Dartmouth Connections - Doug Twigg, Chairman of The Darrtmouth & Kingswear Society
How long have you lived in Dartmouth?
Nearly nine years but we have always loved Dartmouth. My wife Chris is from Torquay. We met at college in Cambridge, and were married in Cockington. We have spent many family holidays here. I was a civil engineer, and as a family we moved around the world following my work to Hong Kong, Indonesia and Oman. But there is something truly tremendous about Dartmouth, particularly when you are keen on sailing as we are, and when retirement approached Dartmouth was the obvious choice.
Do you miss your old globe trotting lifestyle?
Yes and no – yes it was wonderful to get to know so many fascinating people and places, but no I don’t miss the airports. Before we came here we lived in Cambridge and I worked in London. Cambridge is a lovely town, but the countryside is flat and it is a long way from the sea.
How did you get involved with the Dartmouth and Kingswear Society?
I became aware of an organisation that was making a positive contribution to the area, I went to a few meetings then found myself on the committee!
Can you describe the Society’s role?
It aims to retain and enhance the attractiveness of Kingswear, Dartmouth, Blackawton, Dittisham, Strete, Stoke Fleming, and the river, coastline and countryside. The Society does this by promoting high standards of planning and architecture, by protecting important features and by taking an educational role, while at the same time recognising the need for progress and prosperity. We don’t want to create a museum - the town and villages would die. The balance of conservation with community viability and economic growth is key to what we do. Our hard-working Committee monitors planning applications, voices objections at appeal, consults with and lobbies local government and works with other organisations such as the Harbour Authority and the Chamber of Trade. The Society runs a series of winter meetings, including an annual Open Forum tackling topical subjects such as climate change, and has published local guides to the area. We give grants to local projects such as the Townstal Community Hall, St Barnabas Church, the Lifeboat building and the Flavel.
The Dartmouth and Kingswear Society celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – how will you mark the occasion?
We are having a summer party on a river boat for members and guests. Everyone owes a lot to all those who, in the past, have worked so hard to keep this area special. For example the Society’s 1960s development plan helped give better access in the form of College Way, pedestrianisation of Foss Street and a cleaner river following the building of the Old Mill sewage treatment works. The society set the ball rolling for the Flavel arts centre. There are many achievements worthy of celebration.
How do you see the future of the Society?
We would like more members and a wider membership. We would particularly welcome members from Townstal, and we are also embarking on an exciting new partnership with local schools. We are providing funding and guidance for a living history project, where children will interview older residents about their memories of the Dartmouth area during the Second World War.
Do you have time for any other interests?
I am involved in the Prince’s Trust business programme, helping disadvantaged young people to get started in business. There have been some dramatic success stories. I’m the volunteer co-ordinator for the young people and their mentors in Torbay and also sit on the interview panel for applicants from all over Devon.
In summertime we have had some great times sailing our boat Sandpiper which we keep on the Dart, generally along the coast and sometimes across the Channel. Our longest trip has been round Britain via the Caledonian Canal - a tremendous ‘one-off’ adventure!
First Published June 2009 By The Dart