Gool Peran Lowen
Updated: Mar 20
To the sound of bagpipes, fiddle and the beating of a drum a large crowd paraded from The Old Library to Mount Folly on Friday 4th March to celebrate St Piran’s Day in Bodmin.
Speeches were made by Bodmin's Mayor, local clergy, committee members and early-founders of Bodmin's celebration of St Piran's Day.
Ann Kerridge said: “Welcome to the best St Piran’s day celebration in the whole of Cornwall! We should be very proud of the pioneers who first invited the children of Bodmin to celebrate our national day by marching down Fore Street. Those first children, 22 years ago, may well now have children of their own and be here in the crowd today.”
“I would especially like to pay tribute to Alastair Quinnell who has done more than anyone else to make this celebration as wonderful as it is. Let’s give a cheer for Alastair! And let’s thank the current committee and chair Kevin Marshall for putting on such a splendid celebration!”
“Let’s hear it again for St Piran - Gool Peran Lowen - Happy St Piran’s day!”
Rev’d Elaine Munday said a prayer: “Almighty God, the light of the faithful and shepherd of souls, who brought your servant Piran to Cornwall’s shores to feed your sheep by his word and guide them by his example; help us to keep the faith which he taught and to follow in his footsteps, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Revd Brian Cassidy said a Gaelic blessing: “Deep peace of: the running wave to you, the flowing air to you, the quiet earth to you, the shining stars to you, the gentle night to you. Moon and stars pour their healing light on you. Deep peace of Christ. Of Christ the light of the world to you. Deep peace of Christ to you.”
Children happily danced as the moves were called out by Jo Tagney.
The parade continued to St Petroc's Church. On route, one boy was overheard asking his friend: “Why is the Irish flag being carried?” A passer-by explained that it was because St Piran came from there.”
At the church, six primary schools gave presentations in song, dance and spoken word: Blisland, Cardinham, Lanivet, Nanstallon, Lanlivery and St Mary's.
Barbara Brittain, focal minister at the church said: “St Piran’s Day is a special way to celebrate the roots of Cornish heritage. St Piran along with St Petroc and all the other Cornish saints, whose names have been given to our towns, shaped the course of history as they shared the Christian faith with everyone. We still remember the faith of the saints today and many follow in their path.”
Pupils from St Petroc's Church of England Primary School said:
"It was fun to dance on Mount Folly."
"The best bit was leading the chant "Oggy Oggy Oggy" as we paraded through the street and hearing the adults responding to our call."
"I didn't think it would be this cool."
"I enjoyed listening to other schools presenting their songs. They did a great job."
"The pasties are best!"
Cllr Karen Phillips said: "It's great to see local schools learning about the county's heritage."
Alastair Quinnell was at the event just as he was at the very first celebration, twenty-two years ago. He said: "In actual fact, St Piran's Day is tomorrow, 5th March, but Bodmin always has it on the nearest school day so children are able to attend and lead the celebration.”
"It's important to have it as St Piran is the national saint of Cornwall."
"In the year of the millennium, as I was driving back from Truro, where St Piran's Day is celebrated, I thought: ‘We've got to get something happening in this end of the county in honour of St Piran.’ John Chapman and Beryl Tapp joined me to get something done.”
The St Piran Day's committee was formed and is now supported by Bodmin Lions, Bodmin Town Council, St Petroc's Church, St Mary's Church, primary schools and individuals.
Bodmin Mayor, Cllr Jeremy Cooper said: "It's fantastic to see the community of Bodmin celebrate our precious Cornish heritage and traditions. We carry the baton and we need to pass it on to today's children in order to protect our unique Cornish culture for generations to come."
Bodmin Deputy Mayor, Cllr Phil Cooper said: "Children are the future of the town so it's great to see them embracing Cornish culture and heritage."
Cllr Mike Barbary said: "It's been an absolutely wonderful celebration and a great event for Bodmin."
A morning of celebration finished with a pasty lunch. What a great way to celebrate St Piran’s Day!