We aim to build an online resource of audio and video interviews of people who remember the famous Cornish Member of Parliament - David Penhaligon. 2014 is the fortieth anniversary of his first election to parliament and the personal memories of those in Cornwall and outside Cornwall of the Member of Parliament for Truro from October 1974 - 1986 will form the basis of a permanent archive about this famous MP. We aim to interview those that knew Penhaligon well but also get personal memories from as many of those that met him.

Did you know or meet David Penhaligon?

This project, hosted by students of the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus and Falmouth University, aims to record the memories of friends and acquaintances of David Penhaligon – MP for Truro from 1974 to 1986.

We aim to build a website which will host the recorded memories, audio or video, of interviews with those that wish to contribute to the project. Many of these interviews will come from his native Cornwall, whether from school friends at Truro School, at Cornwall Technical College, when he was an engineer at Holman Brothers or as the sub-post master at Chacewater.

Of course, most of the interviews will focus on his time as a Liberal candidate, then Member of Parliament for Truro. Penhaligon first contested Totnes in 1970 and then Truro twice in 1974, winning at the second attempt. He increased his narrow majority in 1979 and again in 1983. Many Cornish residents will have memories of these elections and of David as a hard-working local MP in Cornwall and we really want to capture these memories, however personal.

To achieve a credible picture of David Penhaligon we want as many interviews as possible, whether you met him once when he knocked on your door in an election campaign or if you were close friends. We want to make this website an online resource for local and historical research into one of Cornwall’s most famous voices.

However, his fame and popularity was not limited by the banks of the Tamar and he became the Treasury spokesman for the Liberal Party in Parliament under the leadership of David Steel and even became President of the Liberal Party. Many members of the party will also have memories of his political life and we also want to capture these memories too.

Our website will have the capacity to upload interviews and we will locate them either where the contributor is from or where the meeting with Penhaligon happened, building up a patchwork of memories across Cornwall and the rest of the country. We will also welcome photographs of those contributing and any with David himself, to build up a genuine archive of knowledge.

Where your money will go!

The money raised will be spent in two ways: firstly we need to build the website and this isn’t just a simple website that we can design ourselves as it needs to have the capacity for contributors to be able to upload their video and audio recordings. We also want to build an online map of all those memories as we suspect lots of people across Cornwall and the rest of the UK will have met David and want to record their thoughts.

Secondly, we want to make sure that we get those that knew him best to contribute to the project, with in-depth interviews that we want to conduct ourselves, inside and outside Cornwall. Some of those that knew him best may no longer live in Cornwall, and let’s be honest may not have the technical knowhow to upload video logs to our site. So we think it’s best to do some of these ourselves to build the catalogue. Some of the money raised will go to paying for train tickets and petrol for some of our volunteer interviewers to travel to conduct these interviews.

A very special reward for your donations

As well as supporting the construction of the website to reward our higher donors we have decided to commission a special portait of David Penhaligon by a Cornish artist. If you donate £50 or more (With the exception of the £75 reward) you will recieve anything from a print up to a full sized print of this picture: depending on the level of your generosity!

(We would like to thank Stephen Gilbert MP, The Masons Arms - Falmouth, Merlin Cinemas Cornwall & the Institute of Cornish Studies for their generosity in providing our great rewards!)

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