Paddleboard Yoga Session to Get the Young Professionals Network Back in Action

20th September 2021

Gilbert Stephens Young Professionals Network were excited to finally get together again for the first time since the lockdowns began. The event, which felt a long time coming, was a Paddleboard Yoga Session on Exeter Quay where members were able to socialise while enjoying the outdoors. Sarah Heath said:

“After the stresses caused by the Covid Pandemic, we thought what better way to get back together but with a yoga session! Chloe Sikiniotis of Magdalen Health led the session, on boards provided by the Kayak Hub.  Despite initial fears of falling into the Canal everyone had a great time and finished the session dry, which is always a plus!”

The YPN is different to other formal networking groups as the atmosphere is relaxed and informal. What makes the events extremely popular with younger professionals is the alternative option to building professional and personal relationships outside of the more traditional business networks – like on a Paddleboard!

If you would like to join you can contact the YPN by email at Membership is free and confirmation of acceptance of membership will be emailed to you. Once you have received confirmation, you will be emailed invitations to our events.



Okehampton Show 2021

10th September 2021

We were thrilled to attend the Okehampton Show this year and to be one of the main sponsors again, the organisers really pulled off one of the best yet, despite so many unknowns.

The local country shows are always big events in our calendar, and we have missed them whilst they were unable to run.    It’s always a great opportunity for us to catch up with familiar faces, alongside meeting lots of new ones!

This year we had delicious bacon butties, cream teas and of course Pimms for those that visited us.  To keep the kids entertained we had the very talented Mel offering face painting, we also made use of this year’s competition prize by floating some ducks in it for the kids (and some adults) to catch.

Massive congratulations to Lauren Riley who won the hot tub, we very much hope you enjoy many relaxing times in it!

We were also delighted to meet Karen Webb who was the winner of our Facebook giveaway for a family ticket to the show.

It was great to visit the other local businesses attending and catch up after so long.  We enjoyed the amazing talent on display,  the arts and crafts were exceptional as always, as was the locally produced food and drink!

Of course, a country show is never complete without the numerous animals in attendance and it was wonderful to see their keepers able to show off their beautiful animals for the judges and crowd.

A big thank you to the organisers for such a wonderful event. We very much look forward to next years!

If you want more information on agricultural law we can help, our expertise include the sale and purchase of farms and farmland, rural and agricultural property, charging of rural land and property, rights and easements, and the transfer of sporting rights.  Our team has a good working knowledge of rural payment schemes and grant schemes.  Rebecca Cox based out of our Crediton Office regularly makes farm visits and has a real interest and deep understanding of the rural community and issues affecting agriculture.

Contact our team today and let us know how we can help.

Tel:  01837 512100




Fixing costs would blow a hole in access to justice

9th September 2021

Government should rethink plans to limit costs that can be recovered in civil litigation cases, the Law Society of England and Wales said in its response to just published proposals.

“The vulnerable and the less well-off would too often be unable to seek redress if fixed recoverable costs were extended to cover cases valued up to £100,000,” said Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce.

“If the government caps the amount of reasonable costs a claimant can recover then – without safeguards – a deep-pocketed and unscrupulous party could force their opponent to run up legal bills they’ll never recover. This could seriously damage the justice system leaving claimants unable to obtain effective remedy or vindicated defendants out of pocket through no fault of their own.

“Furthermore, we cannot support the proposals because there are not enough data supporting them and the proposed regime is very sketchy about how it would be applied. The data that has been used are both out of date and drawn from too narrow a pool of cases, given changes would apply across almost the entire spectrum of civil litigation.

“Since the 2017 report and a 2019 consultation that informed these proposals, the justice system has been reshaped by the pandemic, the court reform programme and a raft of changes in other areas of civil justice.

“The legal profession would need greater clarity on how the regime would be applied, with a long lead-time to enable solicitors to adapt to what looks to be significant change.

“A regime to limit the recoverable costs of civil litigation will need to be carefully calibrated based on present realities if it is to be fair to everyone engaged in a claim.”

