Winter arrived early at the Eden Project this year with the launch of “My Tree, My Community” on Saturday 28th November, with a little help from Gorsedh Kernow.
Children from eight local primary schools were asked to plan and host tea parties for their “elders” – grandparents, neighbours, family friends – who were invited to share stories of Christmas past and present in their community. Each class then spent a second day creating a theme for tree decorations to tell the stories they shared of community, of a lifetime of memories, of knowledge to be passed on and of unanswered questions for the future.
As well as getting heaps of guidance from their teachers and workshop leaders, the children were given a chance to meet and work alongside five bards of Gorsedh Kernow – the Cornish Gorsedd – who were delighted to be asked to take part in the “My Tree, My Community” project.
The eight schools that took part – Fowey, Mevagissey, Pondhu, Charlestown, Bishop Bronscombe, Lanlivery, Tywardreath and St Dennis – each came up with different themes inspired by stories, music, song and dance. Deep snow, Christmas presents and lovely cooking smells from food for the Christmas feast featured prominently but memories were also stirred that recalled hedge holly in place of a Christmas tree, make do and mend with homemade decorations and searching the skies for the Christmas Eve moon and stars.
Bard Jo Tagney (Donsyores Derow) played folk harp alongside Cornish singing and told stories of Mummers plays and singing sheep while bards Clarinda (Canores Porthysak) and Keith (Caner Plu Golom) Truscott introduced their groups to the Cornish language by way of Cornish carols.
Alison (Corolyores) and Merv (Telynor an Weryn) Davey, who also happens to be the Grand Bard of Cornwall, used Cornish song and dance inspired by themes of fishing to net a haul of memories from the past and images of fancy dress and the harsh winter of 1963.
“Gorsedh Kernow exists to help maintain and promote Cornish culture” said Grand Bard Merv Davey, “and Eden’s ‘My Tree, My Community’ project gave five of our bards the perfect opportunity to ‘Do Something for Cornwall’ and engage with over 400 schoolchildren and share a little bit of Cornish language, dance, song and storytelling with the children.”
The eight lit and decorated trees will be on display in the Eden Project reception area for the Christmas season.
If you would like to tell Gorsedh Kernow about how you are Doing Something for Cornwall please send your story, with a photo if possible, to firstname.lastname@example.org