Choir Pays Tribute To Cornish Heroes

Thursday 2nd May, 2019 - 12:39am

On a very blustery April Saturday, Mousehole MVC were invited by the Great Western Railway to sing at the unveiling of one of GWR’s new Intercity Express Trains dedicated to heroes of Cornwall in a very special naming ceremony. One of the new Class 802 trains has the honour of carrying the names of Rick Rescorla and the Penlee Lifeboat – Solomon Browne, together with all the crew who lost their lives while trying to rescue the crew of the MV Union Star.

Rick, originally from Hayle, was Security Chief for Morgan Stanley at the World Trade Centre and is credited with saving the lives of over 2,500 people, as he evacuated them from the South Tower. Rick Rescorla’s widow, Susan was at the naming ceremony along with family and friends, and unveiled the plaque in honour of his memory. Following the 9/11 attack Rick led people down the stairs to safety and whilst doing this he sang Cornish songs as he went. The choir sang, in his memory, the traditional Cornish folk song An Rosen Wyn, ’The White Rose’.

An hour later, everyone assembled at the other end of the Class 802 train for the unveiling of the Solomon Browne plaque. This ceremony and the choir’s participation (and quoting Edward Wake-Walker) was a proud day for the people of Mousehole highlighting the indomitable spirit of Cornish seafaring blood and reminding the world that triumph is as much a part of Penlee lifesaving as tragedy. For the record it is worth reminding everyone of the eyewitness testimony of Lt-Cdr Russell Smith, USN who was on secondment to the Royal Navy and pilot of the SAR helicopter sent to assist in the rescue.

“The greatest act of courage that I have seen, or am ever likely to see was the penultimate courage and dedication shown by the Penlee (crew) when it manoeuvred back alongside the casualty (MV Union Star) in over 60-foot breakers and rescued four people shortly after the Penlee had been bashed on top of the casualty’s hatch covers. They were truly the bravest eight men I have ever seen, who were also totally dedicated to upholding the highest standards of the RNLI”

Following the unveiling of the plaque by Martin Brockman, the choir sang, in homage, Phil Coulter’s melody, ‘Home home from the sea’ Arranged by Tony Tournoff.

In between the ceremonies the choir gathered in the engine shed and sang to the general public for half an hour.

(Photographs courtesy of Matt Bromage & Marie Williams)

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