Monday, December 19, 2005

Sterling effort by pub

THE Cornwall Speakeasy Laryngectomy Club would like to say thanks to the landlord, landlady and all patrons of The Bridge Inn, Bridge, Portreath, for all their hard work on behalf of our club.

The Bridge Inn has raised £1,212 through a car boot sale, a fun day and an auction for our charity this year.

The club is a small charity, run by laryngectomy patients and volunteer nurses from Wheal Coates Ward, who donate their time to support patients who have had throat cancer. The aim of the club is to assist patients in readjusting to a normal life after they have had a laryngectomy (removal of the voice box).

The club arranges visits to attractions for the members to build up their confidence in a supportive environment.

Obviously this requires funding, and therefore the generosity in hard work, time and money from all at the Bridge Inn really will make a difference to the lives of Cornwall's laryngectomy patients.

Ron Wills

Chairman Cornwall Speakeasy Laryngectomy Club

New county councillor

The new county councillor for Illogan and Portreath is Paul Holmes (Liberal), who won back the seat he held between 1985 and 2002 at a by-election.

His 324 votes put him 56 votes ahead of his nearest rival, Liberal Democrat David Ekinsmyth, followed by Independent Tommy Bray (268), Conservative Mary Anson (202) and Labour's Tony Bunt (84). There was a 20.47 per cent turnout.

Mr Holmes, who lost his seat in 2002 to Terry Rowe, said it was "good to be back".

"I'm delighted to be the county councillor for Illogan and Portreath again, the seat I held for 17 years.

"I have very loyal support in this area and I'm very grateful they turned out in force in such poor weather to support me. It's very humbling.

"I'm also indebted to the excellent band of workers who went out in all weathers to support me in the run up to the election."

Mr Holmes said he was keen to get back into county council life and was committed to working for the people of Illogan and Portreath.

He added: "I shall be working very hard, and in particular, I shall be making every effort to get the Trevenson Moor footpath put in. I consider that a priority."

Mr Holmes, who lives in Illogan, is a self-employed electrician. He is a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd for his services to music, and a churchwarden at Pencoys Church, Four Lanes. He is a Cornish speaker, and a playing member of Chacewater Cricket Club.

A 20.4 % turnout!

Four-fifths of the electorate didn't even bother to vote in the Illogan-Portreath county council by-election. For the record, I didn't win, but over 200 voted for me and for that I thank them.

But what really worries me is voter apathy, and it's obvious that politicians aren't getting through to the people we are supposed to be serving.

Does anyone have any idea what's wrong, and what to do? Compulsory voting, perhaps? Better venues? Voting times? More e-mail, on-line and postal voting? No canvassing (because no-one believes us, anyway)? Candidate debate before voting? Freepost envelopes for all electors? More information direct to voters?

What do you think? Let me know, and I promise I will reply and send all comments to the Electoral Commission and election officers.

Back to reality, my latest charity auction is at the Victoria Inn, Four Lanes, tomorrow (Friday) at 8pm, in aid of Pencoys Church roof appeal. Please come along.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Barn Youth Project

Portreath Youth Club has reopened after a refurbishment that has seen it transformed from a stark, uncomfortable space into a fresh, young people-friendly environment. Based in the Millennium Hall, it now boasts a coffee bar and computer facilities set in brightly-painted surroundings.

To mark the re-launch, the club has been renamed the Barn Youth Project and now offers a variety of activities for different age groups. From 6.30pm-7.45pm on Mondays, nine-to-13-year-olds take part in activities and socialise with their friends. From 8pm-9.15pm, 13-to-16-year-olds can meet in the coffee bar and play pool.

On Thursdays from 7.30pm-9.30pm there is a drop-in centre offering issue-based workshops covering such things as self-esteem, bullying, healthy eating, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Youth workers are now looking for funding to run a homework group on Wednesday evenings, when there will be a chance to learn more about computers and develop numeracy and literacy skills.

Links have also been forged with Mount Hawke Skate Park and Sportlink to help girls, aged 11 and over, to take part in new sporting activities, such as skateboarding.

Youth worker Tracy Robson said: "We work with about 50 young people every week and form an important part of the local community.

"The project is entirely run by volunteers who work incredibly hard and give up their spare time to help the youth club become the success that it is.

