Ha – I feel like the Queen!! (not)
One of my FB friends, commenting on the latest Snowden revelations re GCHQ listening station said something like: “Ha, Dawn thinks Bude is a sleepy little town and doesn’t realise all that is going on out there”. Well, he’s right to some extent; obviously, I do not know all the ins and outs of events at GCHQ (not sure I’d want to if I ended up in Snowden’s shoes) but I never, ever thought Bude was sleepy.
To me, Bude is a dynamic place, teeming with proactive, community-minded individuals, small businesses and networkers, and yes, it is occasionally shook to the core by very distressing events like the recent armed robbery at the Candy Shop, and in spring, the theft of Ash the Husky puppy. Such events, however, should not distract us from all Bude has done in the last 12 months.
In July, for example, we even had a royal visit, kindly covered for me by Stephen Blake. Some events we have annually such as Lifeboat Day, but in May, this year, a new lifeboat was donated to Bude. Talking beaches, Bude pioneered a cleaner seas project and the new information screen was unveiled in July. One of Bude’s favourite locals, Vicko, hit 70 and became Citizen of the Year in what was a big year for Bude SLSC, where another popular local, Horace, also completed his mammoth bike ride.
Meanwhile, our councillors battled hard on various issues, managing to get £1 a day winter parking at Summerleaze and salvaging some of Bude’s loos while also helping to fight off Tesco. Lots of business initiatives really took off. Just look at the development of Hebasca and Tommy Jack’s, which has especially transformed that Crooklets area, as has the hugely popular Rosie’s cafe. Meanwhile, Bude had its very first pop ups including the Pop Up Shop, Nadelik, and beating them all to it, Sue Read’s pop up art gallery. and photography seems to have took off big-style, with the likes of Tim Martindale but also Rob Walters and young Dan Benford, among others.
Then, Bude’s youngsters have been engaging in some impressive stuff. The local school high school, Budehaven, teems with achievement of all varieties, so is a school to be proud of, and the Haven is there to help any young people and their families who need it. Budehaven ‘A’ level student, Jobe Harriss, was also crowned under 18 surf champion, a real #bigupbude moment.
Some highly dedicated individuals set up the immensely successful Bude Waveriders Club, which amazingly went on to host the Interclub Surf Championships at Widemouth. What an immense achievement and what a fantastic way to encourage Bude youngsters from the elite surfers to the groms. Surfing was also one of the many strategies used by CATS to engage young people. CATS is the power behind Friday Night Splash and helps to encourage young people to do community-based activities, with sports rewards for their engagement. Even the Scouts were out there, sorting out the Bude Christmas post! Youngsters to be proud of.
Other notables worth a mention (and I’m bound to have missed something, so please add your own) include the tireless Friends of Bude Sea Pool who have held more events than I can think of including this one. Likewise, Surf Action has done phenomenal charitable work to help combat veterans. On the arts side, we have the indefatigable BAAM, who look set to get bigger and better. Thanks must also go to someone from outside Bude, Debbie Cousins, whose Bude Networking Meetings have been a phenomenal success. I have to personally thank Debbie for involving me in Big Up Bude Talent but also for introducing me to IT supremo, Rob Wilcox whose voluntary help re my websites has been phenomenal this year. With his help I’ve set up Bideford & Beyond, we have a new and totally different venture for January (watch this space) drawing upon both our skills, and he has helped improve Bude & Beyond immensely. That link came from networking. Not sure I thank him for this though….meanwhile, as ever, I thank Darren from Mooshmedia who got Bude & Beyond started in the first place. Couldn’t have done it without you, Darren.
For me, it has also been a phenomenal year to see the websites and social media I do voluntarily, grow. But also, to be offered, because of my community website, the opportunity to write a book on Bude which took up much of the first quarter of the year.
Finally, a word to thank all those who help #bigupbude.
Accolade of the year has to go to Tracey Robinson from VertPR who coined the phrase in the first place! But in terms of getting it out there, the winner has to be Trev Plant. I read a tweet today lambasting Trev for using #bigupbude on the Bude Banter FB page, which struck me as sad because Trev loves Bude and I’ve never heard him say a bad thing about the place.
Next year looks to be even better with lots of events and changes afoot, including the exciting Bude For Food Festival…..watch this space….and thanks to all of you for your support. Merry Christmas.