The beautiful county of Devon in south-west England is renowned for its sandy beaches, national parks, medieval towns and stunning cliffs. Thanks to its picturesque harbour towns such as Paignton, Torquay and Brixham, it is known as the English Riviera.
The coastline is home of the South West Coast Path, a walkers’ paradise, taking in the fossil-rich Jurassic coast and the towering cliffs on the northern Exmoor coast.
Devon has its fair share of famous residents, who have become worldwide stars despite coming from one of the United Kingdom’s smaller counties. Read on to find out more about Devon’s most famous sons and daughters…
Born in Plymouth, Devon, in May 1994, Olympic diver Tom Daley attended Eggbuckland Community College. The 24-year-old won two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in the individual competition and a bronze medal in the synchronised 10m platform with Daniel Goodfellow at the 2016 Olympics. His career began during his childhood in Plymouth, as he won the National Junior Under 18s’ platform competition when he was only ten years old. He now lives in south London.
As the founding member and lead singer of British band Coldplay, Chris Martin was born in Whitestone, Devon, in March 1977. Now aged 41 and living in Los Angeles, he was born to accountant Anthony and music teacher Alison Martin. After founding a band called Pectoralz in 1996 with guitarist Jonny Buckland, the duo went on to become Coldplay two years later. The band has sold more than 90 million records worldwide, achieving global fame in 2000 with their Grammy Award-nominated single, Yellow.
Actress, model and designer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, aged 31, was born in Plymouth, Devon, in April 1987. Now a resident of Los Angeles, she is best known for her roles in the films Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 2011 and Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015. She grew up on a farm near Tavistock and was educated at Tavistock College. Coming from an aristocratic background, her great-great-grandfather was the 1st Baronet Sir Herbert Huntington-Whiteley, who was the Conservative MP for Ashton-Under-Lyne for 11 years from 1895.
The songwriter and lead singer for British band Portishead, Beth Gibbons, aged 53, was born in Exeter, Devon, in January 1965. One of three sisters, she was brought up on a farm, later moving to Bath at the age of 22 to pursue a singing career. Gibbons formed Portishead in 1991 with Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley and they released their debut album, Dummy, in 1994. The band is still active today, playing folk and alternative rock music.
Television presenter and former tennis player Sue Barker, aged 62, was born in Paignton, Devon in April 1956. She was educated at a convent school and played tennis as a child. At the age of ten, her talent was recognised, and she was one of two youngsters chosen to receive specialist coaching. She won 14 singles titles, including the French Open Championship in 1976, playing professionally from 1973. Retiring from competitive tennis in 1984, Barker became a sports commentator on television and has hosted BBC coverage of many sporting events. She now lives in the Cotswolds.
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