Towns owe Eric a debt for maintaining St Nazaire services

The Packet's Pendennis Point of View columnist Mike Truscott looks back at 30 years of service from the St Nazaire Society's South West representative Eric Dawkins - and why both Falmouth and Penryn owe him a debt of gratitude.

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Eric Dawkins’ decision to stand down after 30 years as the St Nazaire Society’s South West representative reminds me of just how much the Falmouth-Penryn area is in his debt.

Eric has played a key role in maintaining and enhancing the annual Falmouth service that commemorates one of the epic Second World War events.

Rewind to the 1970s, though, and you would have seen him in much higher profile as he brought his own unique style to the post of Carrick amenities officer.

I recall him riding a pony and trap along Falmouth’s seafront to whip up holiday publicity for the resort . . . and rolling up his trousers and wading in for the first “Great Tide Race” event at Maenporth Beach.

He subsequently served as Town Clerk for both Falmouth and Penryn (not simultaneously, although I’m sure he would have managed okay) and here, too, convention and custom were not top of his priorities.

At a civic luncheon at the Green Lawns Hotel – with the room all hushed and formal – he was asked to say grace.

There were some raised eyebrows when he responded thus: “Oh Lord, please do not make us like porridge: stiff and stodgy. Make us more like corn flakes: crisp and ready to serve.” And that was it!

Eric would also amuse, and mystify, with his council minutes. In his last set before Falmouth’s local elections in 1987, he mischievously displayed his seemingly immense vocabulary.

His final phrases included “a disquisition of dissyllabic monomania” and “a display of noology to the perplexity of members.”

And Allan Hopton, noted for his striking Scottish accent, was praised by Eric for “his egregrious chairmanship” of a committee “despite his linguistic problems with inter-communications!”

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