Protestors have said ‘knickers’ to criticism of a mum for hanging her washing up outside – by displaying their own laundry throughout a sleepy rural town.
The bizarre rebellion came in response to an anonymous email blasting resident Claire Mountjoy for drying her washing outside her home.
Claire, 47, was stunned when she received the letter last week which implied visitors and tourists would be upset and put off by the sight of her family’s laundry.
The author, claiming to speak ‘on behalf of local businesses and the neighbourhood’ in Colyton, Devon, suggested she use a tumble dryer or hang her washing in the house instead.
The letter read: “We all try hard to keep our lovely town thriving and looking good.
“While we understand you have a small house with no outside room for your boys, would you please consider using a tumble dryer or hanging the washing indoors.
“This letter is not written with malice but we ask you to please help us all keep Colyton a town we can all be proud of.”
But residents in the sleepy East Devon town, which has a population of just over 2,000, said ‘pants’ and responded by launching what has been dubbed ‘The Laundry Revolution’.
Claire said many homes and shops in the town now proudly sport lines of pants and socks in defiance – her personal favourite being a bra on top of a flagpole.
Claire, an education officer for Devon Wildlife Trust, said: “It shows the fabulous community spirit Colyton has.
“Colyton is known as the most rebellious town in Devon. That kind of streak is still in its people.
“It is quite strange that someone should be so upset about it. They suggest that visitors would be put off but actually our laundry revolution is actually bringing in more visitors.
“I want to say to whoever wrote the note that they really should be doing their washing in a more environmentally friendly way and putting it outside.
“It would have been better to have had a nice chat.”
While remaining anonymous, the author of the letter is thought to be responsible for a ‘”This is not acceptable” sign placed next to ‘pant-bunting’ created by Claire’s children on Thursday.”
There was widespread support for the uprising on facebook. Paul Arnott said he put up his washing line after reading a message on the Heart of Colyton Facebook group.
He wrote: “This display of laundry is in support of a lovely family in Dolphin Street.
“Yesterday they received the dreaded anonymous letter “Meant in kindness” asking them not to dry their washing at the front of their house for fear of upsetting tourists.
“As Bart Simpson used to say, “Eat my shorts”.”
Alison Stenning said: “We should have an annual Colyton Hanging Day when everyone hangs their washing in front of their house.’
Alix Renshaw suggested the June 7 each year should become ‘Colyton’s Underwear Airing Rebellion Day’.
Residents in Colyton showed their backing to Claire by hanging up their own washing outside.
Among them was Mark Stammers, 58, who put up a washing line outside his butchers shop in the town.
He said: “We had one outside the shop, it was great and everyone got involved.
“At the end of the day it’s her house, it is summer after all”.
“Everyone seemed to love it in the town”
Mark said the identity of the claimant had remained a mystery. He added: “It’s got to be someone who’s new around to the area I think, who didn’t know how people would react around here”.
Another local resident Sue Rumney said “I think it’s highly funny, good Colyton being rebels again. Next year instead of a scarecrow competition, what about a washing line competition? ”
Margret Menhenitt added: “I don’t like the fact that someone wrote it anonymously, that someone wouldn’t put their name on the letter”.
The letter in full ;
Dear Claire and Chris,
I am writing on behalf of local businesses and your neighbourhood to ask you with kindness not to put your washing out at the front of your house.
We all try hard to keep our lovely town thriving and looking good.
The visitors walk up Dolphin Street from the tram and your terrace is a prime location.
While we understand you have a small house with no outside room for your boys, would you please consider using a tumble dryer or hanging the washing indoors.
This letter is not written with malice but we ask you to please help us all keep Colyton a town we can all be proud of.
Sincere best wishes