"We feel that it is important for the project to be young person led, enabling us to work on their specific needs and ensure their voices are heard.

"We have recently formed a new management committee, which includes two young people enabling them to voice the needs of people of their age in the community.

"We would like to thank Johnny Gyatt, Andrew King, and Ian and Peta Redmore for giving up their free time and helping to refurbish the centre."

Surf life-savers from Portreath....

Surf life-savers from Portreath are looking forward to the new year, and the chance to exchange the Cornish winter for Australian sunshine. Six club members have been selected for the 12-strong British team to compete in the world championships, which are being held in Melbourne in February.

Mat Bowden, Tim Widdershoven, Rachel Pascoe, Jenna Hawkey, Katy Whear and Sienna Chapman will be accompanied by club chairman Rob Phillips as team manager and Penny Whear as sports therapist.

Mr Phillips is hoping the team can match, or better, the performance in Italy last year when three gold medals and three bronzes were won.

"Katy, who is already training and competing in Australia, is a strong contender to retain her world sprint title," he said. "All the Portreath members stand an equal chance of podium finishes.

"The biggest obstacle is that February is off-season, which makes training and final preparations that much harder."

He added: "Nevertheless, we have earned a reputation not to be under estimated and we have a realistic chance of medals."

Four-band extravaganza at the Millennium Hall in Portreath

One of the finest bands to emerge from Cornwall in recent years, The Chinaski Effect are back in action at The Clipper in Camborne tomorrow (Friday) and headlining a four-band extravaganza at the Millennium Hall in Portreath on Saturday, December 10. Formed in 2002, this St Austell four-piece consisting of drummer Chris Morley, guitarist Alex Stenhouse, bassist Matt Duggan and singer/guitarist Kevin Pearce have been making waves this year spreading their brand of alternative punk rock around the county and beyond.

If you haven't heard of them yet hang your head in shame, although by the band's admission they have too often been bridesmaids and not brides.

"This has been a big year for us in terms of becoming a headline band rather than just clinging onto other bands' coat tails," said singer/guitarist Kevin Pearce. "But the aim is to take it up a level again."

Thanks to the support of a small group of loyal fans and supporters backed by their outstanding six-track EP recorded at legendary Sawmills Studio, they have become a must-see local act.

A ferocious blend of hacksaw guitars and tuneful choruses underscored with moments of subtle calm, cynical humour and angry delivery, Chinaski have carved a distinct niche for themselves in the local music community.

Taking their cue from their often bleak clay country upbringing, guitarist Alex Stenhouse says disconsolately: "We're proud of where we come from but to this day when somebody says St Austell all I can picture is sitting in run down clay works trying to shelter from the rain."

It is from this boredom he became involved in music and ultimately formed the band. With a general distaste for pub cover bands, the St Austell foursome decided that they would only play their own songs, much to the delight of this music lover.

Highlights have included gigs at various venues here in Cornwall, as well as an appearance at the Castle Rock festival alongside the likes of Reuben, Offshore, Sanguine, Burning Coalition, B*Movie Heroes and The Needles. Plus, let's not forget several memorable appearances in Plymouth, most notably a hell-raising bus journey to The Phoenix with local superstars Baby Astrolab and friends. The band took their first steps into the wider music world with a trek to Birmingham earlier this year and a potential gig in London on the cards, things are starting to come good for The Chinaski Effect. However, the band are not resting on their laurels. More recording sessions are being planned and at the moment they are concentrating on demoing new songs on four-track. "We might release the results of these sessions if they turn out ok, but it's mainly about documentation. We've been playing some of these songs for three years now and we really want to thrash out a new set for next year," continued Stenhouse.

They also aim to continue raising the profile of music in Cornwall "There are so many good bands down here, all with such differing sounds and I see so many kids with band hoodies on and just wonder if they are even aware that they exist. Baby Astrolab have really laid a marker down in terms of effort and quality but bands like Blindfold Garden and Kelly Don't Drive and numerous others are really good too, we just need more people to sit up and support us locally."

Support the local live music scene by checking out The Chinaski Effect at The Clipper in Camborne on Friday, December 2, or see them at the Millennium Hall in Portreath on Saturday, December 10 with support from Last Warning, Cheese Steak Jimmy's and The Lucky Polar Bears.

For information see or email