Sons remember Exmoor legend at Light Up a Life

Ivan Huxtable and Ali Hunt from the North Devon Hospice

Ivan Huxtable and Ali Hunt from the North Devon Hospice - Credit: NDH

There are not many Exmoor folk who didn’t know Ivan Huxtable, the larger-than-life character who spent a lifetime on the moor. 

He was famous for his fundraising exploits, raising hundreds of thousands for charities - most notably North Devon Hospice - through his annual Exmoor Ramble event. 

Sadly, Ivan and his family needed the support of the hospice themselves this year, as he suffered from terminal cancer and ultimately passed away in the summer.

Brian Huxtable with his family

Brian Huxtable with his family - Credit: NDH

Ivan’s sons, Brian and Paul Huxtable, will be spending their first Christmas without their dad - ‘Pops’ as he was affectionately known. But they will be remembering him through the hospice’s annual Light Up a Life appeal. 

Light Up a Life is a chance for local people to remember those they love in the run-up to Christmas.  

Organised jointly by North Devon Hospice and Children’s Hospice South West, people can make a donation to the appeal in memory of someone who is no longer with us. There are also a series of services in December for people to attend and light a candle for those they miss. 

After Ivan Huxtable spent his final days on North Devon Hospice’s bedded unit, his son Brian said: “I can now see why raising money for the hospice was so important to Pops. It is an incredible place. All of us were looked after and we were able to spend precious time together, knowing he wasn’t in pain.” 

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Brian added: “This Christmas will be difficult for all of us, because it’ll be the first one without Pops, and he was such a big personality and figurehead in our family. I think Light Up a Life is a brilliant way to honour the memory of people who we wish could be with us at Christmas time. It makes you realise that you’re not alone in missing someone at this time of year, and that it’s OK to miss the people we love. 

Ivan walking on Exmoor

Ivan walking on Exmoor - Credit: NDH

“I would encourage everyone to go along to one of the services, or if you can’t do that, please go online and make a donation in memory of your loved ones. It’s a lovely thing to do, and the funds raised will help North Devon Hospice care for more people in the way they looked after Pops, which was just amazing.” 

To donate online, please visit The Light Up a Life services will take place at: 

  • Bideford, The Pannier Market, Wednesday 8 December at 6.30pm 
  • Torrington, St. Michael and All Angels, Thursday 9 December at 6.30pm 
  • Fremington, Methodist Church, Thursday 9 December 6.30pm 
  • Woolsery, All Hallows' Church, Thursday 9 December at 6.30pm 
  • Ilfracombe, Pip and Jims Church, Thursday 9 December at 6.30pm 
  • Barnstaple, Grosvenor Church, Friday 10 December at 6.30pm 

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