The St Piran’s Ball
Each year, the chairman of Cornwall Council hosts a ball to celebrate St Piran’s Day. St Piran, the patron saint of Cornwall, was an abbot who lived around the beginning of the 6th century and is said to have been cast out of Ireland on the orders of the king who was suspicious of Piran’s miraculous powers. Despite a millstone tied around his neck, Piran survived stormy seas and washed up at Perranporth where he built an oratory to promote Christianity. His first disciples were said to be a badger, a fox and a bear. Hmm. The oratory is now preserved in the sand dunes at Perran Sands.
Piran is famous for his apparent accidental discovery of tin. A black stone in his fireplace is said to have got so hot that a white liquid leaked from stone, the first ever incidence of tin smelting. It was this discovery that subsequently earned Piran the additional title ‘Patron Saint of Tinners’, tin mining being the backbone of Cornish industry. It is this first incidence of tin smelting that is behind the design of the Cornish flag. The white hot tin forming a cross on the black background of ore. According to legend, St Piran was fond of a tipple or two but despite his fondness for alcohol, he is said to have lived to the ripe old age of 206.
St Piran’s day celebrations continue to grow in popularity, with the annual St Piran Play on Perran Sands being a highlight. Hundreds of people make pilgrimage to the site of the oratory and other landmarks.
I was very lucky to have been invited to the St Piran’s Ball on Friday night. The main reason for my invitation was that one of my photographs was used on the tickets. The idea being that after dinner, one ticket number would be drawn from the hat and the lucky winner would receive an A3 framed print of the picture as a prize. This was all the idea of Mr John Wood, Chairman of the council and very generous supporter of Cornwall Photographic. With my name and website on the tickets, this was very good promotion for my photography amongst a lot of very important people in Cornwall.
Black tie obligatory, I was in my tux by 5.00pm and ready to attend the bucks fizz reception at the Alverton Manor Hotel in Truro at 6pm, prior to taking our places in the great hall for dinner at 7pm.
A truly beautiful setting for what was a very enjoyable evening. I was a little nervous about being asked to present the prize in front of all the eminent guests but it all went OK. The Chairman’s introduction was very complimentary and I found it all a bit embarrassing, Chillbrook isn’t used to taking the stage amidst rather prolonged applause but there you go, it wasn’t so bad ;-)
The print was won by Mr David Simpson, the owner of Kingsley Village, a large retail park on the A30 where coincidentally, I sell prints and cards. David has just moved house and told me he had just the place in mind to hang his new print. Here’s the print in question. A photograph I’ve posted before, taken at Trebarwith Strand on the north Cornish coast..