Jeff Weaver, David Trott, Simon Whattler, Nigel Martin, Nick Compton.
A Royal Visit
The Wreckers were delighted to have been asked to take part in the visit to Bude by their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. For their stroll down Belle Vue they were accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, the Mayor of Bude-Stratton Paula Dolphin, and others.
It was a gloriously sunny day and we set up by the Triangle (with that side of the road to ourselves), in readiness for the Royal visitors. As the visitors were a little late, we had the opportunity to stretch our voices and entertain the waiting crowd at the same time, with part of our standard repertoire.
As the visitors approached, with precision timing we started “Cornwall My Home” – and were pleased that they stopped to listen. Pleasure turned to pride as we were each greeted by the couple, with Cornish kllts, the weather, and the wrecking of the Bencoolen among the talking points. Their departure to their next engagement at The Castle, was accompanied by a powerful rendition of “Trelawny”
A very special event took place on Sunday 21 October 2012 – exactly 150 years to the day when the Bencoolen was wrecked in Bude after encountering severe storms in the Irish Sea on the way from Liverpool to Bombay.
A memorial service was held in St Michael’s Church, Bude to remember the 26 from a crew of 33 who died. Sadly most bodies were never recovered. The service was led by the Rev’d David Barnes after which a wreath and roses were laid by the memorial stone in the graveyard. The hymn ‘Lower Light’ was sung and the Last Post sounded.
The bell from the Bencoolen was brought to Bude specially for the occasion. T H Hills bought the ship’s bell for 50 shillings (£2.50 for those not familiar with pre-decimal currency) and transported it back to Port Isaac in the ‘Telegraph’. The bell was later hung in a small wooden belfry on what was the Roscarrock Hill Chapel and was rung on Sundays to ‘call the faithful to worship’. The old chapel is now the Port Isaac Pottery and the owners kindly lent the bell to Mr Maurice Brown of Camelford, formerly of Port Isaac, for the service.
After the service, where else to retreat to but the Bencoolen Inn? – to give thanks, and to celebrate the lives of those who had died, with much singing and a little poetry.
The Wreckers were joined by the Boscastle Buoys, Newquay Rowing Club Singers and the St Merryn Singers – with visitors from Padstow and Liverpool – plus representatives from RNLI, HM Coastguards and Old Cornwall Society. However, the most impressive guests were Cornish group Fortuity, the award-winning ladies acapella harmony quartet.
Thanks to Nigel Martin and Chris Bale for organising the event, to all who helped in whatever way, plus special thanks to the hosts for the afternoon – Juan & Lorraine Puerta Terron.