The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Rev Bill Ind has been named today as the first to receive a prestigious new award, honouring the person who is considered to be the living embodiment of the spirit of Cornwall'.

The Trelawny Plate Award is intended to be a direct link between Bishop Jonathan Trelawny, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1688 by King James I, and those who stand up for Cornwall's integrity today. Sir John Trelawny, the 13th Baronet, says that the award will be a living memorial to Bishop Trelawny and his place in the affections of the Cornish people. "We have had a judging panel drawn from eminent people of all walks of life" he said, "and although we considered the names of a considerable number of possible recipients, Bishop Bill has come through a clear winner with the support of all the panel - and we are all delighted."

Bishop Trelawny lives on in "The Song of the Western Men" written by the Revd Robert Stephen Hawker of Morwenstow in the 1820s, to commemorate the pledge by twenty thousand Cornishmen that they would march to free Bishop Jonathan Trelawny from the Tower. The song is better known today as Cornwall's unofficial anthem with its familiar refrain regularly heard at Twickenham and anywhere in the world that the Cornish teams play "And shall Trelawny die? And shall Trelawny die?

Here's twenty thousand Cornish men will know the reason why!"

Sir John Trelawny will make the award to Bishop Bill at Pelynt Church on June 29 during a special service to be attended by the Lord Lieutenant for Cornwall, Lady Mary Holborow, and 220 invited guests.

Bishop Bill will be given a hand-crafted replica of Bishop Trelawny's plate, which has been made by Jeremy Gilbert, a craftsman in silver and pewter from St Justin, the jewellery specialists of Longrock, near Penzance. The original plate was made shortly after 1707 and it bears the arms of Sir Jonathan, the arms of the Order of the Garter, a Bishop's mitre and pewter marks. "This was the Bishop's personal plate" says Sir John "and it looks well used, so he must have been happy with it."

Bishop Bill, who will preach at the Pelynt service, said that he was humbled, embarrassed and delighted to have been chosen to receive the Trelawny Plate. "I really don't feel I have done anything special to deserve this award," he says. " It's really like the love of God - totally undeserved, totally unexpected - but I'm bloody glad to receive it."

The Bishop added: "I have simply done my job and tried to be available for people. But it is important for those outside Cornwall to recognise the uniqueness of the Cornish spirit. Cornwall is a centre of industry, art, music and culture that is quite different from anywhere else, and I believe we should take every opportunity to talk Cornwall up. That enables people like me to draw people's attention to the very raw deal that the Cornish have received from successive Governments, especially through social deprivation, industry being taken away from the county, and the rising threats to agriculture and home ownership."

The Bishop, who will retire next April, says he recognises the problems facing Cornwall but remains optimistic for the future. "There is a wonderful spirit about Cornwall and the Cornish," he says "people here care more about being Cornish than about anything else - and that means that they will always stand firm for the things which they believe in, and which have made people and place unique."