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London Cornish Association celebrates 130th anniversary

14 March 2016

LCA Group Photo.jpg

The London Cornish Association celebrated its 130th Anniversary with the annual lunch on the 12th of March. Presiding over the event was Sir John Trelawny, the 14th Baronet, directly descended from the Trelawny who was sent to the Tower of London. Tom Varcoe, Philanthropy Advisor of the CCF, gave an intensely personal and inspirational story, how, after a successful business career in London, he came back to Fowey to start a local enterprise, and to raise his family. Tom also talked about CCF's new innovative scheme for second home owners in Cornwall, who are now invited to donate one week's rent per annum, or if the property is not rented, its equivalent, to help the CCF’s work.

Tom Varcoe said "It was a huge pleasure to be invited to be guest speaker at the 130th annual meeting and lunch of the London Cornish Association and to learn first-hand about the remarkable history of the organisations that have been a focal point for so many Cornish people outside the Duchy, for well over a century and a half. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the excellent lunch and I'm glad to report that the spirit of Cornwall is alive and well beyond the Tamar! An interesting aspect of the work of the LCA is the coordination and sharing of news from groups of Cornish expatriates living all over the world, many of them descendants of Cornish people who left the Duchy during the nineteenth century in search of work in the mining industry. It was fascinating to learn that so many of these groups are still thriving and so closely linked to their Cornish roots.
As is often the case when a room full of Cornish get chatting, I was delighted to meet the brother of a man whose family I knew well as a child and whose mother in law taught me how to make pasties - it's a small world, and especially if you're Cornish!"

LCA Chairman Dr Francis Dunstan revealed that a Cornish dining club had been founded in London in 1768! The only qualification to be a member was: "... that the person proposed should be a native of Cornwall, or the possessor of property in Cornwall." There were simple rules. Fines for breaking them had a usual penalty of a gallon of claret! This dining club seems to have survived until the 1840s. The present London Cornish Association’s origins go back to a dinner in 1886.

Dr Francis Dunstan also welcomed representatives of Cornish Associations. The LCA keeps in regular contact with other Cornish Associations, not only in the UK, but world-wide. It has close links with the Gorsedh Kernow, holds an annual Trelawny Lecture on a Cornish topic, and has two Family History days a year, with speakers usually from Cornwall. It even offers a visiting service to any Cornish in-patient in a London hospital. Find more about the LCA here www.londoncornish.co.uk

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