Coronavirus may have stopped Camborne’s annual and very popular Trevithick Day festivities taking place in the town’s main street this Saturday, but people are still being encouraged to mark the occasion with memories, videos and music.
Since 1984, residents have been dancing in the streets, with schoolchildren dressed as miners and balmaidens leading the way at 1015am and adults dressed in Cornish colours following suit at 2.15pm. Camborne Town Band provides the musical accompaniment and steam engines, bands and entertainers contribute to the day-long carnival atmosphere.
Like all other events, this year’s usual tribute to Camborne’s most famous son Richard Trevithick has had to be cancelled, but organisers are hoping that people will still make merry in the safety of their own homes.
“Everyone is being encouraged to dress up and dance around their own living rooms instead,” said Camborne’s Business Improvement Manager Anna Pascoe. “We’re hoping people will post videos and photos of themselves on our social media sites so we can still have a communal gathering – albeit a virtual one. Memories, videos and photos can be shared on the @cambornetown and @trevithick_day Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms. It would also be great to raise a glass of something cold or a cup of something hot to the great inventor at 2pm and record that moment too.”
It was Trevor Dalley who first came up with the idea for Trevithick Day after a depressing traders’ association meeting in 1983 which had branded Camborne as a ‘dying town’.
“I went to sleep thinking of ways to disprove what had been said,” he said. “At about one in the morning I half woke with two very strong images, firstly Climax Choir standing on the steps of Trelowarren Street Chapel and secondly people dancing up Trelowarren Street being led by a steam engine. I also felt a wonderful ambiance about those images which I can still see and feel to this very day. The name of the occasion came easily to mind, Camborne Trevithick Day!”
Translating a dream into reality was no easy matter but, regardless of the setbacks and thanks in no small part to the drive and determination of Trevor and a small group of equally enthusiastic volunteers, the festival took place for the first time just one year later.
“That first Camborne Trevithick Day was fantastic,” remembers Trevor. “People were coming into town to do their usual shopping, saw what was going on and rushed back home to change into their best. That was a day I shall never forget, when the afternoon dance went through Trelowarren Street we were clapped and cheered from one end to the other. I felt ten feet tall. I have always believed that as long as the two dances go through the town on the last Saturday of April, irrespective of anything else, there will always be a Trevithick Day. Covid 19 has a lot to answer for!”
Trevor’s reminiscences are recorded here.