Clare Tyson (Chair/Mayor)

I was born in Cumbria though I grew up in the city of Leeds, Yorkshire. At 20 I met Alec my partner and we left for the ‘south’ and adventure living on the road in an old Bedford truck. After many years travelling we found our way to Hatherleigh, by now living a traditional Romany Gypsy lifestyle in a bow top wagon pulled by horses.

Having two sons over that time and coming to know Devon well we chose Hatherleigh to set down roots and use as a place to rest from travelling in winter and access regular schooling. We were welcomed by local people and soon became involved with community life and took any opportunity to be part of the variety of local events joining in with carnival floats, festival stalls, and Walrus dips.

We’ve lived here now for over 20 years. Alec works for a local company and our sons both attended Hatherleigh and Okehampton schools. One is a plumber, the other is a teacher.

I’ve earnt my living in different ways over the years starting out as a trainee mechanic, to farm work, to totter at a recycling centre and onto finding a love for painting. I paint all sorts from small trinkets painted in the barge ware style to sign writing, and of course horse drawn wagons painted in traditional scrollwork.

I was a keen footballer and played for Okehampton and Holsworthy teams. At the time youth football was lacking here so I took a coaching course and taking full advantage of the new community centre facility set up football practice for women and different youth age groups as well as helping out at primary school. My involvement with the football club also led me to serve on Hatherleigh Sportsfield Committee, now over 10 years, I am currently the chairperson.

I also became involved in the committee which brought Island Park its play area. Being part of a group like this was good fun (well most of the time!) as it enabled me to work long term with people and experience the trials and tribulations of bringing a project to fruition. I still continue with its regular inspections and maintenance. More recently I had the opportunity again of working on a group project when asked to join the Skate Park Group, taking a more hands on role certainly had its stresses but I’m so pleased to see how popular the skate park has become. Where were all those youngsters beforehand?!

In my 40’s I returned to ‘school’ which led to a politics and sociology degree at Exeter University. It was this experience that led to my decision to become more involved in local politics and becoming a Town Councillor. I was also motivated to join through my involvement in helping develop the Hatherleigh Community Plan. This has given me a great insight into the area, its people and issues that matter, and I look forward to future challenges waiting ahead.

I’ve recently taken a job with West Devon borough Council (April 2018). This is a role that will increase my knowledge of the way councils operate, help me understand the challenges, and compliment my role as a volunteer town councillor.

Rachel Laycock (Deputy Chair/Mayor)

I was brought up in Exbourne but moved away when I was twenty, lived abroad and around Great Britain. I decided to move back to the South West when I got divorced since I felt this was a safe place to bring up my children, it was a place that I knew well and I was close to my family.

I chose not to move back to Exbourne since I had felt that I needed somewhere slightly larger and since I had fond memories of Hatherleigh from my childhood (Brownies and Guides ) It seemed the best place to move to. I have now lived in Hatherleigh for twelve years, in that time I have been on the Festival Committee and I ran the senior section of the Girl Guides until I had to disband it. My children are now grown up but both return as much as they can since they both have grown to love the people and the town of Hatherleigh and surrounding area.

Before I moved back I had been a councillor in the village where I lived and felt it was a worthwhile position. I chose to join Hatherleigh Town Council because Hatherleigh is going to change over the next few years and I feel strongly about it. We need to have a town that can move forward but keep everything safe that we hold dear, not lose the community spirit that we have but give future generations something that they can be thankful of. I hope as a Town Councillor I will be able to help with future plans and strategies that the people of Hatherleigh will be grateful for.

Deb Laing-Trengove   (ex- Chair/Mayor 2003 – 2004, 2008)

I was born in Hatherleigh and have lived here for most of my life. I moved to London in my late teens-early twenties where I worked for a recording studio, then a lighting company before returning to college to take A-levels at Kilburn Polytechnic. After returning to Hatherleigh I married and had my daughter and later returned to education to study for a degree in Archaeology at Exeter University. After graduating I worked with my sister and brother in law at the Paper Shop in Market Street, then joined an archaeological company, where I specialized in the recording of historic buildings. Since 2014 I have been self employed as a Historic Building Consultant.

