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Biggest and best St Piran's festival raises the bar again

By West Briton  |  Posted: March 08, 2012

  • Sisters Evelyn Daniels, left, and Kym McPolin with their home-made St Piran's hats enjoy their day.

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CORNWALL'S anthem Trelawny rang out from hundreds of throats as Redruth held its St Piran's Day festival.

Black and white flags fluttered in the breeze as young and old sang their hearts out in celebration of all things Cornish, a fitting end to a three-pronged procession that flowed to the Miner's Statue from all corners of the town.

Groups of musicians and marchers arrived from the top and bottom of Fore Street and from Bond Street, banging drums, playing instruments and waving banners.

Three became one as St Piran, played by Tony Leamon, led the full procession from the town centre to the rugby club for a feast of entertainment.

Mr Leamon said: "Mike Chappell led the parade last year as St Piran, but he wasn't too well this year so he gave me the great honour of stepping into his shoes to fill the role.

"I'm a Falmouth boy and I'm so honoured to be playing St Piran, especially in the centre of Redruth."

It was a busy day all around the town.

The Jubilee Hall hosted an arts and crafts fair, and Miners Court hosted a Cornish day and pasty lunch.

Murdoch House staged a display about St Piran plus Cornish poetry from Pol Hodge and Bert Biscoe.

The Cornwall Centre laid on an exhibition all about the history and heritage of Redruth and Cornwall, and CN4C ran a workshop highlighting opportunities for training in the community.

Redruth Radio provided music throughout the day, and there were live singers and bands at venues including the Collins Arms, St Rumon's Club, Gaslights, the Green Room and the Melting Pot.

Entertainment at the rugby club included performances by RedYOUth, Redruth Town Band, Redruth School Choir and the Redruth School Brass Ensemble.

There were also rugby workshops and judo displays.

Ian Thomas, Mayor of Redruth, said he was both a proud and a very happy man.

"We made a very proud boast last year that Redruth would host the biggest St Piran's festival in Cornwall, and likely the world," he said.

"Not only did we see that dream realised in 2011, but this year, 2012, we saw the ambition replicated.

"Who knows? Perhaps we're creating a new tradition right here in the heart of Cornish mining.

"We saw events happening at the top, bottom and middle of the town centre – The Elms, The Cornwall Centre, Murdoch House, Jubilee Hall, Back Lane West and further afield too – and how about the feeder parades, musicians and friends joining us from St Rumon's Gardens, Wesley Chapel and Bond Street parts of town for the en masse procession from the clock tower to the Rugby Ground? That certainly raised our spirits.

"Even St Piran smiled on us and provided the sunshine.

"This has been a great family day out in Redruth, steeped in heritage, with the main focus on our young folk.

"Isn't it grand to see so many of them demonstrating civic pride and joining in on the celebration, the magnificent black and white procession, entertainment and demonstrations?" he said.

"It's been a brilliant community day with so many supporting us, whether it be the pubs and clubs, the traders, business, arts and crafts folk, the rugby club, Redruth Radio, the local musicians and youth groups or just the general public; it's all been really fantastic."

Pupils from Redruth School were among the young people who took part in the day.

The school's head teacher Craig Martin said: "It's very important that young people in Redruth understand their heritage, customs and tradition.

"I'm delighted that our students continue to play an active part in this town's rich and vibrant history."

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