New WWI Memorial to Pilton’s Men and Women

A new World War One memorial to the men and women of Pilton is due to be unveiled by Barnstaple Mayor Ian Roome in Rotary Gardens at 2pm on Saturday 8th September.

The new memorial plinth

The memorial plinth awaits the finished plaque

In the last two years, The Pilton Story and North Devon Council have collected the stories of seven of the men who fought and died in the Great War to tell more about them than just the usual name, rank, service number and regiment.  These stories, which share something about their lives, are being told on a new plaque to go on the fourth plinth in the centre of Rotary Gardens (left).

They are representative of the stories of the 39 men of Pilton inscribed on the plaque below the memorial west window of the Ancient Priory Church of St Mary, and of the 340 men of Pilton who went to war and came home at the end of the conflict, whose names are on a board in the South Porch.

In addition to the concise versions of their stories on the plinth, more complete versions are being posted on The Pilton Story archive over the next few weeks.  The stories of Harry Fry-Vicary, Claudius Wilfred Dix, William James Norman and Frank Norman are already there.  Whilst the memorial remembers both the men and women of Pilton, we have been unable to find specific records of the many women of Pilton who also must have served and sustained the war effort.  This regrettable omission does not in any way diminish their enormous contribution to the ultimately successful conflict.

When The Voice UK came to Pilton

The Voice UK is a Saturday night television talent show which started on the BBC in 2012 and moved to ITV in 2017.  The idea is that musical talent is judged simply on the voice of the contestants alone and not on what they look like.  After contacting Esther Davies in The Reform Inn, on 23 April 2018 they sent Lauren and Sarah to record at the Open Mic Night which is held every Monday.   This was apparently part of the research process for participants for the 2019 series of The Voice UK.

The Open Mic Nights have been running since 2001, initially by Brendon Taylor for about 10 years until he emigrated.  Now, every Monday evening, Simon Darling introduces all the performers and Neil Rolfe does the ‘buttons’ – the sound desk.   The photo below was taken during the evening in which 18 people auditioned, a mix of regulars and others who had applied specifically for the show.

Recording acts in The Reform Inn

Recording musical acts in The Reform Inn during the Open Mic Night

Said Esther Davies “It was a great event!  I was contacted by phone out of the blue and asked if our Open Mic Night could be filmed!  They sent me a poster to advertise the event, and that was pretty much it until the two girls, Lauren and Sarah, arrived!  They enjoyed the evening as much as we did, stating that there was a lovely sense of community and support! They hope to return next year, and who knows, they may have discovered the next number one artist here in Pilton!”