Exeter Dementia Action Alliance 2019 Calendar

13th November 2018

We were excited to receive a delivery of the 2019 Exeter Dementia Action Alliance (EDAA) calendar last month which will be taking pride of place amongst our offices next year. The calendar is a collaboration between Gina Awad of the EDAA and the award-winning Private Eye cartoonist Tony Husband and highlights the need for people living with dementia, and their carers to receive understanding, compassion and support to enable them to live well and to shine a light on dementia.

We are proud members of the EDAA and jumped at the chance to sponsor one of the months within the calendar. In the month of October, you will find an image raising awareness of the need to plan ahead, for peace of mind; after all talking about a loved one’s possible gradual loss of memory and future care is not something that’s easy to face.

At Gilbert Stephens we can help you with these difficult discussions, help ensure desired future choices are recorded and will be put in place and followed when the time comes. We will listen and work with you and your family to ensure the outcome for your loved one is just as they want. We want to ensure they can feel secure in the knowledge they have been heard and their future is as they would choose it to be, even if their ability to make that decision passes.

Huge thanks to Gina and Tony for making this very special calendar happen – we look forward to spotting it throughout Exeter in 2019!

To find out where to purchase a calendar contact Gina Awad moc.k1544628532ooltu1544628532o@aad1544628532retex1544628532e1544628532  Website:

#shiningalightondementia #EDAA  #Exeter #DementiaFriendlyExeter

Running Flames through Guy Fawkes Night Streets

12th November 2018

The scene on the night of Monday 5th November in Ottery St Mary is always something to behold.

Men and women and youths run through the high street dressed in thick layers, their hands and wrists wrapped against the heat of flaming barrels of burning tar that they carry on their shoulders.

The barrel rollers each run, whilst safely carrying the barrel as far as they can before passing it, progressing through crowds who part and flow around them again as the barrel of fire moves on.

This is an incredibly exciting event, supposedly born from an ancient Westcountry tradition of rolling lit barrels of tar through the streets and houses each year for fumigation.

Gilbert Stephens are very proud of Deanne Cummings, from our Sidmouth office, and her daughter Zoe, who have now been ‘rolling the barrels’ for 37 and 18 years respectively. Deanne wore a bright green Gilbert Stephens t-shirt – the bright colours helps them to pick each other out in the commotion and see if they can help or get the barrel to each other.

Deanne tells us, “We had a great evening and it was a bonus with it being dry and mild. A lot of people attended but it was kept under control by having two tar barrels going at the same time and splitting the crowds.

The t-shirt colour was great. The film crews were out last night and filming the women’s barrels.

The event is special to myself and family as I have generations of family going back over the years who have rolled the barrels.”

Deanne explains the Tar Barrel lingo: “We do not roll the barrels anymore, only to warm them up. Then we pick them up from the front, up over our head, and put the barrel on our shoulders wearing special sacking gloves. Then we run safely through the town with them, looking out for each other. Fantastic fun and we were all worn out at the end of the evening!”

Those involved in the Tar Barrels work hard all year round to raise funds to help this event continue. Ottery St Mary is the only town left that has refused to let this tradition fall into history.

The arranging and insuring of such a unique and special event is no mean feat – like wielding the Tar Barrels themselves – and we hope that as many people as possible look out for and support the Tar Barrel Fundraising activities that go on throughout the year.

For more information, click here


We Will Remember Them

11th November 2018


This year is the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.

A century ago, the First World War changed the face of history and international relations as we knew it.

This formative event in our world history ended with the laying down of arms at eleven o’clock in the morning; the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.
Following the horror of WWII, when nations across the globe again allied to fight for their freedom, Armistice Day became Remembrance Day, and we now mark this date by remembering all of the veterans and those who sacrificed themselves in all conflicts.

The laws that came from war
The effect of such catastrophic suffering and loss of life led to many changes in our society at home, and indeed in our laws.

Because so many men had gone to war during WWI – and so desperately many never returned – women took up roles that had until that time been filled by men. The first female police officers served during WWI, and the need for women in munitions factories meant that the government began to provide funds towards day care for children.

This sudden upheaval of traditional roles enabled our society to see possibilities for change that might have been expected to take many more generations.

