Small Steps in the right direction…

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I asked for the issue of name badges to be discussed at the last Honiton Town Council meeting on Monday 11th March 2013. Councillor’s badges have the names of the councillor on them (Eg Cllr F. Jones) and the female councillors have their marital status added to theirs so mine says Cllr Mrs S. Pavey. I think this is an outdated, old fashioned and incredibly sexist practice, and I’m glad to say that after a very short discussion, the council agreed to offer female councillors the option to change their badges and as new female councillors join the council, this practice to be dropped and male and female badges are to be exactly the same ie Cllr M Smith regardless of whether the councillor is male or female. I also requested that we ask the company we get the badges from whether our current badges could be recycled.

I’m pleased that Honiton Town Council voted to remove gender specific titles on our name badges. Whether a female councillor is married or not has no bearing on her position as a councillor.  This is a small step in the right direction. Bigger steps include seeing equal representation on the council. The current situation sees just six female councillors outnumbered by twelve men and I’m often attending meetings where I’m the only female councillor.

Don’t forget you can add your comments too, I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Sidmouth's Annie Leigh Browne founded the Women’s Local Government Society who lobbied for the 1907 “Qualification of Women” Act. This clarified women (ratepayers) were able to be elected to Borough and County Councils.
Did you know? Sidmouth's Annie Leigh Browne founded the Women’s Local Government Society who lobbied for the 1907 “Qualification of Women” Act. This clarified women (ratepayers) were able to be elected to Borough and County Councils.

Supporting people with brain injuries in Honiton

Honiton Town Councillor Sharon Pavey (4th from right) with staff, volunteers and clients of Headway in Honiton
Honiton Town Councillor Sharon Pavey (4th from right) with staff, volunteers and clients of Headway in Honiton
Honiton Town Councillor Sharon Pavey visited the Headway Devon centre on Friday. The charity which has been running in Honiton for almost 18 years runs a group supporting 14 people at the St Michael’s Day Centre every Friday. Here people with brain injuries are able to come together to meet others who have had similar experiences and take part in activities to help them relearn lost skills and develop new ones. Headway also provides vital respite opportunities for carers.

Brain injury has many causes, from head injury to stroke, and brain tumour to meningitis. It can happen completely out of the blue and can leave people facing a range of complex and lifelong disabilities. Every brain injury is different, but many of the people that use Headway in Honiton experience physical, emotional and learning difficulties. Sharon said “I first heard of Headway after a family member had a stroke last year and Headway supported their recovery. I then chatted with Headway fundraiser Holly Keatings on twitter and asked if I could pop by one day for a visit. As a councillor representing Honiton Town Council, I do think it is very important to find out more about charities like Headway that work with local people who really need their support.”

“It was particularly interesting to hear from manager Natalie about the restorative justice programme Headway run for young offenders. The offenders come to Headway to talk to people who are dealing with the long term issues associated with being assaulted and receiving a head injury.”

Holly Keatings added We are very grateful to Sharon for coming along today and helping us to raise awareness about brain injury and the support that is available for people locally. Unfortunately there is very little public understanding about brain injury and the long-term effects that it can have, which means many people with brain injuries struggle with their difficulties for months or even years before getting in touch with Headway Devon. We look forward to reaching even more of the people who need us so if you or someone you care about has had a brain injury just call us on 01392 211822 or email
Read more about Headway here
Join Headway Devon on Facebook here
Follow Headway Devon on twitter @HeadwayDevon

One year on as a vegan

It’s not far off one year since I went from vegetarian to vegan (read my post from a year ago here) and I’ve stuck at it !! After 27 years as a veggie, I took a month long vegan pledge in March 2012 with the help of Exeter Friends for Animals (EFFA). The annual pledge month is coming up again in March so let me know if you’re interested in trying it by adding a comment at the end or simply click on the image below to go directly to the EFFA page.


So why did I make the change to veganism? Well – day old male chicks being dropped live into mincing machines and unwanted male calves being shot shortly after birth so I can eat eggs and drink milk was a fairly big factor. I’ve done what I can as a veggie for almost three decades but I couldn’t escape the deeper consequences of the ovo lacto vegetarian foods I was eating any longer really. Almost a year on – my conscience is a lot lighter although I’m still wrangling with things like wearing wool and eating honey.

