Photo: When Man Engine came to Camborne.

He was big, bigger than expected, and so were the crowds that came to Camborne to experience the magnificent Man Engine.

The event was so popular over 16,000 people packed into Trelowarren Street – many more than the UK’s largest puppet attracted even in Truro. And as the crowds enjoyed themselves, the local businesses benefited.

 Bringing the uplifting spectacle to the town was a challenge, but in the words of Will Coleman, Master of Ceremonies and the puppet’s creator: “Camborne is where this county’s mining heritage kicked off.”

This masterpiece of organisation was funded, with the help of Camborne Town Council, by BID Camborne. Once the event date was secured, BID also organised the route, the publicity, teams of volunteers to ensure crowd safety and enjoyment, produced and distributed thousands of event guides, created information boards and kept businesses and residents updated with all the necessary information – especially in the hours leading up to the event when changes had to be made as it became clear just how popular the occasion would be.

Man Engine appeared at many towns during his epic journey through the county, but only in Camborne was he greeted by the enormous Levantosaur dinosaur and offered a traditional miner’s lunch – a giant pasty – created by local bakers, Berryman’s.

Man Engine wasn’t the only one enjoying lunch. Assistant Manager of Warrens bakery, Trudy Graver, said: “It was packed in town, we never stopped, which was great for business.”

Berryman’s Director, Rob Vingoe, said: “It certainly was a boost for trade and quite intense, particularly around lunchtime. I was too busy to see Man Engine, but I watched the live feed on the Camborne Town website.”

Other shops in the town centre also reported a bumper day. Anna Laity, Manager of Whirlwind Sports in Commercial Street said she’d noticed a massive and very welcome increase in footfall on the day.

The event has also created a lasting reminder of Camborne’s world-influencing heritage and fueled local pride in being Cornish.

Glynis Charlesworth, owner of Cross Street News and chair of Camborne Chamber of Commerce, said: “We expected to sell lots of extra snacks and drinks on the day, which we did, but the good feeling has lasted way beyond the event. I had information leaflets on my counter and I’ve left them out because so many people have been back to ask for one as a keepsake.”

BID Camborne Manager, Mell Martin said: “Man Engine’s visit to Camborne was the biggest summer event we’ve seen in town for years and a tremendous success. We’d like to say a particular thank you to The British Heart Foundation and WH Smith who, for safety reasons, had to close their shops during Man Engine’s transformation. We’d also like to congratulate Golden Tree for a magnificent production.”

Will Coleman from Golden Tree, said: “It was a special day in Camborne, honouring Trevithick and the engineering pioneers of Cornish Mining, with a lovely friendly family crowd gathered around to celebrate our heritage and look to the future together.”


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