GLASSES were raised and many happy times recalled as the town of Callington said farewell to one of its most treasured sons.
John Trevithick, reviver of Honey Fair, Cornish Bard, former portreeve and town councillor, retained firefighter, family man, fair man, and a ‘true son of Callington’: this is how he was described as town crier Tony Stentiford rang out the bell and announced a day to celebrate John’s life.
The man to many simply known as ‘Callington John’ died in February of this year. Honey Fair Day, at the start of October, was the chance for his family to hold the wake they had wanted for him at the time, but could not have, due to the restrictions.
The tributes began with the dedication of a bench in the Saltash Road Recreation Ground, paid for by the Town Council with a contribution from Rowland’s Fair, with whom John had worked since a young boy of 11.
Deputy portreeve Suz Tolman said: “We wanted a fitting memorial to John. I’ve known him all my life and when I joined the Town Council, it was he who gave me the best advice.
“When John died, part of the heart of Callington died.”
The bench takes in views of everything special and meaningful to John, explained his wife June.
“It’s Kit Hill there and the bonfires for midsummer, his old school, and home. He was born and bred in Callington, he lived in just two homes here.”
The week before Honey Fair would have been John’s birthday and the couple’s wedding anniversary, she said.
“We were married 56 years, and I miss him. I feel that the whole town is behind him. And I think he would have been proud that I’m carrying on doing things for the town.”
In the afternoon, there was an open invitation to the Bulls Head, where each Honey Fair Day, John would have been found, welcoming all, and conversing with young and old, instantly recognisable in his tartan hat with the dangling bees.
“He was buried with his famous hat,” said June.
“In his will he said ‘all I want is for my friends to have a booze up’ – he wanted everyone to celebrate.”
John’s family extended a heartfelt thankyou to David Rowland Junior and Callington Town Council for the memorial bench; to the Bulls Head pub for the buffet and their hospitality; and to Billy Horner for providing musical entertainment.
“We would also like to thank people for the many cards, flowers, donations and messages we received at the time of John’s death. We raised £1,000 for the Firefighters Charity.”
Honey Fair was mostly virtual this year, but there was still a chance for all ages to take part, as youngsters created artwork and the Lions delivered out delicious cream teas around the town – subscribing very much to John’s ethos that ‘life is for living’.
With typical dynamism, it had been a chance conversation with an old-timer in Fore Street that spurred John on to bring the town’s fair back to life in 1978, said his son Paul.
“For those next months after that conversation he absolutely lived it. He put his heart and soul into it. Honey Fair will be a lasting legacy.”