Rotarian's wedding present returned after 95 years

The return of a wedding present given to Sam Peak, popular Penzance rugby three-quarter and a third generation member of the Peaks Painting and Decorating firm, Rotarian and Mayor of Penzance.

Silver cigarette box presented to Rtn. Sam Peak on the occasion of his marriage to Phillis Curnow

Wedding Present returned after 95 years.

A lovely story has re-surfaced which harks back to the earliest days of Penzance Rotary, almost 100 years ago. The story relates to Sam Peak, popular Penzance rugby three-quarter and a third generation member of the Peaks Painting and Decorating firm founded by his grandfather at No. 4 North Street (later Causewayhead) here in the town.

In 1923, the newly founded Penzance Rotary Club decided that as their first community project, they would start a Scout Troop for the boys of the Bethel area. There were already two scout troops in the town, but not one specifically for the boys in the poorer area near the quay.

Mr Howell Mabbott, inaugural President of the Rotary Club said, “when the Rotarians were thinking how they could help others, the members had agreed that they should help the boys of the Bethel area.” Scout Commander C. E. Venning, another founder member of the Rotary Club, also had a great awareness of the importance of engaging local young lads in meaningful pursuits, both gentlemen having recently held office as Mayor of Penzance.

Young Rotarian Sam Peak (29) was appointed as Scoutmaster for the 1st Penzance Scout Troop. The troop was to be based in the Seamen’s Institute and the investiture took place on 20th April 1923. Those gathered for the occasion included Commissioner Venning, Assistant Commissioner Vernon Shaw, Rotarians Howell Mabbott, H. E. Michell, Messrs Pascoe and Bazeley, Rev. Fred Carr, Scoutmaster Sam Peak and Assistant Scoutmaster Roy Meek. It was thought at the time that this was the first occasion on which a scout troop had been formed by a Rotary Club, certainly in Cornwall if not in England too.

Five years later, on the 25th April 1928, it was reported in the Cornishman Newspaper . . .


A pretty wedding took place at the Bible Christian Chapel, Penzance on Wednesday, when Mr. Sam Peak, the popular Penzance rugby three-quarter, and only son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred. Peak, of "Trevanion," Treneere Road, Penzance, was married to Phyllis Curnow, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Curnow of Mount Vernon, Newlyn. The Rev. R. Trolley officiated, and appropriate music was rendered on the organ by Mrs. Webber. The bride, who was given away by her father, was attended by Miss Margery Peak and Miss Margaret Laity (bridesmaids). Mr. George Osborne (Mousehole) acted as best man. After the ceremony, a reception was held at Glendhu, Mennaye Road, the home of the bride's sister.

As a mark of appreciation for Sam’s commitment to the community, in particular his work for the Scout movement locally, Penzance Rotarians presented him with a silver cigarette box, bearing the inscription:






- 25TH APRIL 1928 -

Sam Peak would go on to serve the town as Mayor, with Phyllis Peak as Mayoress between 1957 and 1960.

No less than six Penzance Rotarians have held office as Mayor, one being Phyllis’s nephew - Rotarian John Laity MBE.

Friday 17th November 2023 - Recently, Jessica Daniels, granddaughter of Sam and Phyllis Peak, attended one of the Club’s regular social lunch and presented the silver cigarette box back to the Club for permanent safekeeping.

L to R.  Jess Daniels, grand daughter of Sam & Phillis Peak; Club President Rotarian John Underhill; and twice President Rotarian Des Hosken, friend of the Peak family.

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