One of my reasons for trying a healthier vegan lifestyle was to lose weight and I have lost just over a stone so far which I’m really pleased with. One not so good consequence is having low Ferritin levels – although this could have been the case for years as a veggie, it’s only this year they were checked as part of a blood test after I had a virus. The amount of ferritin stored reflects the amount of iron stored and although I’m not anaemic, I am watching my iron levels a bit more closely and trying to eat more iron rich foods. I’m also taking a multi vitamin with iron.

HERBIES PICAfter an adjustment period at the beginning, trying to find the nicest milk alternative and trying vegan cheeses etc I do find that my diet fits in pretty well with the rest of the vegetarian family meals. The trickiest part is eating out as most places can manage a veggie meal but find vegans rather challenging. It is always worth asking though as I did have the most amazing salad made for me at Toast recently when I told them I’d like lunch but there was nothing vegan on their menu. This didn’t work so well with Otter Nurseries who have an enormous menu but couldn’t offer anything more than chips for a vegan! They’ve assured me there will be options next time I go for lunch but I’m not sure I want to risk it. I tend to stick to places I know do vegan food  (and soya milk hot drinks) now like Boston Tea Party (Honiton & Exeter), Toast in Honiton, Honiton Wine Bar (lovely hummous & bread), Herbies and The Plant Cafe in Exeter. I also tried Pea Green Boat in Sidmouth. So…..don’t forget to get in touch if you fancy giving the vegan pledge month a try & if you don’t live near Exeter, you can do it via the PETA website – see


New Street Wall Makeover

From left - Christine, Tina, me, Elena & little Louisa
From left - Christine, Tina, me, Elena & little Louisa

I’ve been out this morning with other members of Transition Town Honiton giving the wall on New Street a much needed makeover! We were given permission from East Devon District Council who own the wall to tidy it up and plant herbs and other edible plants. It took a team of 5 of us about 2 hours to do one section, weeding, adding compost and planting strawberries, rosemary and sage.

Lots of people stopped to comment and say what a great job we were doing, which was nice as it was chilly to start with. It soon warmed up with the sun above us as we worked and chatted. There are more sections of the wall for us to work on on another date. Please get in touch if you would like to help, could donate some herbs or funds for us to buy more compost and plants. We are a local community group – read more about us on the website

The plants are there for the community – for you to pick as you pass by or sit at the bus stop. Add to your soups, stews, sauces etc! The strawberries should be a great attraction next summer.

My Vegan Pledge


I’ve taken a vegan pledge this March with the guys from EFFA – Exeter Friends for Animals. I’ve been vegetarian for about 27 years now and I have had a lot of vegan friends over the years, and often wondered what it would be like to live a vegan lifestyle. I was asked to do this month long pledge by Wendy at EFFA and I said yes, I’d give it a try. I’m now a third of a way through my month and it has not been an easy start I must admit. You’d think the transition from veggie to vegan would be fairly painless but I’ve found it…interesting, a learning curve, a new experience – but hey – life would be boring otherwise wouldn’t it !!

Apparently between 1% of UK households contain a vegan whereas 4-12% of households have a vegetarian person living there. Most vegans have lower BMI’s, lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Vegans eat less calories, less confectionary, less fat and less cakes – one of my reasons to give veganism a try and I’ll give you the results at the the end of the month (says she who has just made a fabulous vegan chocolate cake – pictured below)


So what am I finding difficult so far – not being able to have a cup of tea or coffee at a friend or relatives house, or at most cafe’s or even at the town council where I spend many an evening! I had some issues with curdling coffee at the start of the month but now I’m only using Alpro soya and microwaving a cup of half water/half soya milk then adding coffee seems to do the trick. I’m drinking other things now – more water and fruit juices which can’t be bad.


I miss cheese – I realised I must usually eat some form of cheese most days even if it is sprinkled on top of pasta bolognaise. I can’t bear the thought of not having a lasagne or cauliflower cheese again, two of my favourite things. Or cottage cheese and a baked potato, a cheese sandwich, cheese on toast or creamy goats cheese and cranberry sauce! Apparently there are vegan cheeses but they look so strange I’ve not tried them yet. I also love Stilton and Brie so these things are hard to contemplate not having ever again…but it is only a month, isn’t it…

So apart from possibly losing weight (due to not being such a cheese monster) I am doing this to think a bit more about how being veggie does still involve the killing of animals in order to produce what I’m eating. I’m not really into eggs much these days but it’s amazing how many things contain eggs – eg Quorn which our family eats a lot of. But I know that for every female chick born – male chicks are being killed at a day old every day….then of course how are those female chickens housed and when are they killed for being too old to lay?

