These are the people of Devon and these are their stories…


“How would you like to read a life story about your neighbour or perhaps that lady on the bus, or your postie …The People of Devon Project; take a look at it!”
Pippa Quelch, BBC Radio Devon

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“Water Mountains, Love and Pain”

“It was a huge storm—we haven’t had one like it since I don’t think. A few friends and I had rented a house in Ireland so we could chase big swells. We’d been there for three months at this point, but the winter had been terrible and most of them had decided to travel back to England. I chose to stay. It was the month … Continue reading “Water Mountains, Love and Pain”

“No Work…In Progress”

“There was an eerie atmosphere in the office. A lot of people were being made redundant. That day, one of my colleagues from the engineering department got called into a ‘special’ meeting, so we anxiously waited for him to return. He walked back through the office door and before he said anything, I could tell that he had kept his job. Then another colleague, a good … Continue reading “No Work…In Progress”

“A Flash of Life”

“I was born with a brain condition, but I didn’t know I had it. In 2016, as I was photographing a wedding, I got a devastating headache, collapsed, and my life changed forever. “As a farmer’s daughter, originally, I wanted to rear chickens. When I was eight years old, I started my own egg business. I would go to school carrying a wicker basket full … Continue reading “A Flash of Life”

“The Final Act”

“I hadn’t done any acting since A level drama, but I’d heard about the open auditions for the play Quills through a friend. I arrived out of breath at the Globe in Topsham – having first gone to the Globe in Exeter I had to race across town to get where I was supposed to be. To my surprise I got the part of the tortured priest, the Abbe de Coulmier. Continue reading “The Final Act”

“Rock and Netty”

“During a weekend in July, the majority of my friends went to the Phoenix Festival, but the tickets were too expensive, so I decided to go to a party on Appledore cliffs. Like every self-respecting 19-year-old I wanted to be a rock star. I’d started working on a sound crew—I was carrying gear and twiddling knobs and I was getting quite good. I kept thinking; … Continue reading “Rock and Netty”

“The Big Leap”

“I sat on my bed in a cramped flat in the centre of London and googled ‘Shanghai’. I browsed through pictures of skyscrapers and winding tree-lined streets with washing blowing in the sunshine. The juxtaposition amazed me, and I didn’t know which version of the city was the real one. Now I know… it’s both. “Moving abroad had never been part of my plan. But … Continue reading “The Big Leap”

“My Father and I”

“On our 21st birthday my twin sister organised a party. I had a few drinks with some friends, so I ended up arriving late. The party came to a pause and my father stood up to give a speech. He said, ‘This is my beautiful daughter! I’m so proud of her…’ He then turned and pointed at me, ‘…and believe it or not this is … Continue reading “My Father and I”

“Love and a Farm”

“We had a long-distance relationship for four and a half years. My family and I used to stay in a holiday cottage on a farm in Devon. Then one summer when I was 16 the farmer’s son asked for my number. When we later came down to celebrate my father’s 50th birthday, James and I became closer and I decided to give long distance a … Continue reading “Love and a Farm”

“Dancing Back to Me”

“I didn’t know that missing home could be so painful. I was eighteen when I moved to London. I had a boyfriend and friends there, but my first year at the London Contemporary Dance School was a struggle. I’d been dancing my whole life. It was what I dreamt of doing and trained so hard for, but the competitive element was intense. I found that … Continue reading “Dancing Back to Me”

“In Search of a Way”

“I was in Germany and I’d just finished my PhD. Having spent a year in Costa Rica, I’d become a specialist in coral reef ecology. Although there isn’t much money in marine biology research, and very few advertised positions, it was what I really wanted to do. “I’d just met Gernot, so I didn’t feel like moving abroad again right away, so I decided to … Continue reading “In Search of a Way”

“Dark Clouds of Music”

“At 16 all I wanted to do was get on a bus and leave. I was badly bullied. I wanted to quit music school. I felt helpless. I wanted to be famous. Any famous; just so they’d leave me alone.” Kat, a prodigious violinist in a popular indie-folk band, a professional internet harmful content manager, and a mother, sits back in her chair, “I wanted … Continue reading “Dark Clouds of Music”

“Safe Haven”

We travelled that same night. Nothing with us. We’d been living in a couple of different places, but at this last one the local Mafia wanted the tiny room we had. It was a kitchen, a toilet and a bedroom in one—you couldn’t move. They took me outside. ‘We’ll just kill you. No one cares,’ they kept telling me as they beat me. Then they gave me two options: stay and die or leave. I grabbed my wife and daughter Continue reading “Safe Haven”

“An Unexpected Arrival”

“The lockdown had started. Lou was very close. During the sweep the midwife had said that the baby would probably come during the weekend. We went home and had a pretty normal evening. I did a bit of gardening, had tea and went to bed. I’m not going to lie, I was a bit worried about not being able to attend the delivery because of … Continue reading “An Unexpected Arrival”

“Changing the Narrative”

“Everyone writes and everyone reads out loud. It works very democratically. I’d done work in prison’s before, when I used to live in London,” says Pippa as if this were as commonplace as a walk on Dartmoor. “No, I’ve never been scared. I´m a semi-retired teacher and you find the same dynamics in any sort of classroom setting—we´re all human. There is always a funny … Continue reading “Changing the Narrative”

“The Precipice of Change”

“The phone rang at around 1AM. Apparently the hospital had tried me once —they only ring you twice and then move on to the next person. I’d been on the transplant list for three years at that point. It was the night before I was supposed to start dialysis. I had all the tubes in and everything. Long story short, I contracted a rare disease on a farm when I was 14. By the time I was 22 Continue reading “The Precipice of Change”

“The Weight of Dreams”

“I was doing a lot of drugs. A lot of coke. My girlfriend of five years had just broken up with me. I had a great job managing one of the best hair salons in London, but I was lost. Some of my best friends were Muslim, and they were just so kind and understanding that I got curious and converted. They didn’t judge me, … Continue reading “The Weight of Dreams”

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