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For a great deal of the morning of St Ives Feast Day 2020, it rained. Sometimes very hard. But very few people seemed to mind. Okay, there were one of two outbreaks of tiers as St Uny primary school youngsters gathered in the Tate Loggia to await the civic parade, but on the whole the weather — and there were long outbreaks of sunshine — was ignored.

Civic parade Porthmeor
The civic parade at Porthmeor, after the visit to St Ia well

Having made the annual pilgrimage to St Ia well, below the cemetery, the civic parade. led by mayor, Tony Harris, was joined by the children and the Bagas Porthia band, for a procession through town to the parish church.

Bagas Porthia in St Eia church
Bagas Porthia in St Ia Church

A large crowd were welcomed into the beautiful church where the band played again and the children encouraged everyone — including the civic party — to join in dancing. From there everyone walked outside to await the church clock striking 10.30am and the hurling of the silver ball.

Mayor silver ball
Mayor Tony Harris prepares to throw the silver ball

A gaggle of older children waited on the beach below the church for a ceremony dating back hundreds of years. Thrown by the mayor from the wall of the church, the ball is caught by a member of the waiting crowd and passed through the streets and along the beaches.

Feast Day children beach
Waiting on the beach for the silver ball to be thrown

Whoever presents it to the mayor at the Guildhall as the clock strikes noon receives a silver coin, and this year that was a little girl called Jaden, who now has a memory to treasure.

Jaden with silver ball
Young Jaden returns the silver ball to the mayor at noon

A final tradition is the distributing of Feast Day pennies to the children of the parish. Well, I say distributing. The mayor and fellow councillors throw them from the Guildhall balcony and the youngsters scrabble for them on the ground (there was a handing out for tots beforehand which was less of a mass bundle).

Catching pennies
Catching Feast Day pennies outside the Guildhall

Perhaps in the cards of increasing electronic payment these pennies — just ordinary 1p pieces — will become something this children will keep as a memento of a long St Ives tradition. It certainly made for a good ending to an interesting morning.