Exeter Property Circle Networking Event – 9th September – book quick!

8th September 2021

The Exeter Property Circle are excited to be hosting their September networking event at the Chandos Deli in Exeter City Centre this Thursday between 5-7pm.

There are still just a few tickets remaining if you would like to come along!

The event will be making use of the outside area as well as the inside which is great for the current climate, in addition numbers will be limited to 40 due to the venue’s size and to make sure that everyone feels safe and happy.

The EPC are already planning another event for November and can’t wait to welcome more to join then!

There will be no speaker for this event, just an opportunity to catch up face to face with people (finally!) over a drink or 2!

Tickets include a welcome drink and a donation to their two chosen charities, The Exeter City Community Trust and The Exeter Chiefs Foundation.

Both charities do amazing work for our local community, the EPC are really happy to be able to support them again.

If you would like to book you can do so here.

Tom Woodley Fundraiser

7th September 2021

We were thrilled to find out that a recent auction organised by Tedburn St Mary Football Club has raised over £4000 for Tom Woodley.   Tom, who is the Manager of the Kings Arms in Tedburn St Mary, has been undergoing treatment for Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO), a condition that affects his spine and he has lost feeling from the chest down.

Tom has been an integral part of the Tedburn St Mary Football Team, helping to look after them since he arrived 8 years ago.   The Football Club decided to step in and help raise some money for Tom and his family and arranged this amazing event.  People came together, donated items and bid at auction the in April.

It is very uncertain what level of support Tom is going to need in the future and so we were happy to donate some money to their fundraiser.

Well done to the Tedburn St Mary Football team on such a successful fundraiser and we send our best wishes to Tom and his family.

You can find out more information on Tom’s Fundraising page here and there is a Facebook Group called Miles for Tom here.

Gilbert Stephens shortlisted for two legal awards

2nd September 2021

The Devon and Somerset Law Society are hosting the 2020 Legal Awards on 23rd September at Exeter Cathedral. The awards ceremony will honour those who excel within different sectors of the legal sector. We will be attending having been shortlisted two categories.

The first is the Corporate Social Responsibility category which we are delighted with. Our community is something we take a great interest in at all our branches around Devon.  We support numerous events and organisations each year.

The second category is the Chartered Legal Executive of the Year in which our team member Sarah Heath has been shortlisted. We are very proud of Sarah who is one of our newest associate members. Sarah is a Chartered Legal Executive in our Residential Conveyancing Department, based at our Exeter office and has been with the firm for a number of years.  She has been instrumental to the success of both the Young Professionals Network and founding the Exeter Property Circle.

We are looking forward to the event which is always a highlight within the legal community and greatly missed last year. We would like to say congratulations to all of those who have been shortlisted and we wish you all the best of luck.

Budleigh Lions August Bank Holiday Fête on the Seafront 

2nd September 2021

It was great to see the Budleigh Lions Fete and the much loved Pebble Building Design competition finally take place having been cancelled twice due to Covid!

In addition to the Pebble Building & Design competition the event also saw the announcement of another favourite “Spot the Stranger” which had been ongoing for the last month, in addition to the final of the “Treasure Hunt” competition, which had been ongoing for the last week through the town.

Visitors enjoyed some good weather and a fun day for all with money being raised for the Budleigh Lions and other charities who attended the event.  Well done to Geoff Paver and the team on yet another successful event!




A household became homeless every 3 minutes during the last lockdown

31st August 2021

The government recently released new figures on homelessness in England for the period January to March 2021 – during the last national lockdown. They show:

  • Despite the eviction ban being in place, 68,250 new households approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness.

  • During the national lockdown, a household became homeless every three minutes.

  • 95,450 households were living in temporary accommodation (TA), of whom 59,120 were families. That means 119,830 children were living in TA at the end of March.

  • One in five (18%) homeless households were placed into emergency B&Bs and hostels, where living conditions are notoriously poor and cramped, and need to move onto a permanent and secure home.

