Tess Walker is a fan of the town she lives in. She has developed as a local researcher of Newton Abbot's buildings and family histories since volunteering for Newton Abbot Town and Great Western Railway Museum in 2009. Beginning as someone who would field a query from Australia about the old family home, and going on to develop 40 'micro-histories' about Newton Abbot families in the First World War, she can research anything from shoe horns to shop fronts. Her articles for the Highweek Herald, entitled Still in Highweek, on the lives of people buried in Highweek churchyard, proved popular, but it was the research and photographs of Newton Abbot's architecture used in the Inside Out exhibition at the Museum which started her Noticing Newton Abbot.
Tess and Ewan's research on the town's buildings, people and events led them to realise it really was worth Noticing Newton Abbot …
Ewan is a versatile artist living and working in Newton Abbot. Although hailing from Oxfordshire, his family moved to Devon when he was three and put down roots in Teignmouth. Drawing was always a favourite pastime and he pursued art throughout his school years. Despite studying German at the University of St. Andrews, Ewan was still able to put his enthusiasm for art to good use; he designed publicity material for society events and painted backdrops for numerous theatre productions. Fast-forward to 2005 and oil painting becomes his medium of choice, as well as drawing. He is mainly a landscape painter but likes to be involved in a wide range of projects rather than focus on one thing. His main claim to fame was designing the 2014 Glastonbury Festival bag. He created the pub sign and wall art at the Old Church House Inn, Torbryan, was one of the sand-raking team at Saunton Sands for Danny Boyle's 2018 Pages of the Sea project and was an artist in residence at Hannah's at Seale Hayne for a year.
He also enjoys the teaching side of art, having provided demonstrations and workshops for local art groups, taught drawing and painting to adult learners and led workshops in schools. It was through these activities that he was commissioned by Tess Walker to create drawings for her book Noticing Newton Abbot. This exciting project enabled Ewan to combine his aptitude for architectural drawing with his love of the local area. Drawings from this book were included in Ewan’s successful submission portfolio for membership of The Society of Architectural Illustrators in August 2020.
When not drawing or painting, Ewan's main interest is running, either on the track, around the lanes and pathways or taking part in and volunteering at Parkrun and other organised events.
After an earlier career as a diplomat, Michael went into publishing, initially in marketing and subsequently in various editorial roles. During this time he discovered that his rather pedantic interest in the minutiae of style and grammar could be turned to good use, and started working freelance as a copy editor and proofreader.
This same interest led to a further career as a writer. But his first love remains editing and proofreading. He has worked on novels and both general-interest and specialist non-fiction books for a wide range of publishers. As he says, 'The main thread that runs through almost everything I've done is my love of words. I enjoy working with them, manipulating them, and ensuring that they are used correctly – often to the irritation of friends and family!'
Having retired after 40 years of teaching, 26 of which were spent as Head of Newton Abbot Sixth Form, Katy has been producing workbooks for students of health and Social Care. She has also acted as voluntary Education Officer for Newton Abbot Museum, visiting local schools, liaising with teachers, giving talks and preparing material for them to use.
Having lived in Newton Abbot for over 40 years, she has a keen interest in local history, and spent a number of years recording stories and reminiscences told by local people for the museum. For the last few years, she has volunteered and chaired sessions at the Ways With Words literary festival at Dartington.
Her involvement with the Noticing Newton Abbot project has been to gather the team together, arrange meetings and timelines as well as linking with local and national organisations and with local schools.
Jeff Cooper started his career as a graphic designer and was formerly the Art Director of Designer magazine and Archant Life. He is currently the owner Managing Director and Art Director of the contract publishing company We Make Magazines based in Devon. The company is expert at website and print design, content creation and digital marketing with decades of experience as publishers of leading publications including Taste Buds, Devon Home and Taste Devon.