Thursday, 30 January 2014

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Audrey Vivian


RETIRED English teacher Audrey Vivian moved to Lyme Regis from Somerset with her husband, the Reverend Keith Vivian, a former headmaster, in the 1980s, having previously visited the town regularly for holidays. The couple immediately threw themselves into community life and Audrey has since been involved with a huge number of local organisations, most notably as a former chairman of the governors of St Michael’s Primary School and member of the Parochial Church Council. Her latest role is chairman of the Lyme Regis & District Food Bank. Audrey and Keith have been married for more than 60 years and have two children – a son who is a lawyer and a daughter who is a doctor – and five grandchildren.

WHY did you move to Lyme Regis?
We bought a flat in Broad Street and came here on holidays. We got to know a lot of people, both locals and visitors, through having a beach hut on the seafront. Our children came down for holidays, it was the best beach nearby and the family liked it.  When Keith retired, we bought our house is Sidmouth Road.

TELL us about the Lyme Regis and District Food Bank?
The food bank was set up last year by LymeForward as an emergency provider of food for people in difficulties of all ages and in all different kinds of circumstances. We’re very lucky to have it under the umbrella of LymeForward because it means we already have a base, which is not something every organisation has. We also have lots of willing volunteers and varying expertise which we can use in the food bank. It is well supported by the town council, as well as the medical centre, schools and churches, which can refer people to the bank. We are trying to pull all the relevant services together to do something really, really good. I think we’re starting to get rid of some of the misconceptions about it – it’s not just about people on benefits but it can help people in all kinds of situations, including those who have just returned from hospital and have no way of going food shopping. I think the need for food parcels is getting greater, but that may just be because they didn’t know about us before. We are always looking for volunteers and hope to offer simple cookery lessons in the future to make sure people have the knowledge needed to cook for themselves.

WHAT do you like about Lyme Regis?
That an ordinary person like myself is able to make a difference. It’s not a closed shop, you can do the things you like because there’s so much going on. You can make a difference in Lyme – we have always supported everything and our children have to.

WHAT do you think is missing from the town?
It’s very difficult to shop cheaply in Lyme. You have to be able to get out of Lyme to get to the big supermarkets and sometimes there is a lack of public transport – that’s why it’s important for our bus services to continue.

WHAT local organisations are you a member of?
As well as the governors of St Michael’s and the Parochial Church Council, the main thing I support is Action Medical Research for Children. I attend a book club, ladies lunch club, Keith is a member of Rotary and I was on the Inner Wheel when we had one, I was a trustee of the Town Mill for 13 years, I’m a member of the Lyme Regis Society, Lyme Regis Development Trust and the U3A, and I volunteer in the Jubilee Pavilion.

DURING you work with varying organisations, what achievements are you most proud of?
The two things I am most proud of in Lyme is my work with Lyme Regis Development Trust to set up a SureStart children’s centre in King’s Way and being nominated as an Honoured Citizen as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations – I was really touched by that.

To volunteer with the Lyme Regis and District Food Bank or 
for more information contact LymeForward on 01297 444387

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