I first joined the council in 2001; holding the office of mayor in 2003 and 2008, but left after the death of my mother in 2009. Prior to that I had sat on the Steering Committee for the Hatherleigh Area Project, where I helped to set up the Youth Group. I was on the Festival Committee for 11 enjoyable years, during that time holding the positions of Secretary or Chair.

I am firmly rooted here and since the death of my father, Tim Laing, in 1989 I have sat on the  Moor Management Committee, as hereditary owner of the moor. My family has owned the moor since 1791, as Lords of the Manor, and since the 1950s the land and finances have been managed by a committee of Potboilers, which is now a major local funding body for local projects.

I am also involved with or a member of a range of Hatherleigh groups and clubs including Free Range Art, the History Society, Hatherleigh Art Group, the Badminton Club and the Film Club. I enjoy gardening and have an allotment, I am at present the Town Council representative for the Allotment Association.

Kay Walters

I was born in Bristol but spent most of my adult life in London. I moved initially to do Nurse Training at Kings College. After qualifying, I trained in Intensive Care and worked at Westminster Hospital before finally deciding I loved Paediatrics best and I did further studies at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

I stayed at Great Ormond Street and became the Senior Sister in charge of the Intensive Care Unit. I loved my job and as a bonus, I met my husband Sam there. He was a Consultant Paediatrician now retired.

We have lived and worked in the “third world” in Papua New Guinea, which was a great experience. We moved to Buckinghamshire to bring up our 4 children.

We decided to move to Devon on retirement when we didn’t need to be within commuting distance of London. We found Hatherleigh completely by accident but fell in love with it and the Old Vicarage. We have been made to feel so welcome by everyone.

I have been a school Governor and sat on many committees during my Hospital life but am completely new to being a Town Councillor so have a lot to learn.

Donna Lewis

I was brought up in Exeter and then in 2010 moved to Monkokehampton with my husband and 2 children. After eight years of living there, I then moved into Hatherleigh where I now live with my seven children.

During my time here I have been on a variety of committees. Currently I am chair of the Primary School PTFA, chair of the Youth Football Club. I am also on the Carnival Committee, part of the Hatherleigh Players and editor of the Parish Pump.

I joined the town council a couple of years ago to help with the project of redeveloping the under 5’s toddler park at the Community Centre. I and another parent managed to raise the funds to remove and replace the play equipment, the surrounding fencing and more recently the surfacing around the equipment to aid drainage.

We are very proud of how the project has turned out and can now be enjoyed by many children. I hope that as a town councillor I can help with other projects around the town which will hopefully benefit Hatherleigh.  

Paul Bolland

Relatively new to Hatherleigh, I was born and raised in the Home Counties, my ‘formative years’ being largely spent in and around North West London.

Amongst my various occupations, I’ve worked as a sales assistant in a record shop, as a radio operator for the Automobile Association, as a supervisor at a milk distribution depot, and as a supervisor for London Underground. Thankfully, not all at the same time. 

The latter part of this last role saw me in charge of the day to day running of a Central London station on the oldest section of underground railway in the world. Keeping this historic environment looked after and safe for the public could be somewhat challenging at times, but a round of voluntary severance gave me the chance to leave all that behind me.

Thus we (my partner is a Biomedical Scientist) took early retirement and moved to Hatherleigh, which we’d been introduced to around six years previously by friends who live here. This was back in late 2018, and during the intervening time I’ve enjoyed the quiet and darkness that the nights here bring, as well as the changing light on the hills we can see from our windows.

This is all very different from life in North West London, as you’ll imagine, but we’ve been made to feel very welcome. I hope I can give something positive back to the town, and help in some way to preserve the elements of the past and present which need preserving, while also looking to the future.

