Thursday, June 14, 2007


Eleven stunning floral displays captivated visitors to a flower festival at Bridge Chapel at the weekend.The displays were provided by churches, organisations and individuals from across the Redruth district based on the theme of favourite hymns.

The exhibits included For the Beauty of the Earth, by Treleigh Floral Art Club; Morning has Broken, by Four Lanes United Methodist Church; All Things Bright and Beautiful, by Paynter's Lane End Methodist Church; and the centrepiece of the festival, Think of a World Without any Flowers, by Bridge Chapel.

The opening ceremony on Friday morning included a musical performance by children from Portreath School who played instruments and sang.

The musical theme continued throughout the weekend with local organists playing sympathetic background music as visitors admired the displays.

The flowers provided a perfect backdrop for a concert on Saturday evening by Celtic Voices, followed on Sunday evening by a Songs of Praise.

The Rev Haley Moore, the superintendent minister, said that as intoxicating as the sights, smells and sounds of the festival had been, she hoped they had not diverted attention away from the true purpose of the weekend - to raise money for the Persecuted Church, those who pay a heavy price for their continued faithfulness to Christianity around the world.

She said: "When we gather together for worship and fellowship we take so much for granted, such as our freedom of speech and the ease with which we are able to talk about Jesus Christ in our families and communities.

"However, for many Christians such activities hold many risks and dangers and discipleship is extremely costly.

"For some this includes the threat of imprisonment, of torture and of threats to their families.

"Hopefully people came in and enjoyed all these beautiful flowers, but also left aware of the challenges that face Christians around the world."

The Rev Haley paid tribute to the Bridge congregation: "They are only a small church community, but they have a wonderful church family here.

"This festival was a big task for them, and they've excelled themselves."

Flood Action

The Environment Agency has announced plans to carry out work in Portreath to reduce the risk of flooding.The agency will fit a screen to stop debris and monitor the flow upstream and downstream, linked to its centre in Bodmin, so staff can get an early warning when there is a problem.

Thursday, June 07, 2007



11:00 - 29 May 2007

A chemical weapons scare was sparked at a former nerve agent factory when a digger driver accidentally unearthed equipment used to produce mustard gas.It has raised fears there could be potentially dangerous substances on other sites in the area, which might not appear on any maps, prompting calls for a full survey to identify potentially contaminated land and to restore public trust.

The discovery at the former Chemical Defence Establishment at Nancekuke, near Redruth in Cornwall - revealed publicly for the first time today - happened last year as contractors investigated a shaft thought to lead to one of five known dump sites.

Tons of equipment and plant from the factory, which manufactured 20 tons of the deadly nerve agent sarin between 1954 and 1956, was buried after the facility was closed in 1977.

Its chemical weapons were either treated and disposed of on site or transported to Porton Down in Wiltshire.

But the material unearthed by accident - thought to be reaction vessels used in the production of chemical weapon agents - had not been mapped, so nobody was aware of its exact whereabouts.

Julia Goldsworthy, Liberal Democrat MP for Falmouth and Camborne, said she would be writing to the MoD to demand a full explanation of the incident to restore public trust. Ms Goldsworthy added: "This is a potentially serious breach of trust with the public as well as a serious breach of safety. It seems to indicate there could be potentially dangerous substances on the sites other than those identified in the decontamination programme.

"A complete and full survey of the site is the only thing to restore public confidence that the decontamination works are comprehensive and can be trusted. If this does not happen, members of the public will justifiably be very cynical about exactly what work has been done and the safety of the site overall."

The incident happened at Nancekuke, now known as RAF Portreath, last July but was not made public. It has now come to light after documents were released to the Western Morning News under the Freedom of Information Act.

An official report into what went wrong said there were "clear shortcomings with the implementation of procedures put in place". It also said that the finds "question the completeness of the 1980 Nancekuke closure report in defining where all of the former CDE Nancekuke wastes are buried" - a document which had previously been relied upon.

Dr Paul Johnston, from the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at Exeter University, said he was concerned but not surprised by the unexpected find.

