We had fine weather and a great turnout at Trevithick Day last weekend, and although the Puffing Devil was absent from its place at the head of the parade it was fantastic to see so many people coming out to celebrate the life of Cornwall's greatest engineer and inventor of the steam locomotive.
Six years ago, when I was first elected to Parliament, I made Richard Trevithick the main focus of my maiden speech. I found a wonderful statement from him saying that, although he had been criticised for trying new principles and was left in severe financial hardship as a result of his pioneering endeavours, he knew in his own heart that he had brought forward new ideas that would be of boundless value to his country. For many years, Trevithick's achievements were not really recognised which makes it all the more important we celebrate them now.
For me the achievements of Richard Trevithick epitomise the contribution made by Cornwall to the industrial revolution, and while Holmans and the mines may be gone, Camborne and Redruth still has many world leaders in specialist engineering. We have LDD, based in Tolvaddon, which works on offshore oil projects in countries as far flung as Argentina and Malaysia, while Severn Subsea in Redruth helps manufacture complex components for the oil and gas industry. DP Engineering, also in Redruth, manufactures specialist components for the aerospace industry while Rigibore in Hayle produce highly specialised, computer guided drill bits for use in precision hydraulics manufacturing.
In some cases, the driving forces behind these companies trace their roots back to Holmans. It is why the greatest legacy left by Holmans wasn't the buildings but the people they trained. I would like to see us build on our heritage and expertise in engineering. We are seeing our local schools bring in a renewed focus on science and technology to prepare the next generation for a rewarding career in technology and, in recent years, the government has delivered a huge expansion in apprenticeships to help young people get a career.