by Jack Bolitho of the Kernow Calling group
Anyone who has any connection with Cornwall will probably have experienced one of the many towns feast days.
Anyone who has any connection with St. Just will know what a special time it is and how much it means to the small town.
Which is why we were called this week by residents who were upset that the flag of St George, rather than our Cornish National flag, was flying from the top of the Church steeple.
It was clear that tensions were high in the town and when we arrived.
We even saw one local man jeered in one of the pubs for wearing an England jacket!
Most people in St Just felt flying the English flag was a foolish statement for the Church to make.
It was inflammatory and insulting to the people of St. Just, and to the many visitors that came from far and wide to enjoy feast day.
A coach load of singers from Newquay said they “felt like turning the bus around and going home” at the sight of the English flag as they approached the town.
Even local celebrity Johnny Cowling expressed his shock and disappointment!
Later on, after talk turned more sinister in the pubs with youths threatening to scale the high church and with two men were even overheard to be discussing whether they could shoot down the flag pole with a shotgun.
So KernowCalling decided to step in and take peaceful protest action.
At 9.30 this morning, (the final day of feast celebrations, A KernowCalling member, aided by two members from Bude and a member from Camelford, entered the parish church and one activist entered through a hatch and climbed the high belfry tower and replaced the flag of england with 12foot length of St. Pirans bunting.
The operation was a success and within minutes of the action taken, the church caretaker was seen running into the building carrying a black and white cross – The National flag of Cornwall and proceeded to hastily raise it!
The members involved were confident enough to stay around the square to watch the traditional hunt gather, despite the threat that the police had been informed.
As the crowds gathered to see off the hunt, it was clear that there was huge support for the action and many people expressed their thanks along with their words of support for the team involved.
We condemn the flying of the flag of St. george in Cornwall and believe it to be inflammatory and could lead to breach of the peace.
We will continue to support our members who take action in removing these flags.
Congratulations to all involved and we hope this will send a clear message to anyone who insists on causing offence to the people of Cornwall by raising the english flag over our towns and villages.
Oll an gwella.