Category Archives: Business

Historic Attraction looks to the Future

August was a very busy month for historic, local attraction, Babbacombe Cliff Railway. Although it was built in1926 it has been owned and run by a specially set up Community Interest Company (CIC) for the past five years. The Company is made up of a Board of voluntary Directors who in turn employ just 6 members of staff to ensure that the 100,000 people who travel on the Cliff Railway each year do so safely and happily.

Babbacombe Ukulele Festival

In August there were two special events to mark the first five years of CIC ownership. The first was an evening Reception held at the Bay Trecarn Hotel to thank all the many volunteers, local businesses and groups who have helped make the railway the success it now is. The Trecarn Hotel is the latest local business to link up with the Cliff Railway and is now holding regular fundraising events and supporting operations wherever possible. In fact, Hotel Manager, Steve King, has just joined the Board of Directors of the Railway. Steve said “I am delighted to be so involved with Babbacombe Cliff Railway, both personally and on behalf of the hotel. It’s an amazing local attraction and I believe it’s vital that it is looked after and treasured for future generations. To be part of a group so dedicated to ensuring that happens is very inspiring and I’m looking forward to getting more involved.”

Ukuleles on Oddicombe Beach

Board Chairman, John Ayres, said “We are absolutely thrilled that Steve has joined the Board. We are lucky enough to have a great bunch of people both on the Board and as volunteers. The mix of skills and experience within the group is what makes the Cliff Railway the success it is. We take the business of running Babbacombe Cliff Railway very seriously but we also get along very well and respect each other’s opinions. Between us I believe we are doing a great job of taking care of the Cliff Railway and running it in a way that ensures it will continue to prosper for many years to come.” He added “It was wonderful to have our special fifth anniversary Reception as it gave us an opportunity to show everyone who has contributed how important they all are to the Cliff Railway”.

In fact, John was so keen to ensure that he thanked everyone that, instead of the usual speeches one would expect at such an occasion, he read a poem that he had written specially for the event and which can be read in full on the Cliff Railway website.

After an evening of merry-making, a family party day took place down on Oddicombe Beach in the form of the first ever Babbacombe Ukulele Festival with performances by ukulele bands from Babbacombe, Hatherleigh, Torbay, Marldon and Newton Abbot. On the Saturday morning, a large marquee was put up on the promenade and for over four hours live music was enjoyed by lots of people on a day of spectacular sunshine. John said “One of the reasons for having a marquee was so that there would be shelter if the weather was bad. In the end it was used as much-needed shade as we were treated to a glorious sunny day. The whole event was a huge success and I’m very much hoping it was the first of many ukulele festivals to come so watch this space.”

Anniversary fun on the Beach

As well as the Board and staff the Cliff Railway has lots of volunteers who help run the Visitor Centre down on Oddicombe Beach. The Visitor Centre opened in April 2012. It’s free to look around and has proved extremely popular with locals and holidaymakers alike. Badly damaged in the storms this February, it was redecorated, re-stocked and open in time for Easter. The Cliff Railway is always keen to hear from anyone who may like to volunteer in the Visitor Centre even for just a few hours a week. So, if you are interested in being part of the future of Babbacombe Cliff Railway e-mail or pop into the Visitor Centre and see Sarah Foley, who co-ordinates all the volunteers.

Babbacombe Cliff Railway is open every day from 9.30am and their next special event is a mystery to solve as part of the Agatha Christie Festival. On Saturday 20 September the team will take you back to the 1920s and ask you to help solve the “Flight of the Babbacombe Smuggler”. With suspects to question and live music from High Society the fun starts at midday and is totally free to take part although usual Cliff Railway travel charges apply. For more information visit or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Festival Fundraising Total Tops £10,000

The annual Hanbury’s Fish and Chips on the Downs Music Festival event in the Babbacombe Festival Marquee this June raised a staggering £10,480.81. David Hanbury, who organises the event said “I am absolutely delighted with the amount of money that was raised this year. As always, this is a team effort and we’ve had enormous support from sponsors, groups and individuals without whom we couldn’t hope to reach such an amazing total.”

Crowds on Babbacombe Downs on Hanbury's Day

All the money raised has gone to David’s chosen charity, the Torbay Holiday Helpers Network (THHN) which is a Babbacombe based charity. The THHN gives free holidays to families who have seriously ill and bereaved children, recently bereaved families, couples who have lost a child and to families who have a terminally ill parent and it is a charity that David is particularly keen to support. He said “The work that Luke Tillen and his team do is so important and I’m only too pleased to help provide holidays for more wonderful families here in South Devon. The team at THHN are lovely to work with and their Fundraising Manager, Brian Lewis, deserves special mention for his tireless work helping make the day a success co-ordinating all the volunteers, attending planning meetings and generally helping out wherever required.”

Hundreds of people attended this year’s event and were treated to a line-up that included the Stone Angels, Land of the Giants, Shamrock, Ollie Stephens, a special appearance by the Krankies and headline act, Mama Stones House Band, featuring Phoebe Ions.

Sponsors of this year’s event included Boyce Hatton Solicitors, Babbacombe Garage, Riviera Mortgages, The Babbacombe Inn, The Buccaneer Inn, Angels Tea Rooms, The Rotary Club of Babbacombe and St Marychurch and Child Friendly Matters. The event itself consisted of ten hours of fantastic live music. David said “I thought the line-up we had this year was really fantastic and I have to thank Anais Hay who handled all of the bookings and finer details behind the scenes. I’m also incredibly grateful, of course, to all the Hanbury’s staff who worked so hard serving over one thousand portions of fish and chips on the day. I’m very lucky to have such a great team here at Hanbury’s.”