"We have seen this time and again at MoD sites that are being cleaned up," he said. "Generally speaking, some event has taken place that people want to draw a veil over, or was illegal, or was officially sanctioned but never recorded.

"Mustard has been found to remain hazardous in soil or water for a very, very long time. Unbreached weapons can be very, very dangerous. Considering the reactions they were carrying out and the chemistry they were performing and the huge volume of waste they created, I'm surprised the situation isn't far worse."

An official report into the incident said the equipment was "almost certainly" from Sutton Oak, a chemical warfare plant at St Helens, Merseyside, which was closed when Nancekuke was established in the early1950s.

The site was involved in the manufacture of Lewisite - a chemical warfare agent developed in 1918 but too late for use in the First World War. It is a powerful irritant which immediately damages the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Its laboratory equipment was decontaminated and transported to the Cornwall base where it was dumped.

When it was uncovered, the digger driver was ordered to remain in his cab and remain upwind. Specialists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) were called in test for chemicals. None was found.

The report said: "The incident is obviously of serious concern to us and our own internal inquiry will result to changes in future practice."

The report, by Enviros Consulting, concluded there were "no immediate concerns" because there were no traces of chemicals found and it appeared correct disposal policies had been followed.


It was a birthday party that spelled a celebration for Scrabble enthusiast Ada Gregory.The resident of Harbour House in Portreath marked her century with a special get-together for her family and friends.

Ada, born in Leicestershire and one of eight children, moved to Cornwall in the 1960s and settled into her home at Bridge Moor.

Over the next few decades she threw herself into village life, becoming an active member of St Mary's Church and a keen member of the choir. She moved into Harbour House two years ago.

She has two surviving sons, eight grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

"Her interests include reading and she loves a good game of Scrabble," said her granddaughter Sandra Hogan.


A controversial plan for a major holiday attraction at Portreath has been given a cautious welcome by the parish council.Landfish Consultants Ltd has applied to redevelop land at Feadon Farm at the top of Tregea Hill.

It wants to build 60 new holiday lodges as part of the proposal, which the company claims could create up to 120 new jobs.

The £25 million plan also include a dry ski slope, a nine-hole golf course and an equestrian centre.

A handful of members of the Feadon Residents Association expressed their concerns about the attraction project at Monday's meeting of the parish council.

Their spokesman, Marj Rowland, said the proposal would have an adverse effect on people living close by and would change the character of Portreath.

She highlighted fears of light and noise pollution, and the movements of extra cars, horse boxes and service lorries, at what was already a dangerous junction.

She said: "We are concerned about the noise from the development.

"For example, the restaurant and bar may be open until the early hours of the morning; dogs may be barking in the pet hotel; and the planned equestrian centre is a large one, so we may have horses going past several times a day."

Mrs Rowland said residents had already endured three years of construction work on the site, with mud, dust and noise, and "the nuisance of foreign workers housed in mobile homes on an adjacent field."

She added: "We feel that the tranquil character of Feadon will be changed by this development, and that the true impact it will have on Portreath has not been realised.

"The whole identity of the village will change."

She stressed that if the proposal was to go ahead, a separate access should be built.

Developer Bill Haslem told the council that his company had held a public consultation event and had tried very hard to engage the public in its proposals.

Some changes had been made as a result of residents' comments.

It had received 200 letters of support for its plans, including 75 from the residents of Portreath.

The company agreed that a new entrance to the site was needed as part of the proposal, but County Highways had disagreed.

Cllr Chris Watts said that in principle he did not have a problem with the plan but added: "There is a problem that it's not in the village envelope; there are a number of areas that could do with more shielding to protect residents; and I think the issue of the entrance really needs addressing.

"Potentially, it would be a huge development and a big feather in our cap."

Cllr Doris Butler, who lives close to the site, feared the noise from hundreds of holiday makers using the ski slope, the parks facilities, and riding horses.

"It will disrupt and spoil the peace and tranquillity of Portreath," she said.

Council members voted to support the principle of development but will ask Kerrier to impose conditions that will protect the amenity of neighbouring residents and that will require the company to make improvements to the entrance to the site.