Gavin Fryer – Obituary

It is with heavy hearts that the Advearse team have to report that one of the founder members Gavin Fryer sadly passed away last month after a brief illness. His funeral was held at St Swithuns on 12 March and was very well attended by over 100 people. Our condolences go to Gavin’s wife Sue and his three daughters.

Gavin had been a lynch pin of the team for well over a decade, helping us to stay focused on our opposition to the Vearse Farm development and the damage it would inflict on Bridport. He had considerable knowledge of planning regulations and the challenges of dealing with local authorities. And was always ready to share this knowledge.

But along with Gavin’s knowledge and experience he brought a wry and indefatigable sense of humour that helped keep us all going during some of our most frustrating periods when dealing with Dorset Council, the developers et al.

Gavin was never one to back down from a challenge and was able to put our case bluntly at the various planning committee meetings. He was able to give voice to the strong local opposition to the Vearse Farm development and challenge the committee members on their weak acquiescence to the council officer demands.

Over the last few months we have been putting together an archive of our documents to go to the Dorchester Archive office. Our aim is to ensure that there is access for journalists, academics or other interested parties to be able to study the Vearse Farm development and its chequered history. We did not want all our efforts and those of the local community in opposing the development to get lost in the mist of history. We only realised when Gavin bought to a meeting his boxes (and boxes!) of documents just how much effort and dedication he had put in over the years.

Gavin had a love for the local Dorset countryside and one of his initiatives was to raise with the developers (Barratts) the possibility of restoring a walk way close to the Founry Lea estate which was called Lovers Grove. This tree lined walkway dated back over 100 years and Gavin was able to find photos showing Lovers Grove in its heyday. Sadly now it is in a sorry state with many of the stone slabs missing and some trees diseased or missing. We are in discussion with Barratts about a restoration project which would be a wonderful epitaph for Gavin.

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