book and leaving the cold outside. Whether it be with your children or grandchildren or even just yourself, there is nothing like reading to let the pressures and strains of our modern world just disappear for a short while.




Alasdair Anderson – Chairman, The Friends of Brixham Library

25 November 2019