A disturbing undercurrent of racism in a North Devon town has been brought to light by a video posted to social media and viewed thousands of times.

In December 2023, a mum posted a video on Facebook detailing her experience of living in Ilfracombe and the racism she encountered, which garnered nearly 7,000 views.

“I’ve been here for six years, and my kids and I have experienced both direct and indirect racism,” Miss Reid said. “I’m British; I’ve never claimed benefits. People will say I’m playing a race card, but there’s no race card to play.”

The mum and her children were targeted with racist slurs such as ‘go home’ and Nazi swastikas painted next to her children’s names. “Calling my girls monkeys, is that nice? Is that humane? What, because we’re black? I’m tired of this sadness in North Devon. My kids and I can’t take it anymore.”

Since the video was uploaded, the family have moved out of the area. They were contacted for further comment but did not wish to add to what had already been said in the video.

Councillors and organisations in the town have condemned those who targeted the family and called for discussions on the problem within Ilfracombe.

James Lewis from The Pickwell Foundation is an organisation to help displaced people such as refugees and migrants settle into the area.

He said: “We need to educate children from primary school upwards. Having a generation of kids who understand the differences between groups of people and understand crucially that we all have the same right to live a free and happy life.

“Getting into an argument with people doesn’t help, so I think if this issue is much more involved in the school curriculum, you automatically know you have a generation that will be much more educated and, therefore, more tolerant than any other that has gone before.”

In response, Terry Elliott, a town councillor in Ilfracombe, who raised the issue at a council meeting recently, said: “If you’re looking at racism from an institutional perspective we are at a point where some people don’t want to confront it, not believing it exists, not wanting to tackle the problem and I think we’re at that level.

“I’m not surprised by what (the mum) said. As a council, we need to rise to meet these challenges and tackle racism when it occurs rather than ignore it. It will never go away unless we have conversations around the problem and listen to the people who encountered it.

“The council should be doing more. Around 2-3 years ago, Ilfracombe Town Council passed a zero-tolerance to hate policy, but nothing was ever implemented, and incidents like this prove the importance of understanding and tackling racism.

The Pickwell Foundation concluded that Ilfracombe is a tolerant community despite what has happened. James Lewis said: “There will be pockets and minority voices of racism, but on the whole, Ilfracombe is a welcoming place.”