Museum curator makes history as Seaton’s first freeman

Ted Gosling receives unprecedented honour to recognise more than 70 years of community work

AUTHOR and historian Ted Gosling became Seaton’s first town Freeman at a packed ceremony on Friday.

The honour was bestowed upon him by the town council to reflect more than 70 years of dedicated work in the community.

Tributes were led by mayor Peter Burrows who outlined Mr Gosling’s lifelong involvement with local groups and organisations – from his days as a boy scout to his on-going work as curator of the Axe Valley Heritage Museum.

The gathering, at Temptations restaurant, heard how, along the way, he had helped revive the town’s regatta in 1951 and the same year, aged 21, he became the youngest Royal British Legion branch secretary in the South West.

He was connected with Seaton’s carnival and autumn show committees, and helped organise the highly successful hobbies and handicrafts exhibition for many years.

AN enthusiastic historian since his school days, Mr Gosling soon built up a comprehensive collection of artefacts and old photographs and staged his first exhibition in 1951. Since then he has held more than 60 shows throughout the area, mostly in aid of charity.

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He also arranged special exhibitions locally to mark major royal and civic occasions, like the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

But Mr Burrows said, perhaps, the most important date for Ted was 1985, with the formation of a group who proposed the new Seaton Museum at the town hall. These included the late Roy Chapple, Norman Whinfrey and Edna Everitt.

Since then Ted has been curator for 25 years and without him there would probably be no museum.

He added: “On a personal not I have a love of history, old photographs and ancestry and my forebears came from East Devon. But if I could achieve half of what Ted has done I would be a very happy man.”

Seaton born, Mr Gosling said he was honoured and pleased to receive the freedom of the town, which he was so proud to be part of.

More than 70 attended the presentation including friends and family members as well as representatives of numerous local organisations.