A combination of the effort of woman’s war work and lobbying and debates about re-enfranchising men who served in the armed forces abroad, led to parliament passing the Representation of the People’s Act in 1918. This was a landslide victory in favour of granting the vote to an estimated 14 – 20 million more women and men, with parliament voting in favour to the tune of 385 to 55.
These new voting rights began a chain of events in the legal history books. By 1928, women gained an equal right to vote, regardless of their education or property, and in time this contributed to changes in education and healthcare provision.

Other interesting transformations in the law included the institution of British Summer Time. This was meant to maximise the daylight working hours, most particularly for the still vital agricultural sector. Pub opening times were restricted so as to keep the reduced workforce in order, and possession of non-prescription drugs became an offence.

Because of the security concerns regarding the war effort, press and postal censorship was introduced. At the time, the Defence of the Realm Act of 1914 was an essential move to safeguard our troops, their morale, and the success of military manoeuvres. Since then we have established an appropriate level of freedom of speech for peace time. This is formalised in the Human Rights Act 1998, allowing freedom of speech whilst still making provision for national security and public safety.

Echoes throughout the ages
The First World War was an horrific episode in our world history, and the suffering of the troops in all countries, their families, and the echoing consequences have shaped our identity and interactions as much as they have our laws.

One of the ways in which we can honour the sacrifice of all those men and women who have laid down their lives for others, is by our respectful remembrance on 11th November, at 11am.

Gilbert Stephens will be at the ceremony in Exeter’s Northernhay Gardens from 10am to pay our respects and observe the 2 minute silence.

There has been a vast array of social and political changes, some for the good, that came out of each of the wars we have experienced as a nation and globe.

There is so very much to be said on the subject, but there are some sobering words that describe the fundamental feeling of loss, and which surpass all other debate:

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon


Renting Minefield Event

7th November 2018

We were delighted to have a stand at the Renting Minefield event to offer information about our services to local landlords, letting agents, investors and anyone interested in renting property. One of our partners, Kim McDonald attended and was offering a prize draw to win a free property valuation! We were also pleased to see a sea of green on the seats, as we gave away Gilbert Stephens tote bags as a free gift to attendees.

Organised by Exeter City Council in association with ARLA, the NLA and Monitor BCS UK, the event was a busy and successful one, with the 120 tickets that were available to local landlords and letting agents being claimed a month before the event!

Kim McDonald said “the event was extremely informative with excellent speakers, who clearly had a thorough understanding of the subject matter. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly lending to an enjoyable event.”

There were talks from Dick Scott from Monitor BCS, a property tax update from the Director of Peplows Chartered Accountants Debbie Franklin, a talk about the implications of the ‘major market shake up’ for landlords from Phil Keddie of Sunshine, The Property Letting Experts, and an informative and engaging short seminar from Hannah Darling of the National Landlords Association, explaining the new regulations that landlords need to comply with.


Testimonial for our Budleigh Salterton office

26th October 2018

Thank you to Tony Mackness for this wonderful testimonial and the bottle of bubbly!

“In March we decided to market a leasehold flat that we owned in London E3 and appointed the Budleigh Salterton office of Gilbert Stephens to handle the legal aspects of the sale.

The sales process has been drawn-out due to the fact that one of the purchasers is travelling overseas and because of lengthy delays by the various parties who were requested to provide answers to questions raised by the purchasers.

Sheila Woodland and Kate Wheeler have spent untold hours chasing-up the various parties. They have both worked beyond the call of duty and under extreme pressure to agree a Completion date that was acceptable to both sides of the transaction.

They are a credit to Gilbert Stephens and I would have no hesitation in recommending the firm.”

Pictured: Kate Wheeler and Sheila Woodland

Winner of our ‘Win a Bottle of Bubbly’ prize draw

26th October 2018

Congratulations to Lyn Green the winner of our ‘Win a Bottle of Bubbly’ prize draw which we ran at the Mid Devon Landlord Event at Paschoe House last month.


Lyn is pictured here with Gilbert Stephen’s partner Mark Perry at our Exeter office receiving her prize.

