A real lighthouse family!
Last week I was contacted by Peter Smith, whose childhood was spent at Lynmouth Foreland and Hartland Point lighthouses in Devon, and whose family spans four generations of lighthouse keepers. Peter had seen my video, and wanted to help.
Peter has given talks about his childhood living in lighthouses for many years, and he has offered to commit the proceeds of his current talks to Shift MS as his way of supporting The Beacon Bike. It is an incredibly generous gesture, and I am very grateful to him. Peter gave a talk at lunchtime yesterday and, true to his word, a cheque for £60 duly arrived in the post this morning. So please raise a silent glass or mug to Peter today - I had no idea that my video would touch people in this way.
In Peter's own words:
"My paternal great-grand father was a lighthouse keeper, both of my grandfathers were lighthouse keepers and my mother and father met as a result of living with their families in lighthouses. I was born at Sennen Cove, (the village at Lands End) when my father was serving on the Longships Lighthouse - a lighthouse that all of my family has served on. My father and grandfather were also born at Sennen when their fathers were on the Longships. My maternal grandparents first met at Sennen, on lifeboat day 1910 so we have a connection with the village going back over a hundred years".
I plan to track Peter down during the expedition, and I am looking forward to hearing what it was like to be born and brought up in a lighthouse. I will let you know what I discover! In the meantime, check out this fabulous picture of Peter - taken a little while ago - of Peter standing on the water tank at Lynmouth Foreland lighthouse.
Peter talks about growing up living in lighthouses fifty years ago, using stories about things that happened to him, his family and other lighthouse keepers. He discusses how his family coped with the problems and benefits of living next to the sea, in isolated places before electricity, televisions, cars, computers and mobile phones.
"All lighthouses are now automatic so I am lucky enough to have had, what is now, a unique child hood".