Once out of lockdown we hope to visit our kids and grandkids (all quite a way up country), revisit Lundy where we’ve been many times, and get in some birdwatching, walking, writing and photography, as well as finding places in Devon and beyond that we haven’t yet explored.

I fear I may now be told old to compete if Frisbee / Scrabble / Backgammon becomes a triathlon event at the Olympics, but remain hopeful. I also hope to get to play at the local open mic evenings again- if they’ll have me back!

Callum Entwistle

Hello, I’m Callum. Born in Exeter, I was then brought up in Hatherleigh and attended the primary school here before going on to Okehampton College where I latterly studied A-Levels in English Language, Fine Art Photography and Business studies. My family have been well-known members of the community here since the mid 1970s, when my grandparents moved from Lancashire and began selling local produce in their shop (now One Market Street Café). 

During my adult life I have worked in various roles, but spent the early part of my career working for an Insurance Broker in Okehampton. I now work for the most part in Iddesleigh, but in my spare time am often found getting involved with my partner’s Digital Marketing Consultancy business, working behind the scenes to help promote what the West Country has to offer.

After a short spell living in nearby Winkleigh, my partner Richard and I decided to sell up and re-root ourselves back here in Hatherleigh. As of August 2020 we have been living in H Town and renovating our current home with Miniature Dachshund, Digby in toe.

As a result of growing up here and having lived in Hatherleigh for most of my adult life too, I have grown to love its quirks and traditions. I felt it the right time to join our Town Council, to give something back, to help see Hatherleigh progress and to help maintain the parts of it which make it such a wonderful place to live. 

Ellie Holland

I was born in Okehampton, and have lived most of my life living in Hatherleigh. I am firmly rooted here and live on the moor in a small cottage that I have renovated.

I studied A levels at Okehampton college and after I left worked in The Bridge Inn where I obtained an NVQ. When I wasn’t working in the pub I could be found labouring with a roofing thatcher, or working in the butchers shop as well as a few other little jobs.

After a few years I decided to follow my one of my dreams to become a gardener, enrolling at Bicton college to study the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) qualification in horticulture at level 2. After spending a couple of years working as a gardener at Easterbrook Farm in Exbourne I decided to branch out and set up my own gardening business. This is when I found my passion. I have gone on to study the RHS level 3 qualification in horticulture and continue to work in private gardens in and around Hatherleigh.

Having gained this experience, in 2018 I started up The Garden Shop in Hatherleigh with my mother, we started small and thanks to the support of the community have been able to grow in to a successful small business. Our aim has always been to encourage others to get out in the garden and connect to nature; something Hatherleigh certainly isn’t in short supply of.

I have become a member of the town council in the hope that I can play a small part in maintaining and improving an already wonderful community that I have been lucky enough to be a part of.

Mark Reddaway –  Info to be added soon


Helen Orbidans –  Info to be added soon


Register of Interests List

Clare Tyson
Rachel Laycock
Deb Laing-Trengove
Kay Walters
Donna Lewis
Ellie Holland
Helen Orbidans
Callum Entwistle
Paul Bolland
Mark Reddaway

Previous serving Chair/Mayors

Post elected in May of each year

Andy Gilbert (2014 – 2016)

Graham Alford (2010 – 2014)

Malcolm Jacobs (2008 – 2010)

Deb Laing-Trengove (2007 – 2008)

Gary Bush (2005 – 2007)

Denise Herrod-Taylor (2004 – 2005)

Deb Laing-Trengove (2003 – 2004)

Dennis Bater (2000 – 2003)

Denise Herrod-Taylor (1999 – 2000)

R Edwards (1998 – 1999)

Malcolm G Winser (1997 – 1998)

Dennis Bater (1995 – 1997)

Philip G Pyle (1994 – 1995)

Patricia Vick (1993 – 1994)

Olive Reynolds (1992 – 1993)

B. Bottoms (1991 – 1992)

Dennis Bater (1990 – 1991)

W. Reynolds (1989 – 1990)

Patricia Vick (1987 – 1989)

D. Guard (1986 – 1987)