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Tuesday 19th November, 2002 1525 GMT
A life by the sea
Chris Curtis, a true Polperro lad
Harbourmaster Chris Curtis takes a rare break

Chris Curtis is a Polperro boy born and bred.

He grew up enjoying the local cinema and avoiding the bobby on the beat.

Now he is harbourmaster and enjoys painting.

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FACTS

+ Chris Curtis was born at the end of the Second World War and grew up in Polperro where he lives to this day.

+ A lifelong fisherman, Chris still goes to sea but also spends time on dry land as the harbourmaster.

+ In a rare moment of spare time Chris enjoys painting the harbour and area where he grew up.
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Chris Curtis, born and brought up in Polperro.

For years he worked out at sea and now spends time on dry land as the area's harbourmaster.

"It was lovely growing up in Polperro for me because we had a cinema back then and we would go a couple of times a week," remembers Chris. "We had three or four films a week. I used to love Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan and Jungle Jim."

Growing up in the area was anything but boring for the young Chris.

"We used to go to all the fetes, at one time there was one a week in the area to visit, it was wonderful. We were never bored. Rock and Roll was coming out so we all had our greasy hair and motorbikes!"

The harbour at Polperro
A peaceful day in Polperro

Law and order was especially important when Chris was growing up in the village.

"We had a police presence all the time back then," he says. "In those days if you did anything wrong you would get a clip across your ear and then your parents would be told and you would be in trouble with your parents."

Chris, like his friends, enjoyed getting up to mischief.

"I guess we used to knock on people's doors and then run away," he laughs. "We would get big bits of turf and climb up on to the roof and block people's chimneys and run for it. We were quite well behaved really!"

When Chris finished his education he felt the pull of the sea and has devoted his career to the waters around Polperro as a fisherman and more recently as the harbourmaster.

Chris' artwork
A painting of Polperro harbour by Chris Curtis

"I was a fisherman, so was my father and his father before him," says Chris. "My mother was evacuated from London during the Second World War and met my father and stayed here."

After a career out at sea Chris became harbourmaster of Polperro.

"I am not paid, but the whole village mucks in and does their bit for the harbour," says Chris. "I still go out to sea as a fisheman regularly. I have got two boats."

Like all fishermen Chris has his stories to tell about life out at sea.

Waves crah against the Polperro cliffs
The Cornish sea is known for being unpredictable

"I was aboard a trawler once and I got catapulted over board," he remembers.

"I turned in mid air and managed to grab hold of the boat. Anyway it was rolling and I was up to my chest in freezing cold water. The old skipper looked over and said 'If you want to mess around you do it in your own time, not mine'! Another time I was down in the Looe on a boat which used to have an old stove. The stove chimney died on us. One of the crew got a new chimney. Another crew member got ready to light the fire. Thing was it wasnt made of steel it was made of cheaper material that couldn't cope with the heat. The whole chimney went up in smoke and the local lifeboat got called out."

On the rare occasions that Chris finds himself with some spare time on his hands he enjoys transferring his love of Polperro to canvas.

Over the years Chris has painted pictures of the harbour. These hang in his home and the local harbour office.

Meet the local vicar of Polperro

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