Blue plaque for Exmouth's first OBE recipient unveiled 100 years after award

29th August 2017

A new blue plaque has been unveiled in Exmouth celebrating a local woman who was awarded one of the first OBEs ever by King George V.

On 25th August 1917, The Times newspaper published the list of the first OBEs ever awarded by King George V. One of the recipients of that honour was Edith Helen Pratt and, exactly a hundred years later, on 25th August 2017, the citizens of Exmouth witnessed the unveiling of a blue plaque at her old school, Southlands School in Carlton Hill, Exmouth.

Daphne Barnes-Phillips had first heard about Edith at a meeting of Exmouth Family History Club in September last year when Brian Worts had spoken about "Edith Pratt OBE, Exmouth's woman of the 20th century" and was immediately interested as she had attended Southlands School.

Daphne had written about that school in "Exmouth's ROLLE" which was published in 2015 as the school preceded Rolle College on the Douglas Avenue site.

The plaque was unveiled by Exmouth's mayor, Cllr Brian Cole who was accompanied by his mayoral consort, Beryl Cole. Both he and Stuart Woolger, manager of the Bristol Schools Camp at Orcombe Point added to Daphne's speeches about Edith as the camps are held on land donated by the OBE recipient.

Photo: Daphne Barnes-Phillips, Beryl and Brian Cole, Rachel and David Coulson-Lowes and Jim Barnes-Phillips with the plaque following its unveiling. The Coulson-Lowes are the current owners of the former Southlands School building attended by Edith and Daphne and Jim have done all the organising, fixing into place etc. Brian Worts is delighted that Edith has at last been recognised in Exmouth for her magnificent achievements.

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