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4.4.10

Use the language! Call to National Trust

The secretary of the Kernow branch of Celtic League is asking members of the League to support him in an attempt call on the National Trust to use the Cornish language on its properties in Cornwall.

Following on from a decision by the branch to persuade the National Trust to use dual language signs on its properties in line with Scotland and Wales, Mr Chappell has resolved to take the issue to the National Trust's Annual General Meeting (AGM) this year. In a letter to Mr Chappell, a `Regional' Manager for the National Trust, laid out the guidelines for submitting a resolution to the Trust's AGM. The letter states:

"With regards to submitting a resolution to be debated at the AGM, our Parliamentary Scheme requires that:

- it is sent to the Secretary to arrive not later than the close of business on 1 June (or if 1 June is not a working day, the first working day after 1 June)

- that it is signed by not less than fifty members who have been members of the Charity since no later than 1 January in the year before the year in which the resolution is submitted of whom five have signed as 'proposes' and the others have signed as 'supporters' .

There will also be the opportunity to put questions to the Chairman and Director-General in the afternoon and if you would like to send in your question beforehand this would allow us to research your question and enable us to give you a full response."

The Kernow branch were encouraged to pursue the campaign against the National Trust following a message of support from Scottish academic Professor Kenneth Mackinnon earlier this year. Mr MacKinnon pointed out that it was only through campaigning against the Trust in Scotland that the Gaelic language was finally included on signs at its properties. In Wales the Welsh language is also used on signs at National Trust properties, but in Cornwall, the branch argues, the Cornish language is distinctly lacking.

In November last year a dual language road sign policy was adopted by Cornwall Council and the branch also point out that many English Heritage managed properties in Cornwall now use the Cornish language on its signs. Further arguments put forward by the branch for the Trust to use the Cornish language are that there are an increasing number of Cornish speakers in Cornwall who use National Trust properties and that most of the older properties managed by the National Trust in Cornwall were built by a local population of Cornish speakers.

The Branch is therefore appealing to National Trust members and supporters throughout the Celtic nations to join the campaign by signing a petition calling for a resolution to be tabled at the Trust's AGM. The branch would like all those prepared to sign such a petition to contact Mr. Chappell on the branch email address of kernow-AT-celticleague.net or via the Celtic League's website.

Mr. Chappell said, "As a member of the National Trust but also as a student of the Cornish language, I would remind the Trust that heritage and history does not reside in bricks and mortar alone but in the culture and the language of those people connected with ancient buildings and other monuments. I am pleased that the Trust intends to make use of Kernewek on its Internet website but we need to see it being celebrated openly. I hope to attend the National Trust's AGM in order to make this point."

The AGM of the National trust will be held on Saturday 30 October at STEAM in Swindon in the morning.

This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League.

03/03/10

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

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