By Phil Westren
Contacted recently by Julian Waring from The Fishermen’s Mission, the Cornish Pirates immediately responded to a request to ask squad members to sign a piece of wood salvaged and cut from the baulks that in years past had protected Porthleven harbour.
It will be remembered that the baulks gave way in a terrific storm that severely hit Porthleven and all of Cornwall back in February, 2014, but the positive news is that the fragmented timber is now being put to good use, to raise monies for an auction in support of The Fishermen’s Mission.
At least 100 artists have already agreed to paint on to pieces of the wood, whilst others are working with the wood to create mosaics, etchings, ceramic and glass, and furniture, et cetera.
Rather than just get the players to sign a blank piece of timber handed to the Pirates, club officer Phil Westren decided to firstly paint the board in the team’s colours. Also, as an added bonus, he quite happily offered to paint another board using simple emulsion colours to create an image of Mount’s Bay.
When thanking the Pirates for their immediate support, Julian Waring commented:
“The Porthleven (SW Cornwall) Baulk Project is an imaginative, creative fundraiser. It is about creating beauty and hope from devastation, by using broken baulks, destroyed by fierce nature and re-forming them into a wide variety of unique and stunning art pieces. Out of loss and darkness comes hope!
“Ten boats sank in Porthleven harbour, and many fishermen lost floats, nets and crab pots when huge waves crashed through into the inner harbour. Work had already been impossible due to the extreme, on-going weather conditions and then the storms destroyed their means to catch.”
During that difficult time the The Fishermen's Mission charity supported fishermen and their families. Indeed, £110,000 was given to fishing families in the South West alone.
“Individually the Porthleven baulks are two tonnes of wood bolted together and with substantial metal caps. They are lifted into the harbour entrance by a crane. As a resident of Porthleven and a Regional Fundraising Manager for The Fishermen's Mission (in Cornwall), I would walk past the boat yard and look on at the broken pieces of the harbour defences and often think of the storms. An idea formed, permission to use the wood was granted and the Porthleven Baulk Project was launched.
“We now have a team of dedicated volunteers working on the project tirelessly, and we are so very grateful to the many creative people making innovative items from the broken baulks, which will then be sold at an auction in aid of the Charity.”
The auction will be held on 18th March in the Atlantic Inn, Porthleven, with an online auction as well. Each piece will have a letter of signed authenticity to prove that the pieces are from the Porthleven baulks.
Ahead of the exhibition all the images will be projected onto the Porthleven clock tower, the Bickford-Smith Institute building, on the anniversary of the damaging storm, and all items for auction will be on display at the Lifeboat House, Porthleven, from the 4th – 10th March.
This will be a unique opportunity to support The Fishermen's Mission by purchasing not only a piece of social history but a celebration of enduring talent. For more information please visit fishermensmission.org.uk