- the reason why!
At many gatherings in Cornwall, you will be sure to hear the adopted
anthem, known colloquially as 'Trelawny'. being belted out with pride
and passion; it contains the immortalised lines, 'And shall Trelawny
live, or shall Trelawny die, here's twenty thousand Cornishmen will know
the reason why!'.
Written and composed as "The Song
of the Western Men" by the Rev. Robert Hawker in 1825, it refers
to a Pelynt born, Bishop Trelawny, who in 1687, petitioned against James
II's Declaration of indulgence granting religious tolerance to Catholics.
He was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London for seditious libel,
held for three weeks, tried and acquitted before the Cornish rebels had
reached Bristol. On the accession of Protestant, William of Orange, Trelawny
was appointed Bishop of Exeter; there was no question of 'shall Trelawny
live or shall Trelawny die', as he did quite well out of his protest.
Unlike the heroic Michael Josef An Gof, a blacksmith from St. Keverne,
who with Thomas Flamanck, led a march to London in 1497 to protest against
unfair taxation of the poor (I wonder if Andrew George reads this?) and
was hung, drawn and quartered for his defiance.
However questionable the accuracy of the
lyrics, my interpretation, for what it's worth, is that the essence of
the song defines nation, an identity, a united spirit, a subtlety beyond
definition founded in the depth and sense of community instilled through
generations. And the joy is that in 2010, the spirit remains.
For the past year, a group of local people
have given weeks of their time to organise a 24 hour Relay For Life to
raise funds for Cancer Research UK. My role was plugging it in the local
press, radio and TV. All of whom responded. The interview on Radio Cornwall
was fine, just a straight phone chat, however, our local commercial station,
Pirate FM, had the idea that to promote it we would enter a team (me,
John and anyone I could press-gang) in a 'War Of The Works' quiz, each
weekday, against a firm in Falmouth that make boat winches. The intention
was to answer as many questions as possible in 30 seconds, live and on-air,
and promote the event at the same time.
Signals in the village haven't moved on
significantly since bonfires relayed messages around cliff tops to warn
of the Spanish Armada. The tele-communications revolution is something
that hasn't reached here; we haven't a mobile phone signal, digital terrestrial
TV or a decent radio reception...as I discovered five minutes before
the broadcast! The only place in our home with reception, (which was
akin to the muffled, crackly radio in ' 'Allo, 'Allo') and was close
to a phone, was on my bed. So, my team - including a neighbour, his mum
and sister who were down on holiday, had to sit on my bed and answer
questions - I was so nervous and it was so quick, I don't think I'll
be entering 'Mastermind'!.
The Relay was an overwhelming success and
has raised in excess of £30,000 - that's right, I haven't typed too many
zeros!. I'm staggered at where the money has come from; it's a combination
of generosity, the event itself and the tireless energy and creativity
of the hardworking teams, culminating in walking around a track for a
whole day! This money will all be donated to Cancer Research UK as it
is vital that the research continues. There were many moving moments
throughout the 24 hours, summed up for me, by one individual's experience
of the human story behind every case of heartbreak - one of the walkers
kept on the track, with the support of his family for the entire 24hrs...
he did this in for his father, who died from cancer last year.
The hope, love and bravery was encapsulated
in the closing moments by a band of singers performing "Trelawny',
there were many tears of tiredness and emotion, but at that moment, Cornishmen,
and those who have made this place their home, knew the real reason why!
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