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The singing butcher who loved his county

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 17, 2012

Francis Angwin, pictured as St Just's mayor in 1997

Francis Angwin, pictured as St Just's mayor in 1997

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A larger-than-life character, who was well known for his work as a door-to-door butcher, "Italian-style" singing voice and decades-long service to his town council has passed away.

Francis Angwin, who died on Sunday aged 81, was twice mayor of St Just in his 42 years on the town council and also served as a councillor on Penwith District Council.

A bard of the Cornish Gorsedd, he was highly regarded for his exhaustive local knowledge, partly acquired through his years as a butcher, as well as singing as a tenor in both Penzance and St Just Operatic Societies.

Although he spent some years working as a farmer, he is perhaps better known to some for his time at the family butchers, known as Angwin Bros, where he was well liked for his friendly nature.

His wife, Ethel, said he would like to be remembered as an advocate of Cornwall and its tradition.

She said: "If he was to be remembered, it would be as someone who believed the tradition of Cornwall should be carried on; days such as Trevithick Day, to keep them going.

His son Mark added: "He wanted to keep jobs in the area. He was friendly. Whenever he came into the room he was cheerful.

"It would take quite adverse circumstances for Father to not be cheerful," said his other son, Alastair.

"He spoke to everyone, he was friendly because of his character, he got to talk to everybody in the local community."

Francis Angwin was born in the house he lived in for most of his life, on Carrallack Terrace, St Just. The house was built by his grandfather at the beginning of the last century.

One of three children, he is survived by his brother Ivan and sister Barbara, as well as two sons and two grandchildren.

His wife, Ethel, was named St Just Citizen of the Year less than two weeks ago, on Feast Sunday, at the same ceremony as he was recognised for his service to the council.

Having first joined St Just Town Council in 1970, he stepped down only earlier this year, having served as mayor for three years, from 1991 to 1993, and again from 1997 to 1998.

He was one of only five town councillors across Penwith to be highlighted as having a 100 per cent attendance rate for council meetings by the local newspaper The Cornishman earlier this year.

Current Cornwall councillor for St Just, Chris Goninan, said Francis was the reason he got into local politics in the first place.

He said: "I wouldn't have been in politics if it wasn't for Francis Angwin.

"He certainly was very, very concerned about the issues affecting St Just people."

Town mayor Sue James added: "It was my privilege to give Francis a small gift from the town council, expressing our appreciation of his 42 years as a councillor. He told me, 'I did it for the people of St Just and have never looked to get anything back'.

"Francis was one of those local characters who will be remembered by many in the community for many years."

Former chairman of Penwith District Council, Malcolm Pilcher, and a great friend of Francis, described him as "a man of the people".

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