Conveyor belts of male chicks on their way to the gas chamber or a giant shredding machine
Conveyor belts of male chicks on their way to the gas chamber or a giant shredding machine

As for milk – I sometimes see poorly cared for herds of cows literally staggering from their fields to the milking parlour, staggering along pot-holed country lanes laden with udders of milk which are there for the calves which were taken from them and…fattened for meat then killed at a young age. Of course not all cows are kept in poor conditions, some live lives of Riley on delightful organic farms but at the end of the day this is farming – and these creatures are killed when the farmer decides their time is up. THE reason I became a vegetarian is because I do not believe that humans have any right whatsoever to kill animals, for any reason*

Both my children are vegetarian and I tell my 10 year old daughter that it is part of evolution. We’ve worked out, like slavery or the death penalty or other brutal acts of violence carried out by humans, that killing animals is quite simply wrong. What gives us the right to murder a living creature and then eat it or wear it or rub it on our skin in a cream or potion? Let’s just hope the rest of the human race realise soon that they have no right to stop a beating heart and no right or need to eat flesh. And as far as religion goes – a god who tells people (in the bible) “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you” is no god I believe in.


* I do believe in euthanasia if an animal (or a person) is in extreme pain however and in my younger days working as a vet nurse, I have helped suffering animals to die a calm, dignified death. I also helped many animals to live too! People should have the right to euthanasia as well – but that’s another blog….

Sleeping on the streets

When you are all tucked up in bed nice & cosy next Wednesday evening (29th Feb), think of me! I will be sleeping on the streets in Honiton overnight – for Honiton Food bank. The food bank is a local store of non-perishable food operated by volunteers from churches in and around Honiton. It is made available to those who are in ‘food crisis’ – they have no food and no money with which to buy food.


I started raising funds yesterday and have over £60 so far, thanks to some very kind people. Let’s get a couple of hundred at least. The staff from the Midweek Herald are doing it too so between us, we have the potential to raise an awful lot and help all those people here in our town who struggle to feed themselves and their families, especially in this challenging economic climate. In the five weeks since it opened, the food bank has fed 25 local families and it needs more funds to re-stock and keep going. Please spare a little money to help others – you can add a comment on here or on my facebook page pledging an amount.


South West Green Party Cookbook

I’m extremely pleased to be able to announce that after many months of preparation – the South West Green Party cookbook is now available! Hot off the press from the lovely people at Axminster Printing, our book features over 60 vegetarian and vegan recipes contributed by Green Party members in the region.

The front & back cover of the book is one photo I took at the recent Embercombe apple day
The front & back cover of the book is one photo I took at the recent Embercombe apple day

You should be able to order the  book from your local Green Party here in the South West. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to find your nearest group

Or contact the South West Green Party – see

As lovely as it is the turks turban squash is not included with the cookbook!
As lovely as it is the turks turban squash is not included with the cookbook!

Printed on 100% recycled paper, there are wonderful homemade soups, stews, salads, starters, main courses, cakes, biscuits, breads and more! And Caroline Lucas has contributed her delicious Christmas cake. It’s a great gift idea.


A huge thank you to Green Party member Cherry Puddicombe who did all the design work for free! Check out Cherry’s website The book includes a chapter on ‘Green Eateries’ – a useful list of veggie and vegan restaurants and cafe’s in the South West.

There are photos of Green Party members throughout the book
There are some friendly familiar faces dotted throughout the book


Stop Stoning in Iran

stoning-300x182Stoning is designed to cause maximum suffering. It generally takes between 20 minutes and two agonising hours to kill someone. Those sentenced to death are more likely to be poor and marginalised, particularly women.

And as you read this, 14 people in Iran are at risk of this inhumane death.

Stoning is mandatory under Iranian law for men and women convicted of ‘adultery while married’. The Penal Code explains in chilling detail how to carry out the punishment, from how deeply to bury the victim in the ground to the size of the stones to use: not so large as to kill too quickly, not so small as to cause too little hurt. The practice of stoning as punishment for adultery continues in Iran, despite a government-issued moratorium on the practice in 2002, and a recommendation in 2009 by the Legal and Judicial affairs Committee to remove stoning from the Iranian Penal Code.

Now is a crucial opportunity to stop the barbaric practice of stoning for adultery, as the Iranian authorities are currently reviewing the country’s Penal Code – including whether execution by stoning should be retained in the Code.

Click here to email Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran – asking for stoning to be stopped TODAY!