  • The three most common triggers of homelessness during the period were: households no longer being able to stay with families and friends (32%), the loss of a private tenancy (13%) and domestic abuse (12%).

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It is a scary sign of the times that even the eviction ban couldn’t stop thousands of families becoming homeless in early 2021. Now the ban has lifted far more people could be faced with the brutal reality of homelessness.

“The bottom line is that there aren’t enough social homes, which has created a massive bottleneck, trapping huge numbers of people in crummy temporary accommodation. How can anyone call a rat-infested room no bigger than a prison cell, home?

“If the country is to stand a chance of recovering from the pandemic, the government must urgently invest in a new generation of quality social housing. Last year we built fewer than 7,000 new social homes. We can and must do better.”

Anyone who is facing homelessness can get free and expert advice from Shelter by visiting or by calling our emergency helpline on 0808 800 4444.


  • 95,450 households were reported as living in temporary accommodation on 31st March 2021. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table TA1.

  • 119,830 children were reported as living in temporary accommodation on 31st March 2021. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table TA1.

  • 68,250 households approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness between January and March 2021. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table A1.

  • The rate at which a household became homeless in the last quarter is calculated by dividing the total number of minutes from 1st January to 31st March (128,160) by the number of households that were owed a relief duty in the same period. 36,800 households were owed a relief duty from January to March 2021. This is available at MHCLG, Statutory Homelessness Live tables, Initial assessments of statutory homelessness duties owed, Table A1.

  • The three most common triggers of homelessness are the three most common reasons for loss, or threat of loss, of households’ last settled home between January and March 2021. 21,750 households owed a prevention or relief duty lost their last settled home because they were no longer able to stay with family or friends. The loss of a private tenancy is the ending of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). 9,080 households owed a prevention or relief duty lost their last settled home because their AST ended. 8,050 households owed a prevention or relief duty lost their last settled home due to domestic abuse. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table A2.

  • 11,170 households living in temporary accommodation on 31st March 2021 were living in bed and breakfasts and 5,570 were living in hostels. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table TA1.

“Thank you so much for all you have done to achieve our house move”

29th August 2021

Adam Tompkins was delighted to receive a card and gift from some happy clients who were moving from Devon to Dorset recently.  The clients were grateful for all Adam’s hard work and commented “Thank you so much for all you have done to achieve our house move, you went the extra mile so many times and we really appreciate it”.


Ottery St Mary Pixie Day is back!

28th August 2021

Pixie Day normally takes place on the Saturday nearest to Midsummer’s Day, due to Covid it had to be postponed but we are excited that it will be taking place on Saturday September 25th!

So what is Pixie Day?  The Ottery St Mary website explains the story:

“While the current event dates back to the mid twentieth century, its origins are believed to go way back to the fifteenth century. The legend goes that pixies once lived in Ottery, but were driven out by human occupation and in particular the building of the church and the ringing of its bells, as a pixie death occurred  every time the bells were rung and they couldn’t abide the noise. Eventually the pixies took the bellringers prisoner and kept them in a cave; luckily they escaped and Pixie Day was founded so that the events were not forgotten.”

Pixie Day begins with a fete in the afternoon and during the evening children dressed as pixies fill the town.  They re-enact the story and capture the bellringers at the church, they take them to the “Pixie Parlour” in the square.  Eventually the bellringers escape, but not before lots of dancing, fun, running around and much excitement!

It’s a massively fun event, Ottery St Mary are well known for the Tar Barrell and this is another of their extraordinary calendar events.  Pixie Day raises funds for the Scout and Guide associations that are exclusively within the OSM boundary

As a visitor to the event you can expect lots of family entertainment.  If you are looking to go the event starts in the early afternoon with a fete and entertainment at the Land of Canaan. At around 6.30pm the Pixies’ Revenge takes place in the square and then the celebrations continue down at the Land of Canaan, with entertainment barbecue and bar.

Pixie Day is one of the year’s highlights for those at our Ottery St Mary office, we can’t wait for this years event and are delighted to be able to continue with our support of the event.