Pennies from heaven! Crowds prove it's still the hottest ticket in town

Hot pennies

Here come the pennies! Honiton High Street is flooded with coins and crowds - Credit: Vernon Whitlock/Honiton & Village News

Warm sunshine helped entice the crowds into Honiton High Street for this year's Hot Pennies celebration.

The spectacular public event, which sees part of the High Street briefly closed to traffic, this year marked the 800th anniversary of the granting of a charter to hold a market in Honiton.

The fun began at 11am at The Beehive with the judging of the children’s pole decorating competition, with the £50 top prize won by eight-year-old Fiona Maybrey.

Then at 11.45 Town Crier  Dave Retter, the linchpin of the event – travelling in a mobility scooter – led a procession to The Holt public house for the hoisting of the Garlanded Pole, the centuries-old cry of ‘The Glove Is Up’, which the crowd joined in with enthusiastically, and the throwing of the first pennies.

The procession continued up the high street, with more pennies thrown from The Volunteer, The Three Tuns and the Old Pannier Market, where the Deputy Mayor and staff from the Bed Expert threw out the last of the coins.

Dave said: “It all went perfectly, the street entertainers came in right at the right time, and when we got to the pannier market when we were tying the pole up the juggler took over for quite a few minutes.

“I couldn’t have asked for it better.”

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There were plenty of children – some in fancy dress – who came along with their families to pick up the pennies, but people of all ages joined in – some using boxes or upturned umbrellas to catch the coins.

Dave said: “One middle-aged gentleman asked me ‘am I allowed to pick the pennies up?’ and I said, ‘yes - get on in there!’”

He said there were too many people involved in the event to thank them all individually, but he wanted to say a special ‘thank you’ to Jason and Nathan Hannay, who carried the Garlanded Pole for him as he travelled between stops in his mobility scooter.

He also wants to thank Henry Brown for collecting the scooter for him, taking it to The Beehive for the start, and returning it after the event.

He expressed gratitude to Cathy McCollum for making a ‘wonderful’ cake, and Wendy Van de Plank for the gallery of historic Hot Pennies photos currently on display at The Beehive.

The road closures were marshalled by Russell Roe and his team from the Devon Freewheelers, and thanks go to them for their work.

Thanks also go to the judges of the children’s pole competition, and the four sponsors: Beviss & Beckingsale Solicitors, Tesco, Honiton Town Council and Devon County Council.

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