Hundreds of people of all ages turned out for a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration and sit in on Ilfracombe seafront today (Thursday, June 11).

Chanel De'Athe, aged 17, whose initial call on social media was the spark for the Black Live Matter sit in held in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinChanel De'Athe, aged 17, whose initial call on social media was the spark for the Black Live Matter sit in held in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The event in front of Capstone also saw the hillside covered with people, most wearing masks and all observing social distancing, with masks given to those who wanted them.

In common with events around the world following the death of George Floyd during arrest by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, many carried Black Lives Matter signs and posters.

Mr Floyd was pinned to the ground for eight minutes 46 seconds and died as a result. The police officer who knelt on his neck, Derek Chauvin, has since been charged with second degree murder.

The Ilfracombe event was inspired by Chanel De’Athe, aged 17, who posted on the Gossip Around Ilfracombe (No Rules) page to suggest that ‘BLM’ be mowed into the grass on Capstone in support of the movement, similar to the recent ‘Thank You NHS’ message.

the Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in held at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussinthe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in held at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The response was around 1,000 comments, some negative but also many messages of support.

Shocked by the negative comments, local man Buddy Lewis, aged 20, organised the peaceful sit in, working with Chanel and his friends on the day.

Chanel said the support shown on the day had been ‘amazing’. She said: “BLM written on Capstone would have been able to show peoples’ support while they were at home.

“There were a lot of racist comments (on the post) but there were so many more supportive comments from around the community, which is amazing and really shows we stand together.”

Buddy Lewis organised the Ilfracombe Black Lives Matter event after being disgsuted at the comments he saw on social media. Picture: Tony GussinBuddy Lewis organised the Ilfracombe Black Lives Matter event after being disgsuted at the comments he saw on social media. Picture: Tony Gussin

She said she was surprised at the numbers turning out in a pandemic but said people were observing the rules and social distancing.

Buddy was also pleased with the turn out. He said: “A lot of people were saying there’s not a problem in North Devon but if there’s this many people here there’s that many people against racism.

“I am not surprised at the turn out here because I know a lot of people that are aware, but I was surprised by the amount of racism publicly on the community Facebook page.

“There is a problem in Devon and being ignorant and not standing up to it only makes the issue bigger.”

the Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in held at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussinthe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in held at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

the Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in held at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussinthe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in held at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

the Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in held at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussinthe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in held at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

Isla and Seth Butler, aged five and nine, at the Ilfracombe Black Lives Matter sit in. Picture: Tony GussinIsla and Seth Butler, aged five and nine, at the Ilfracombe Black Lives Matter sit in. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

the Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in held at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussinthe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in held at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinThe Black Lives Matter peaceful sit in and nine minutes' silence at Capstone in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin