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07.07.05
Royal Opening For China Clay Country Park

HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, visited Cornwall on Thursday July 7th to officially open the new William Cookworthy building and exhibition at the China Clay Country Park. HRH met members of the China Clay Country Park team before undertaking a short tour of the newly refurbished site, including the brand new visitor centre, before unveiling a plaque commemorating the opening.

The Royal visit formed the final piece of a £1 million development to upgrade the park, formerly the Wheal Martyn Heritage Centre, which is just outside St Austell. The opening of the new building means the park can now host a series of temporary exhibitions reflecting the creative nature of the local community.

The first exhibition, sponsored by Imerys, showcases the work of 12 international ceramic artists and is part of the celebrations to mark the tri-centenary of the birth of William Cookworthy. David Owens, Chief Executive of the park, home of the UK's only china clay museum said the visit of the Duchess of Gloucester marked the start of a new future for the visitor attraction. "Everyone involved in the refurbishment programme has worked extremely hard over the past 9 months and we are absolutely delighted with the end result of all that collective effort. To have HRH The Duchess of Gloucester visit the park and perform the opening was the final piece in the jigsaw and was the perfect way for us to start a new era at the China Clay Country Park. We have a new name and a new face and a whole raft of new and enhanced attractions that we are sure will provide an unforgettable experience for all ages."

The new visitor centre is the cornerstone of the development programme that has included re-designing and extending facilities at the museum, which was first opened in 1974. Other developments at the park include a outdoor challenge course for children, a geological boulder park, a new café, gift shop and extended free parking.

The project has been financed by £769,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £299,600 of Cornwall's Objective One investment and grants from the trustees of Wheal Martyn, Restormel Borough Council and Cornwall County Council.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, welcomed the completion of the new building. "Almost £300,000 of Objective One investment went into this project which underlines the strategic importance of building on our past to strengthen our future. China Clay Country Park is part of Cornwall's own special history. The new visitor centre will demonstrate the region's proud history of clay mining, which continues today and the café will serve the best of Cornish produce."

For further information please contact Graham Buckley or Karen Adkins of Mercury Public Relations on 01872 561120.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the China Clay Country Park through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

The China Clay Country park is open from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m daily.

For more information on the China Clay Country Park contact 01726 850362.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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