'I think we should do a training day in Truro' said CSC's Chief Operating Officer Chris Fegan, shortly after I arrived back from the Isle of Arran. Naturally, I immediately said 'yes' - and we then spent several months putting together a plan to make the desire a reality.
Taking our training day tour to another new place was a very enticing prospect and anyway, there was always a chance I might bump into Demelza down in Truro.
Unfortunately this turned out not to be the case, but the entire expedition proved to be fabulously productive and we made lots of very important contacts in addition to impacting upon several community establishments.
The three days started off with me learning a great deal too. The only feasible way to travel from Teesside to Truro turned out to be a train to Manchester followed by a flight to Newquay Airport. I had never flown before so my own personal comfort zone was considerably extended even before a single pawn was pushed. What an experience!
Stuart Roden, Truro City Council Councillor, helped Chris and I throughout our three days, showing great kindness and support. Stuart and Chris were there to welcome me at the airport.
Soon it was time for our first port of call - the Truro Community Library. We had already sent chess sets to the library so community wheels were already in motion.
I love to learn about the history of the places I visit and Chris informed me regarding the work of Truro philanthropist John Passmore Edwards M.P. This library is one of 70 major buildings originally funded by his bequests.
Chess aficionados will know that Britain's finest player, Michael Adams, hails from Truro.
The library is very close to another very impressive building - the Truro Cathedral.
It was good to see our event listed on the internal library board. Chris speculated that we could make chess even more popular if we recruited Madonna but I'm not so sure she was the Material Girl in the Medium Community Room. Either way, I am pleased we kept top billing.
On to the training session...and Chris and I were delighted by the amount of people who had enrolled for the day. The delegates included representatives from schools, libraries and chess clubs. Robin Kneebone, who has been organising chess events since the late 1960s, participated too. Chris and Robin have been friends for many years so it was quite a reunion.
Chris made the opening remarks and then went shopping...for the lunches.
All of the delegates worked very hard throughout the day. It was wonderful to hear all their own stories and to learn about their backgrounds in chess and education. It was very clear we had encountered an area of great enthusiasm.
Mini-games were soon in progress...
...and before too long we had volunteers walking around the room in the style of chess pieces.
|The COO arrives back from the Co-op|
|Robin and Chris - reunited|
|Stuart called in to address the delegates|
We even managed to fit in a visit to Truro's chess club, where we found Robin involved in a team Rapidplay match.
The chess club enjoyed excellent facilities. Robin has been personally responsible for raising the standards of local chess clubs and it is something other areas should try and replicate.
It had been a long and excellent day and we had achieved a great deal.
The expedition continued the following morning, with an 8.00 a.m. meeting with the Headteacher of Devoran School, which went very well indeed.
There was still one more meeting to squeeze in and that was over in Falmouth, which meant becoming acquainted with the local bus service.
The legacy of Passmore Edwards was further in evidence in Falmouth, as we made the initial moves in setting up a brand new library chess group.
|The library had recently had an exhibition of automations |
and this magnificent example was still on display
|With Jayne Cardew at Falmouth Library|
This was where the famous raid on St Nazaire was launched, in which an explosive-laden HMS Campbeltown was deliberately rammed into Normandy dry dock. It was dubbed 'The Greatest Raid of All'.
Time to head back home. Taxi, plane, train...
Thank you, people of Cornwall! Where to next, I wonder? Well, at least two people mentioned a desire to see a training day in Devon...