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Tributes to St Just 'man of the people', Francis Angwin

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

Francis Angwin, pictured as St Just's mayor in 1997.

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a friendly and larger-than-life St Just character, who was well known for his work as a door-to-door butcher, "Italian-style" singing voice and decades of service to the town council.

Francis Angwin, who died on Sunday aged 81, was twice mayor of St Just in his 42 years on the town council and also served as a councillor on Penwith District Council.

A bard of the Cornish Gorsedd he was highly regarded for his exhaustive local knowledge, partly acquired through his years as a butcher, as well as singing as a tenor in both Penzance and St Just Operatic Societies.

Although he spent some years working as a farmer, he is perhaps better known to some for his time at the family butcher's, known as Angwin Bros.

His wife, Ethel, told The Cornishman he would like to be remembered as an advocate of Cornwall and its tradition.

She said: "If he was to be remembered, it would be as someone who believed the tradition of Cornwall should be carried on; days such as Trevithick Day, to keep them going.

His son Mark added: "He wanted to keep jobs in the area. He was friendly. Whenever he came into the room he was cheerful.

"It would take quite adverse circumstances for Father to not be cheerful," said his other son, Alastair.

"He spoke to everyone, he was friendly because of his character, he got to talk to everybody in the local community."

Francis Angwin was born in the house which he lived in for most of his life, on Carrallack Terrace, St Just; built by his grandfather at the turn of the 20th century.

One of three children, he is survived by his brother Ivan and sister Barbara, as well as two sons, and two grandchildren.

Mrs Angwin was named St Just Citizen of the Year less than two weeks ago on Feast Sunday, at the same ceremony he was recognised for his service to the council.

Having first joined St Just Town Council in 1970, he stepped down only earlier this year, having served as mayor from 1991 to 1993 and again from 1997 to 1998.

He was one of only five town councillors across Penwith to be highlighted as having a 100 per cent attendance rate for council meetings by The Cornishman earlier this year.

Current Cornwall councillor to St Just Chris Goninan said Francis was the reason he got into local politics.

He said: "I wouldn't have been in politics if it wasn't for Francis Angwin. He certainly was very, very concerned about the issues affecting St Just people."

Town mayor Sue James added: "It was my privilege to give Francis a small gift from the town council, expressing our appreciation of his 42 years as a councillor. He told me, 'I did it for the people of St Just and have never looked to get anything back'.

"Francis was one of those local characters who will be remembered by many in the community for many years."

Former chairman of Penwith District Council Malcolm Pilcher met Francis when he served as a councillor.

He said: "We became great friends. As far as I'm concerned he spoke for the people of St Just. He was widely respected and will be greatly missed."

A tenor, Francis was famed for his singing voice, and sung in many local music groups.

A strong believer in local issues, he marched on London to lobby Parliament to keep Geevor Tin Mine open and was actively involved in campaigns to save West Cornwall Hospital.

He was named a bard of the Cornish Gorsedd in 1999 for his service to the county; given the title, Gwas Lafrowda, a reflection of his work as a councillor and vast local knowledge.

An active member of St Just Old Cornwall Society with Ethel, he built a reputation for his encyclopaedic knowledge of St Just.

As dialect recorder, he was said to be extremely knowledgeable on local history, Cornish sayings and words.

President of the St Just branch, John Harry said: "I've known him since I was a very small child.

"We'll never be able to replace him. It just wont be the same without Francis."

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  • trenharvey  |  November 15 2012, 10:42PM

    Very sad to hear of the passing of Francis. We always managed to meet and have a 'chat' when I came back to Cornwall from Australia , about every couple of years." RIP" Tren Harvey.

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  • youngcornwall  |  November 15 2012, 2:25PM

    Yes everyone knew Francis, and I remember how his operatic voice would carry across the square when he lived above the bluchers shop while doing his practising. RIP.

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  • D-Head  |  November 15 2012, 12:16PM

    How sad. Francis was a lovely man and, as a councillor, had an attribute you rarely see in councillors today: INTEGRITY. Goodbye old friend.....

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  • Lafrowda  |  November 15 2012, 9:27AM

    A fulsome tribute. I never met him but St Just can ill afford to lose such public spirited citizens.

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  • Carvath  |  November 15 2012, 8:09AM

    RIP Francis.

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