Dawn French ‘paints the town yellow’ in Falmouth

March 30th, 2015

Falmouth was alive with pipers, cheering children and well-wishers last Thursday as comic legend Dawn French was installed as the new chancellor of Falmouth University.

The Paint the Town Yellow parade started the proceedings, leaving The Moor at 10.50am and making its way to Falmouth Parish Church. Pupils from ten local schools handed over daffodils along the route.

The academic procession, including Dawn, left The Moor at 11am and was led through the town by Kernow Pipes and Drums with the mayors and macebearers from Falmouth University, and Penryn and Falmouth Town Councils.

During her speech at the installation ceremony in King Charles the Martyr Church, Dawn highlighted the importance of art courses in universities and took a pop at the education secretary Nicky Morgan for discouraging students from taking art degrees. But her speech was also peppered with humour as you would expect. She compared being installed as chancellor to being installed like a fridge and promised to literally fight every other chancellor in the country, with weapons, to protect and uphold the reputation of Falmouth University. She said it was an extreme honour to be chosen as chancellor and she would do everything she could to uphold that honour.

Following the installation the Chancellor’s Procession left the church and made its way to Pendennis Castle. The Lizard Stallions and coach took Dawn and the vice-chancellor to a reception, led along the sea front and up to Pendennis Castle by the Kernow Pipes and Drums. Guests were then treated to a variety of entertainment and a sit down meal in a specially constructed marquee in the grounds of the castle.

Dawn’s ceremonial gown was designed by students from the Fashion and Textiles Institute where a small team collaborated to design the fabric, which has a Cornish theme including Cornish flora and tartan. A dedication to Dawn from the students has been sewn into the inside of the gown along with a ribbon design where all those involved have inserted a stitch.

The headpiece, which is a contemporary update on the traditional cap, is made from precious metals including serpentine and has been created by Mirri Damer, a contemporary jeweller based in Cornwall, with the students who have worked on the gown. The creation of the gown and headpiece was a “top secret” operation with very few catching a glimpse of them before the day.

The Valley’s luxury holiday accommodation Cornwall is only four miles from the Falmouth University campus in Penryn and is a popular choice for many parents coming to the area to visit their sons and daughters during term time.