New Friendly Bench installed in honour of late Torquay Coastal Champion

Graham’s widow, Ludmila, Torbay Communities’ staff, local councillors, fellow Torbay Conservation Volunteers, Swisco; The Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, Torbay Harbour Authority and local MP Kevin Foster came together to unveil the new bench.

The late Graham Stephenson, who maintained and championed part of the coastal path around Torquay.

A new ‘friendly bench’ has been installed in honour of Graham Stephenson, who maintained and championed part of the coastal path around Torquay.

The bench has been placed at one of Graham’s favourite lookout spots in Beacon Cove, a place that, thanks to his dedication, was placed back on the ‘Agatha Christie Mile’ after years of neglect.

Graham, who died last year, campaigned tirelessly to improve this section of the South West Coastal path. He walked it daily, clearing rubbish and raising thousands of pounds from residents and local businesses to address the neglect, rebuilding walls and fencing, planting flowerbeds, and installing gates and signage to improve the area.

L to R: MP Kevin Foster, Ludmila Stephenson, and Cllr Cordelia Law

The work was carried out over several years by the Torbay Coastal Volunteers (TCV) led by Graham, and it was recognised with the “It’s Your Neighbourhood” award from South West in Bloom, which ran for two years.

Friendly benches are intended as places where people can sit and chat, make new friends, and connect with nature, hopefully reducing loneliness and isolation and are being placed across the Bay.

The bench was dedicated in a brief ceremony organised by Torbay Communities’ Community Builder, Ceri Silk, that brought together Graham’s widow, Ludmila, local councillors, fellow Torbay Conservation Volunteers, Swisco; The Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, Torbay Harbour Authority and local MP Kevin Foster.

 

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