Last Saturday I attended the St Piran’s day celebrations in Redruth. Although, due to my weekly surgery, I missed the start of the parade, the event was a fantastic success with the police estimating that around 5000 attended and with over 200 children and young people from our local schools taking part.
Redruth has really led the way in using civic events and celebrations of this sort to bring people into the town and to bring the community together. Together with the pasty festival, the Christmas lights procession and, of course, Murdoch Day, there is something every few months. It is really heartening to see so much support from the local schools and it's a vote of confidence in the future of the town. Children from Trewirgie Junior School were even going around completing questionnaires about the event to see how it could be improved in future years.
It is great to see such a steady and consistent revival of interest in Cornwall's unique culture and events like this are a really important way of celebrating what is distinct and special about Cornwall. Redruth is at the heart of Cornish history with the vast majority of the six million strong international Cornish diaspora tracing their roots back to our town. That is why Redruth was the natural home for the new Cornwall Archive Centre of Kresen Kernow which is currently going through the various stages of planning. It was a major breakthrough for the town to be designated as the chosen location and the project will regenerate the old brewery site and kick start the revival of the town.
Plans for the Kresen Kernow project were on display last Saturday and there are other events planned to get community feedback on the project. Like many others, I took a trip down memory lane watching some fascinating TV news archives about the final years of the old Devenish Brewery between 1986 and 1991. Growing up in the eighties in Cornwall, the familiar Devenish branding and those green Lorries were all around and, when I was older, I remember the famous Newquay Steam Bitter. Devenish was finally finished off by some sharp practice in the City by Whitbread and Boddingtons who were aiming to launch a hostile takeover bid. A management buyout followed by a further extended period under the current owner of the site, Horace Yao, gave the brewery a few more years, but in the end they couldn't continue. The Trevithick Society were there too having rescued some final cans of the beer (now very out of date!) along with beer mats and other branding which they are preserving.
George Eustice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.