Exeter performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe

19th October 2018

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors were delighted to be the main sponsors of the St David’s Players production of Iolanthe. Last week, several of the Gilbert Stephens team went to watch Iolanthe and were highly impressed with the professional and talented performance. The famous comic opera by Gilbert & Sullivan was a welcome addition to our city’s dedicated provision of culture and high class entertainment. Sheena Galpin gave a stunning performance as the lead role Phyllis, a fairy banished from fairyland for falling in love with a mortal – and daring to give him a son!

The St. David’s Players were established in 1969 and have passionately embraced the arts and community ever since in their annual musical productions. This highly professional performance was worthy of the esteem of all, from the circles of the performing arts to the Exeter locals who enjoyed a night at the Barnfield Theatre for this event. Julie Besley from Gilbert Stephens commented that she “was amazed with the attention to detail in the performance of Iolanthe and particularly admired the portrayal of Phyllis.”

Bravo! to all of the cast and those working behind the scenes for months to bring us this production. We imagine that Director Emma Mills and Musical Director Malcolm Matthews are very proud of Iolanthe’s roaring success, and we very much look forward to seeing the St. David’s Players again next year!







Great West Run Update

18th October 2018

We are very proud of Antonia D’Alessio, Cheryl Bolt and Sarah Heath from Gilbert Stephens Solicitors, as they took part in Exeter’s Great West Run 2018 on Sunday 14th October.

This annual Half Marathon is a spectacle not to be missed, with the start of the run at 9am on Sunday morning, as 2221 participants took off across our city and surrounding countryside, all heading towards the glory (and perhaps relief) of a stadium

The Gilbert Stephens Great West Run Trio did really well, with Antonia finishing with the time of 1 hour 59 minutes, Sarah in 2 hours 2 minutes and Cheryl finishing shortly after in 2 hours 24 minutes. Antonia recently wrote a blog about her training over the last few months and it’s safe to say that their dedication to their training and chosen charity, tackling period poverty, has been exemplary.

Thank you to everyone who took part in and organised this special event for Exeter, and thank you to everyone who came out to line the track and encourage our city’s runners as they raised money for causes close to their hearts.

Next year, the Great West Run will partner with charity Macmillan Cancer Support. Early bird tickets are open now – perhaps we will see even more of our team out training in the run up to next year?



Antonia’s Great West Run Training Blog

11th October 2018

When I was asked to attempt the Great West Run, I laughed.

I am not a strong runner and my technique leaves much to be desired. Ballet is definitely more the sport for me. However, I took up the challenge, so thought perhaps I’d try a few smaller 5k runs and then see how it goes. A few of us from Gilbert Stephens took up the challenge together, and we began to run at lunchtimes, running the scenic route to the Double Locks and back (unfortunately not stopping for a pint on the way – however tempting it was). This is a nice flat route and we started running it with ease, forgetting about the countless hills around Exeter! Building up miles we began to pick up a little speed on the 5ks and began mixing it up with sprints, hills and a few extra miles. Running was exhausting in the heat we had this summer and we began to try and fit our sessions in after work when it was cooler… obviously followed by an ice-cream!!

When we did our first 10k run, we felt fantastic, and proud of completing it in 56 minutes! We then moved on to an 8-miler, completing that in under 1 hour 30 minutes, and then onto 10-milers in under 1 hour 50 minutes. I hit a slight snag on one 10-miler when my knee decided to give way. I hobbled home to a frozen pack of peas. After giving my knee the rest it needed for a week I ran a couple of shorter runs to build it back up and I’ve been careful with it ever since! When I had recovered enough we began to pick up the longer runs again. We were building up speed! It’s amazing what listening to ABBA does to your motivation!

Now the race day looms ahead. We are beginning to taper our runs ahead of the big day. Eating healthy, no alcohol (including that post work glass of wine) and lots of stretching. It’s safe to say we are all very excited and a little scared for the big day!

We have decided to run this race in aid of preventing period poverty – collecting sanitary products for a charity that donates to women who cannot afford the items themselves. We have collected a fair few items so far and have already filled two boxes!

If you want to keep tabs on how we are doing, our journey towards the day and the Great West Run itself will be documented on our website and social media…

Wish us luck!