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Bodmin celebrates St Piran’s Day

Updated: Mar 11, 2023



For two decades the town has marked St Piran’s day in its own special way. The event centres around the town’s children parading along Fore Street to Mount Folly where they entertain the crowds with song and dance. The entertainment continues as each school presents a poem or song on a Cornish theme in St Petroc’s Church. For this reason, Bodmin celebrates on the school day nearest to St Piran’s Day, rather than on the day itself. The celebrations finish with a pasty lunch.


Primary schools involved this year are Luxulyan, St Petroc’s, Nanstallon, Lanivet, Beacon, Berrycoombe, Blisland, Lanlivery, St Mary’s and St Wenn, with Greenfield ARB at Bodmin College.


Bodmin’s Mayor, Cllr Phil Cooper, after thanking the children for their contribution and participation in the event, said: “Children are the future of our town, its heritage and culture.”


Initiative

This year the children’s lunch drink is served in bottles made out of natural and biodegradable materials called ‘bio plastic’ instead of the usual single-use plastic ones, to reduce single-use plastic at Bodmin’s events.


Bottle preparation before the day

Caretakers Kevin and Paul, part of the Community Services Team at Shire Hall, wash, rinse, drain and dry nearly 500 bottles and lids!

Washing bottles Rinsing bottles Draining bottles

Drying bottles Draining lids Drying lids


Preparation on the day

Early on the morning of the parade the bottles are transported to St Petroc’s Church and lined up neatly ready to be filled with water.

Transporting bottles Delivering bottles Paul and Kevin happy their job is done!


Shire Hall before the crowds

Shire Hall is ready


Parade imminent

Bodmin's Mayor, Deputy Mayor and consorts Band Paul Scoble in front of The Old Library

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School is ready Flag flying high Dressed to impress


Parade

Doug Johnson, Dan Rogerson and Paul Scoble are the flag bearers and the procession of banners is led by 92 year old Alastair Quinnell, the instigator of St Piran Day in Bodmin, with co-founders Cllr John Chapman and the late Beryl Tapp.


The parade begins

Supporter Nanstallon banner (loving the orange jacket) Members of Priory Toddler Group


Pause at memorial stone and continue to Mount Folly


On Mount Folly

There’s time for a few speeches. The Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow Pol Hodge gives a rousing talk and the High Sheriff says a few words. Representing the Catholic Church, Father Robbie Lowe reads a blessing and Canon Rev'd Jane Kneebone, Chaplain of Gorsedh Kernow, leads prayers in Cornish. As part of Rev’d Elaine Munday’s prayer, she said: “Help us to keep the faith St Piran taught us and follow in his footsteps.”

School banner in Cornish and English Fab solo dance moves Facing Shire Hall


On to St Petroc’s Church

Roland Oakley, Events Manager at St Petroc’s, is there to greet the children. He said: “It’s important we keep the heritage of St Piran’s Day going as it’s one of many Cornish celebrations that gives Cornwall its own identity.”


Barbara Brittain Focal Minister at the Church said: “It’s good to look back into our past and see people of strong faith shaping Cornwall.”


School presentations

Up first is Greenfield ARB. Some of the 42 students from Greenfield are in attendance. Tracy Turk, Key Stage 3 lead said: “The students have learning, physical and sensory needs and attending community events on behalf of Bodmin College and the ARB is an opportunity for them to fully integrate in the life of their community.” The students sing with gusto as do the primary school children following them.


400+ bottles

Beth Woolley, Plastic Free Bodmin lead, said: “It’s good to reduce single-use plastic from this celebration, and for children to have a bio plastic bottle they can refill and use over and over again.”

Rev'd Elaine Munday and Beth Woolley with 400+ bottles


Pasty and water bottles

When Ben Stephenson, headteacher at Nanstallon Community Primary School, saw the custom made water bottles about to be given to each child he said: “What a wonderful gift for the children to receive as a memento of the celebration and something to help them remember their Cornish heritage.”

Water bottles well received Pasty and water lunch


As the water bottles are distributed, one boy said: “I’m glad I’ve got one.”

Another pupil, JJ from Blisland Primary said: “I love the design.”


Organisers

St Piran’s Day committee, Kevin Marshall (Chair), Paul Ellis (Schools coordinator), Ron Goodgame (representing Bodmin Lions), Chris Bartram (fiddle), Keith Truscott (Bard), Trevor Brazier, Rev’d Elaine Munday (Bodmin Team Ministry Vicar), Amanda Bright and Jenna Wheten (Community Services Department at Bodmin Town Council with caretakers Kevin and Paul), supporters Clarinda Truscott (Bard), Merv Davey (past Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow and piper), Alison Davey (Bard and drummer) and other fabulous musicians from across Cornwall. Keith, Clarinda and Chris visited schools to teach children the songs to be sung on Mount Folly and Merv and Alison visited schools to teach the children the dances to be danced on Mount Folly.

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