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Torquay chairwoman will step down at end of the season

Torquay United has confirmed club Chairwoman Thea Bristow will step down at the end of the season.

Thea said she had taken the decision because of ill health, and to allow others to take the club forward. She will continue to fund the club until the end of the financial year and will transfer her loans into shares in order to pass them on debt free.

Thea Bristow will step down at the end of the season Credit: ITV News

She became a member of the board in 2010 after her husband Paul, who helped fund the club after winning £15 million on the lottery, passed away at the age of 59.

Thea, who took up the role of chairwoman in 2013, has been trying to sell the club and has brought in former Oxford United chairman Kelvin Thomas to find a buyer.

I have been thinking about this decision for a while and it is best for me and my family that I step down to allow others to take the club forward.

As I am sure people will appreciate, the role of Chairman can be a stressful one and recently it has had an impact on my health. Therefore, now is the right time to say that I think I have done enough.

– Thea Bristow

Torquay are currently talking to a group thinking about buying the club. Torquay United Supporters' Trust are also reportedly interested in owning the club.

The club can also confirm that Director Alan Bristow will be stepping down at the same time.

Finally, I would like to thank the fans, my family and friends for all the kind wishes and support over the years and I look forward to being a noisy part of the Yellow Army for years to come.

– Thea Bristow

Doormen breathalysing clubbers leads to huge drop in crime

Breathalyser Credit: ITV News

A police pilot project where doormen at licensed premises in Torquay town and harbour side breathalysed suspected drunks has seen a 39 per cent drop in violent crime

RU2drunk was piloted during December to see if it helped reduce alcohol fuelled incidents at the town's night spots.

The pilot saw over 800 men and women breathalysed when doormen suspected they were drunk - over a third were then refused entry.

Over a third of people tested were then refused entry Credit: ITV News


Loved ones are the true victims of a smoking habit

Who are the real sufferers from smoking? Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Latest research conducted by Smokefree South West shows:

29% of people had stopped encouraging loved ones to quit because they were scared of starting an argument.

84% of parents said they encourage their child to stop as they don't like to see them harm themselves

67% of people, whose parents smoke, try to encourage them to stop because they're scared of losing them early.

Lung disease sufferer inspires 'Smokefree South West' campaign

Kisrty Vaas from Torquay was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) just over a year a go after one of her lungs collapsed.

She is now constantly short of breath, unable to travel and is supported by her younger daughter.

Kirsty knows this is a result of her smoking habit, but she wants others to learn from her mistakes.

Kirsty now finds it difficult to leave the hosue Credit: ITV News

My smoking illness has caused my whole world to come crashing down. If young people see you smoking then they think it's alright, but they don't understand what it can do to you, so making smoking less visible in public places can only be a good thing.

– Kirtsy Vass

Kirsty has thrown her support behind 'Smokefree South West' which have succeeded in making parts of Bristol smoke free from today.

At the opening there will be a 'take a straw challenge' where people try and breathe through a straw to simulate what it feels like to have a collapsed lung.

It's the same technique Kirsty used to explain her condition to her daughter.

Lung disease sufferer begs people to stop smoking

Smoking has left Kirsty Vass with chronic lung disease Credit: ITV News

A mother from Torquay has made an impassioned plea for people to stop smoking.

A new campaign by Smoke-free South West is calling on people to consider the impact on their relatives. 33-year-old Kirsty Vass has been diagnosed with a chronic lung disease and emphysema as a result of smoking.

Please give up smoking, because it really is not worth it. Don't end up being like this, it is a prison sentence. Get out there, enjoy it with your family, with your children.

– Kirsty Vass

Police say missing teenager could be near Torquay

Ryan Ranson has been missing since last Tuesday Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Police are continuing to search for a teenager from Ivybridge who has been missing since last Tuesday.

Ryan Ranson was last seen after he was dropped off at work at Devonport Dockyard. His family say his disappearance is completely out of character.

Officers believe the 17-year-old may be in the Torquay area after his bank card was used at a cash point machine on The Strand on Wednesday afternoon.

Police are urging people to come forward who have any information about Ryan's whereabouts.

He may have used public transport to get to Torquay from Plymouth, and we are appealing to anyone who has seen him or knows where he is now to get in touch.

– Jonathan Ross, Devon & Cornwall Police


Woman assaulted in Torquay soft play

Police want to speak to these women after soft play assault Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police

A woman has been assaulted while in a soft play area in Torquay.

Police in Devon have released these images of two women they want to speak to after the alleged assaults at The Rainbow Funhouse.

The incidents are believed to have taken place around 1 o'clock back on 22nd November last year.

New direction for Torquay United

Thea Bristow has been subsidising the club over the last three years Credit: Torquay United

More details are expected to be announced this morning about the new team being brought in to help run Torquay United off the pitch.

Kelvin Thomas, who used to be Chairman at Oxford United, will be working closely with Gulls Chairman Thea Bristow. She wants the club to be run in a more sustainable way, after subsidising Torquay for the last three years.

A press conference has been called for this morning.

UK's oldest penguin celebrates another birthday

Pat the penguin is the UK's oldest female African penguin

Meet Pat, a record-holding penguin from Living Coasts zoo in Torquay.

She's the oldest-known female African penguin in the country, and today she's celebrating another milestone, as she turns 37. This also makes her the second-oldest penguin in Europe.

Staff at the zoo are celebrating the occasion with a blue birthday cake, but it's unlikely any non-penguins will want to share a slice; it's made out of sprats.

Pat and her penguin friends had a sprat-cake to enjoy

In her 37 years Pat has had nine chicks, and even has three great-grand penguins living with her at Living Coasts. She also has a toy-boy; her partner Eddie is just 13 years old.

She is a very sweet penguin, quite happy to approach keepers for fish, and once she has decided she has had enough will head back to her burrow holding a sprat in her beak. At the moment she is freshly moulted. She is a very healthy and happy-looking bird, hopefully she has many more years to come!

– Penguin keeper Chris Dunn

It shows that the English Riviera is great for us more mature types!

– Phil Knowling, Living Coasts

Criticism for ceramic poppy seller in Devon

Poppies at the Tower of London Credit: PA

War veterans have slammed a Gumtree seller in Devon who is flogging a Tower of London ceramic poppy for £450 - 20 times its original value.

The 888,246 poppies from the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red project were sold to members of the public for just £25, with proceeds going to charity.

But one of the buyers, from Torquay has now put their poppy on sale for £450.

War veterans have described the sale as "shocking" and "revolting", with the listing on Gumtree making no reference to any charitable donation.

The seller, who is not named on the site, says: "I appreciate there is a very high demand for these and it may seem inappropriate to set the price so high, but I'm sure in years to come it'll be worth a lot more than whatever was paid on here."

I find it absolutely scandalous and revolting. It is hard to believe anyone would be so heartless.

To take advantage of something that is for charity, and designed to remember the war dead, is just shocking.

The field of poppies was remarkable and really touching. So many people I spoke to were greatly moved by the tribute.

It showed the scale of the death toll and touched many people's hearts. I really am astonished by this news.

– Ken Sturdy, Chairman, South Devon's Normandy Veterans' Association

The mind boggles really. I don't understand how someone could sell a charity item for their own gain.

– Tony Rider, Association secretary

Despite the outcry, Gumtree confirmed the sale was not in breach of its terms and policies.

Our position is as long as our users are in legal and physical possession of a poppy, we will not be prohibiting their resale on Gumtree.

This is in accordance with our publicly available terms and policies, and reflects our position for the resale of any other piece of art.

– Spokesman, Gumtre
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