Sailors from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose have added some ‘Naval Muscle’ to Helston’s Town Tidy week in preparation for the town’s annual Flora Day pageant.
Armed with spades, racks, rubble sacks and determination the team of Phase 2 trainee Air Engineering Technicians (AETs), soon cleared away years of overgrowth along a stretch of the major route which brings thousands of people to the Town. The welcomed visitors flock to Helston along The Furry, named after the traditional dance, which is close to the Culdrose trainees West Cornwall Naval Air Base.
Brian Curtiss from the Helston Town Tidy Group which helped arrange the clean-up, is involved in sign and street cleaning around the town which helps boost Helston’s profile said: “It’s about taking ownership of the town and fostering a sense of pride in where we live. The guys from Culdrose are always welcome; they are a big part of our community”.
Organising the sailors was Chief Petty Officer Jon Walsh, from Porthleven who knows how special the area is and was delighted to be able to pay back something to the town. “With Culdrose’s location and many naval personnel living and settling in the Helston area, it is especially important we maintain strong links with the local community – it is a real privilege to get involved.”
Flora Day is a centuries-old tradition that has seen generations of Helstonians dance through the busy market town, banishing winter and welcoming spring and is one of the great annually anticipated traditional events in the Cornish Calendar.
Local people will tell you it represents more than simply wearing fine clothes and doing the “Furry Dance” through the streets. It’s a community coming together, promoting hope for the future and the lifting of spirits. To some Helstonians it is better than Christmas.
Phase 2 Trainee AET Paul Stevenson was also proud to be able to lend a hand and help the town out.
Upon receiving his invitation to attend Flora Day he said, “This will be my first time attending Flora Day dances; I’ve heard some really good things about the day, we are all extremely excited already.”
The young sailors didn’t stop there when it came to soaking up local history and Cornish culture.
After their efforts with the Town Tidy they set off for a visit to the Helston Folk Museum, notable for its 18th Century Naval cannon from HMS Anson, which run aground near Porthleven.
The iconic gate guard for the museum was recovered by Navy scuba-divers in the 1960s alongside several others; one of which has pride of place at RNAS Culdrose.