Hanbury’s Fish and Chips on the Downs was the finale of this year’s five days of Babbacombe Festival Marquee activities which, as well as supporting the THHN, also had events which raised money for Rowcroft Hospice, CLIC Sargent, the Poppy Appeal and End Polio Now. David added “Particular thanks must go to Martyn Strange who, for many years now, has provided the spectacular Babbacombe Festival Marquee as well as co-ordinating a selection of events that have been enjoyed by hundreds of people and raised such a lot of money for the various charities supported by the Festival.”

The 2014 Festival was blessed with fantastic summer sun throughout and Babbacombe Downs was full of people enjoying both the weather and the atmosphere at all of the events which also included the Torbay Armed Forces Day which saw crowds lining the street to celebrate with Armed Forces past and present.

David said “Overall this year was definitely the best year we’ve ever had. There was a lovely atmosphere throughout and it was really wonderful to see so many people enjoying what was on offer. Babbacombe Downs is a superb location and what happens up there during Festival week introduces lots of new people to this spectacular location.”

The Festival website now has a gallery of pictures so you can re-live all the goings-on from June 2014.

Have a Crafty Easter at Babbacombe Cliff Railway

This Easter Sunday, 20 April, Babbacombe Cliff Railway is offering a selection of fun Easter crafts for children.  This special event, which will run from 10am to 4pm, is called Babbacombe Bunny’s Easter Crafts.  Children are invited to go along to the Cliff Railway and get crafty with glitter, glue and all sorts of exciting bits and pieces.

Once a creation has been made, it’s off to find the Babbacombe Bunny who will be giving all hard-working children an Easter Egg (while stocks last).  There’s no charge for this event it’s just a special Easter treat for children travelling on the Cliff Railway that day.

Babbacombe Bunny

When the powerful storms in February battered the Cliff Railway Visitor Centre on Oddicombe Beach some contents were lost to sea and others were rescued in a night-time operation by volunteers.  This incredibly popular attraction at the far end of the beach was then been boarded up until the worst of the weather had passed and it could be dried out and made safe.  Now, after a lot of hard work, the Visitor Centre will be open to the public once again from Monday 14 April and it’s hoped that lots of people will go down to Oddicombe Beach this Easter to see the transformation.

In the meantime, in the run-up to Easter keep up to date with the whereabouts of the Babbacombe Bunny by following its antics on the Cliff Railway Facebook page at


Free Flower treat for every Mum

This Mother’s Day, Sunday 30 March, every Mum travelling on Babbacombe Cliff Railway will be given a free flower.  This is the 3rd year that the Railway has given out these little Mother’s Day treats and it’s always popular.

Marketing Manager, Nicky Allen, said “It’s a simple idea but often the simplest gestures are the ones that are most appreciated.  We’ll have a basket of flowers at the Top Station and, when tickets to use the railway are purchased, any Mums in the group will get a free flower.”  She added “A lot of people go out for lunch on Mother’s Day and Babbacombe Downs and Oddicombe Beach are the perfect locations for a post-lunch stroll so we get quite a lot of people using the Cliff Railway on that day.  The flowers are always appreciated which is why we’ve decided to run with the idea again this year.”  Please note that the offer will run only while stocks last.

The Cliff Railway has been open for the 2014 season since mid February but the Visitor Centre down on Oddicombe Beach, which opened a couple of years ago, is still boarded up after the storm damage at the beginning of February.  Work will start very soon on getting it ready to open again as soon as possible.

To keep up to date with progress, and all the news about this charming, historic treasure, have a look at the website, or follow the regular updates posted on the Facebook page at

Fish and Chip Lunch for Torbay Dementia Action Alliance

A group of Friends of the Torbay Dementia Action Alliance (TDAA) enjoyed a delicious fish and chip lunch courtesy of Hanbury’s of Babbacombe recently.  The group of 20 consisted of carers and people who have a diagnosis of Dementia. Chairman of the TDAA, Norman McNamara, said “We had a lovely lunch and are very grateful to David Hanbury for inviting us.  Not only were the fish and chips delicious but the atmosphere was inviting, understanding and relaxing and that makes all the difference.”

David Hanbury said “It was lovely to see Norrms and the group and give them some fish and chips.  They really are a great bunch and to be able to sit down and enjoy a meal and have a chat and catch up with them all was an absolute pleasure.”

Torbay Dementia Action Alliance lunch at Hanbury's

Hanbury’s is one of many local businesses that is Dementia Aware which means that its staff have undergone training from Norman to raise awareness of dementia, its symptoms and how staff can be sensitive to those affected by it. Norman said “David has always been a supporter of the TDAA, right from day one, for which we are extremely grateful.” Norman offers this simple training to any business interested in ensuring that its staff are aware of the issues that people diagnosed with Dementia have to deal with.  It’s completely free and Norman would be delighted to hear from any businesses interested in talking more about it.

In good news for those dealing with Dementia there is now a free GPS system that will be delivered to hundreds of people shortly, thanks to Ostrich Care, which will keep people safe and well.  In fact, the national call centre for this service will be housed in Torquay which Norman is particularly pleased about.  Norman is sure that this will make a huge difference to families everywhere and urges anyone with Dementia to talk to their local care trust about the system.

For more information on the work of the TDAA visit their website at