Tony Beard (Dartmoor entertainer)


The 7th annual Dartmoor Society Award was presented to Tony Beard of Widecombe-in-the-Moor ‘for sharing his Dartmoor wisdom, empathy and wit’. The presentation was made by Dr Tom Greeves, Chairman of The Dartmoor Society in Moretonhampstead on Friday17th December 2004.

The award, given to those who, in the opinion of The Dartmoor Society, have made a special contribution to Dartmoor, is in the form of a unique ceramic plate, made and designed by potter (and Society member) Penny Simpson and calligrapher Susanne Haines, both of whom are internationally renowned.

Tom Greeves said, ‘Through this award, The Dartmoor Society wishes to recognise what Tony Beard has given to Dartmoor and its people in a
lifetime of entertaining, farming and involvement with local communities. Many will think of him as “The Wag from Widecombe”, enlivening hundreds of events through his highly original and quick wit. Others will know of him through his broadcasts on BBC Radio Devon.

Many others will associate his distinctive Dartmoor voice with Widecombe Fair day, reverberating around the fair field and valley with information, exhortations and encouragement.’ ‘But there are other aspects of his life that also deserve recognition. In his native parish of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, he is known as a farmer, interested in every nook and cranny of his 100 acres of fields, and finding prehistoric flints and other treasures in the plough soil. For more than three decades he helped his father with a milk round. He is also widely respected for his work as Secretary of the Widecombe-in-the-Moor and District Local History Group, which is one of the most vigorous in the county.’ ‘Above all, in every sphere of his life, Tony Beard resonates Dartmoor, thanks to the wonderful empathy he has with both place and people -gently, generously and wittily expressed, but deeply felt.’ ‘On behalf of The Dartmoor Society, it is a privilege to present him with
this Award.’ In responding, Tony Beard was in great form and was clearly very deeply touched by the Award. The plate looks fantastic – an image of Widecombe church in its moorland setting in the centre, and a border schematically representing Tony’s crooked ash stick which he has had for forty years! The calligraphy, as expected, is superb.