Billy Vaughan the Ashford postman who retired after 37 years service is very appreciative of the generous retirement gift from villagers.
Thanks to everyone who donated to his leaving collection and who attended Billy's farewell. Thanks to Dr Alan Bosley for the video showing Geoff Holder's (Chairman of Ashford Parish Council) valedictory speech and for the photographs of the event.
Excerpt from Memories of Ashford A North Devon village in the year of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II 2002 written by Dr Alan Bosley with help from village residents giving advice and contributions to enable the book to be produced.
The property All Winds, occupied by Michael and Judy Friend, was previously known as Alwynds. It was built in 1949 as a two bedroom chalet bungalow, extended in 1966 to accommodate their growing family and black labrador. There were other members of the family living in Ashford as well.
In 1992 part of an adjoining field was purchased from neighbours Leslie and Raymond Bedford on which a large three car garage was built to house a collection of classic sports cars. In addition a conservatory, utility room and office have been added.
Michael was a Parish Councillor for 16 years, 15 of those as Chairman and it was during this time that the annual village clean up was started when a large amount of rubbish was always collected, even refrigerators, mattresses and bedsteads, requiring a large lorry from the Council to come and remove it. The Womens Institute provided welcome refreshments while this exercise was carried out.
The chapter talks about access to the River Taw finally being achieved, not without objections, and the building of a roundabout at the bottom of Strand Lane. Alan wrote the book in 2002 and 11 years later, this issue continues to be on the Parish Council Agenda.
Judy Friend, like her husband, was involved with the Parish being a member of the Parochial Church Council and one of the first to join the W I and recalls the President, Monica Walker, going to the Church Hall with coal and sticks to light the fire for the Winter Meetings. The W I had a choir as well and practiced every week at Mrs Paige's house in Meadowside. Sadly, due to lack of numbers, the group had to close and since then, the Ashford Ladies Group has been formed.
The Friends' recall the lovely times when it was possible for their children to play in the fields and ride ponies around the lanes without fear of being out on their own and the increase in traffic.
The view from their house enables them to see the River Taw and back then, gravel barges coming up on the high tide to offload at Castle Quay. The railway line which carried holidaymakers to Ilfracombe now forms part of the Tarka Trail.