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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 19:22 GMT 20:22 UK
Cornwall marking Betjeman's birth
John Betjeman
John Betjeman died in 1984
Dozens of events have been taking place across Cornwall to mark what would have been the 100th birthday of one of Britain's most famous poets.

Sir John Betjeman, who was Poet Laureate from 1972 until his death in 1984, is buried in north Cornwall.

To commemorate the centenary of his birth in style, a 12-hour long Cornish birthday party was held on Monday.

Famous names who joined in the Polzeath event include Laurence Llewellyn Bowen, Harry Enfield and Martin Clunes.

'Enduring love'

Money raised by the day will go to the new Padstow Lifeboat Station.

Mr Betjeman's daughter, the writer Candida Lycett Green, said: "My father had an enduring love of Cornwall and I could think of no better place to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday."

The young John Betjeman spent holidays at Trebetherick and, years later, his poems captured Cornish life in a unique way.

Church bells chimed at 1200 BST, including St Enodoc, where he is buried.

Betjeman wrote the famous Summoned By Bells and organisers hope the move will show he has not been forgotten.

Art installation

On Monday, indie-rock group British Sea Power performed new tribute material to the poet.

Meanwhile talented scribers from across the UK flocked to the poetry tent to perform their work to eager listeners.

Millionaire poet Murray Lachlan Young was among them.

The finale ended with a "poetry slam" adjudicated by comedian Harry Enfield.

Cornish schools in the immediate Polzeath vicinity, including St Kew, St Minver, Padstow and Wadebridge Primary schools and Wadebridge Secondary School worked with a team of artists, writers, sculptors and dancers to over several weeks to create a unique art installation as a tribute the great man.

The day was expected to end with a celebrity auction in aid of the RNLI hosted by the flamboyant "Changing Rooms" star interior designer, Laurence Llewellyn Bowen.

Remembering Betjeman with bells
27 Jul 06 |  Cornwall


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