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Chairman's blog

17 October

In my previous blog I wrote about my daughter taking a party of children to Wales.  By a strange co-incidence on Thursday, I was assisting the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Colonel Edward Bolitho, with the presentation of the Queen’s Voluntary Award to ‘Chicks’, a charity based in Tywardreath near St Austell. They provide free residential holidays to underprivileged children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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The local support in the form of volunteers and patrons has to be seen to be believed. Last year they provided over 1200 children with free holidays.  The vast majority are city children who have never experienced anything to do with the countryside or the sea.  So many things that we all take for granted and see as normal are new experiences for them.

This morning I went to the Hall for Cornwall to show Cornwall Council’s support for the Government Funded Project ‘Music for Youth’.  I quote “The Primary Prom concerts aim to inspire a new generation of young people to take up music and develop their music potential”.

It most certainly did just that, the theatre was full with very excited primary school children. They were spell-bound by the performances which were all by Cornish teenagers from across the Duchy.  The audience also had to learn and perform a song which was new to them and in less than 20 minutes they were singing, performing and word perfect for two verses and a complex chorus.

No doubt about it, music in Cornwall is alive and being played to a very high standard.  One of the London organisers remarked on just how receptive the children were compared to other parts of the country.

Well done to our children and their teachers.

You may contact me by e-mail: johnwood@cornwall.gov.uk

September really was a bonus weather-wise and it has been good to see so many visitors enjoying our beautiful Duchy.

Our scenery really is something so very special, no matter whether you are inland and walking the moors or enjoying our amazing coastal path.  Take a moment from your busy schedule to really appreciate the magnificent vista which is always close at hand no matter where in Cornwall you live.

Only last week my daughter took a party of ten year olds to Wales.  They are all ‘City’ children living in concrete jungles with the constant noise of traffic and only a city park to play in.  Visiting the country was not in their repertoire for either social or economic reasons.

Last Wednesday very early in the morning a mixed group knocked on her door because they had something to show her. Fearing the worst, (when you take a school party away, it is a trying experience)! she threw on some clothes and grabbed a jacket and followed them outside.  Away they ran to the top of a nearby hill and pointed at the rising sun, they had just wanted to share what they thought was something very special.  They had no concept that for so many of us it is something we just take for granted.  I remain convinced that if we can catch them before it is too late, they will grow up with a curiosity to learn about their natural environment and will seek out places where they can still enjoy it.

Here in Cornwall we have so much to offer and we must all do all we can to treasure it by looking after it.  I am truly saddened that every time I go for a walk around our lanes I have no difficulty in filling a supermarket bag with rubbish.  Most of it recyclable drinks cans and fast food wrappers.  The good news is that I also know that more and more walkers are also doing their bit by litter picking as they go.  If we all did it including when we visit a beach, then surely in time we could make a huge difference to how the Duchy looks.

I look forward to the day when someone says to me “Did you have a good walk?” and I can reply “Yes it was great, I didn’t find any rubbish”!

You may contact me by e-mail:  johnwood@cornwall.gov.uk

Last week I had the great honour to present Mr Malcolm Godolphin with a certificate from ‘Brigade House’ in London, in recognition of his 50 years of voluntary service to the Boys Brigade.  Malcolm has worked tirelessly in Cornwall, helping young men of all ages to become better citizens and on behalf of the people of Cornwall I presented him with two engraved glass wine goblets and a bottle of wine.  Volunteers of Malcolm’s calibre abound in Cornwall.  They are the very fabric of our society and without them life in the Duchy would be very different.

Last Saturday evening I attended the Cornwall Schools Cricket Association Awards Dinner.  It was both a rewarding and enjoyable evening.  Once again those unpaid volunteers giving freely of their time to share their passion to develop the skills of cricket players in Cornwall.  The room was full of talented people both young and old; cricket in Cornwall has a great future!

Last week I attended the Autumn Fayre at the Vean near Caerhays Castle which was in aid of the Royal British Legion.  One thing that came up in conversation was the diminishing number of ‘collectors’ that assist with the raising of donations by delivering and collecting tins.  If you can spare some time I know that your nearest branch of the Royal British Legion would be delighted to hear from you.

My thanks to those Schools who found the time in their busy schedule to enter my ‘Christmas Card’ competition.  I appreciate that it is far too early to be thinking about Christmas, but needs must, when it comes to organising, printing and distribution. I will be announcing the winner and runners up very shortly.

You may contact me by e-mail:  johnwood@cornwall.gov.uk

Chairman

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County Hall
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