First Kernow buses have promised to repair the damage to their new Tinner buses caused by ‘anti – Cornish’ vandalism.
The first cases of damage to the Cornish language signage on the new buses were reported back in July, after Will Coleman had helped First Kernow launch the fleet of ‘Tinner’ buses earlier this year. The buses seem to have had the Cornish Language phrases, which are displayed prominently on the new fleet, deliberately vandalised and targeted.
Back in July CS reader Catherine Eustace of Hayle included us in a tweet to First Kernow to ask what they would be doing about this ‘hate crime’
With the damage still not repaired, we got onto First Kernow who said they were disappointed by the vandalism and would repair it ASAP.
The vandalism has also attracted the attention of influential campaign group Kernow Matters to Us ( The Cornish are a Nation on FB) who have now reported the incident to the police who record anti-Cornish acts such as these as hate crime now the Cornish have been recognised as a national minority.
Tony Leamon, a member of KMTU steering group said today “Our organisation notes with sadness the mindless vandalism which has occurred on First Kernow buses including the popular open topped St Ives to Land’s End service.
When First Bus introduced the Cornish language in signs on the buses, this development was met with widespread praise and gratitude.
Local residents and visitors alike welcomed this open celebration of Cornwall’s diversity and its resurgent indigenous language which has been formally and legally recognised since 2002.
We are very saddened indeed to receive reports of the Cornish language phrases on the vehicles being attacked by anti-Cornish activists with marker pens used to erase the Cornish words and with some signs being forcibly removed by offenders.
We believe these actions represent racially aggravated criminal damage and condemn them wholeheartedly”
KMTU are also now willing to put up a small reward to catch the perpetrator(s) .
Mr Leamon concluded “In drawing this matter to the attention of the police, the Equality and Diversity Advisor at Cornwall Council and the Council of Europe, we would add that following due consideration our Steering Group may offer a cash reward for information leading to the identification of such anti-Cornish racist offenders to the proper authorities”.
A spokesperson for First Kernow told Cornish Stuff this afternoon : “We were very disappointed when we discovered that the Cornish language signs on the seats of our new Tinner buses had been vandalised”
“The reaction that we have had from the community has been fantastic since we introduced this feature earlier this year, as well as the famous Cornish phrases on the back of our vehicles. We’ve always tried to positively engage with the community and it’s disappointing that the actions of some mindless individuals has attempted to spoil this.
However, this has not deterred us. We will be getting the buses repaired soon and we will continue to look for new ways to put the spotlight on Cornwall’s fantastic heritage.”
Tinner buses were launched by Man Engine creator Will Coleman of Golden Tree Productions in a ceremony on Lemon Quay in February.
A statement by Golden Tree at the time explained “Golden Tree Productions approached First Kernow with the idea of getting Kernewek out and about by incorporating it within their new fleets, and they loved the idea!
Golden Tree have created a list of everyday Cornish phrases, ranging from “Myttin da” (Good Morning), to “Gwerthji nik-nak” (Gift Shop). Now a ride on the bus is your chance for a free Kernewek lesson too! Read the phrases and have a go at saying them yourself, before visiting the ‘What’s Cornish For’ website (www.whatscornishfor.co.uk) and hear the phrases spoken out loud”
Will Coleman, Director of Golden Tree said, “Yth eson ni ow kavos daswelow splann dyworth tremenysi, neb anedha owth assaya kewsel Kernewek rag an kynsa prys. Ober da dhe First Kernow!” / (“We are getting fabulous feedback from passengers, some of whom are trying their hand at Kernewek for the first time. Proper Job to First Kernow!”)
First Kernow explained at the launch that this is only the start of incorporating the Cornish language across their entire fleet.