New Braunton book pays tribute to Gazette’s Jean

09:57 27 August 2014

Jean Woodhams and Avril Stone.

Jean Woodhams and Avril Stone.


Barnstaple author Avril Stone brings to life the history of Devon’s largest village.

The Cross Tree that stood in the centre of the Square in Braunton until it was felled in 1935.The Cross Tree that stood in the centre of the Square in Braunton until it was felled in 1935.

Two years of research has seen the completion of local author Avril Stone’s latest book on a sprawling north Devon community.

Braunton – Devon’s Largest Village is out in October and saw the Barnstaple author spend hundreds of hours recording the memories of Brauntonians and gathering more than 750 photographs.

Subjects range from life in the village during World War Two when the American GIs practised for the D-Day landings, as well as the history of the Great Field and tales of the many people who served the community.

Land Army women who worked at the Sandy Lane Bulb Farm in Braunton during WWII, pictured at a wedding.Land Army women who worked at the Sandy Lane Bulb Farm in Braunton during WWII, pictured at a wedding.

It is Avril’s sixth book and she said they all relied upon the generosity of local people sharing their memories and pictures.

Her Braunton book has been dedicated to her great friend and former Gazette reporter Jean Woodhams, who passed away last month.

“When I was writing my first book on High Bickington 15 years ago I asked Jean for help editing it,” she said.

“From that moment a strong bond of friendship, respect and support developed. Jean was a wordsmith who shared all her knowledge of writing selflessly.

“She would never take any recognition as she insisted she was just ‘the backroom girl’ with her red subbing pen. Jean was involved with the Braunton book until the day she died and so on this last occasion I can dedicate this book to Jean, my friend and mentor.”

Braunton – Devon’s Largest Village is available from the end of October, with copies ordered before October priced at £19.99. Order forms can be obtained from Braunton Museum or Braunton News in Caen Street, or call Halsgrove publishers on 01823 653777.


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