The Bloodhound programme and building a Rocket Car from a block of foam

Who doesn’t want to build a Rocket Car? I certainly do, and I was really pleased (understatement) to be able to undertake the Rocket Car Accreditation Training that will enable me to teach young people how to build and launch their own Rocket Car. In fact, I have never been so excited over a bit of foam before!

My bit of foam..

From a bit of foam, I turned it into this thing (if I do say so myself) of beauty that is my Rocket Car.


Number 11

Day-one of our training which saw 30 adults being as excited as a child on Christmas Day and about to start the training on how to build a Rocket Car. Our two instructors were great, both part of the Bloodhound programme team. They talked us through the must-nots, and how far you could go in sculpting your Rocket Car as the were a few parameters you could not go past, but other than that, you had a free reign.

You started by either drawing on paper, or the block of foam and then cut away the excess and then shaped with sandpaper to the design you want. No blueprint, you just used your imagination and whatever aerodynamics skill you had. There were so many different designs being built. You could not help but marvel at some of the designs. But the questions on everyone’s lips were will it go fast, or at least faster than someone else!


Tables full of rocket cars!

And then there was the rockets to fit into the cars. These were very cool and we learnt how to arm them and how not to have a misfire.

Once our cars were ready, it was off to the track to have a little friendly competition to see how fast our Rocket Cars could go down a 50m track. Before we could launch our cars, we all learned how to set up the speed capture equipment and how the car rockets were ignited. As we will have to do this for real when we work with the young people.


Setting up the speed capture kit

And then it was the races and how my Rocket Car reached a speed of 40.25mph over 50m!


I cannot wait till day two of the training…

Young people in Cornwall will get to be part of the Bloodhound experience

The Bloodhound Project is a British led endeavour to break the world land speed record of   1,000mph in South Africa. The project is not just about breaking a record, but to inspire the next generation to enjoy, explore and get involved in STEM subjects. You can find out more HERE.

Cornwall is very lucky in that the Bloodhound is coming here to do some major test before it embarks on its journey to South Africa. Not wanting to lose this fantastic opportunity, I am keen for young people in Cornwall to be part of that history. It will be the chance to see first-hand engineering at the highest level and a great opportunity to get students excited about STEM.

Therefore, we at Cornwall Council want our young people to be part of the model rocket car competition. This will enable young people to work as a team and get hands on experience of programming and aerodynamics in one of the most fun ways possible.


Credit: Flock and Siemens

So far, 3,672 children from 94 schools, including children Elective Home Educated across Cornwall have registered to take part in a model rocket car competition being staged as part of the Bloodhound Project.

Children from schools across Cornwall will compete as part of 918 teams at approximately five race HUBs.  The goal is simple – the two fastest primary and secondary teams to compete in the model rocket care competition open days being held during February and March 2017 will be invited to the regional finals in March 2017.  The fastest primary and secondary team at each regional final will then go to the finals in June.

The winning team nationally will get an all-inclusive trip to South Africa to spend a week with the BLOODHOUND race team, plus a cash prize of £1,000.

This builds into one of the key priorities in Cornwall Council’s Education Strategy and its Raising Aspirations and Achievements Strategy (RAAS) is to secure high quality provision, widen local opportunities and promote equalities.  The Council has been working with local partners to bring this project to Cornwall to help meet this priority and to encourage more of our young people into STEM related subjects. I hope by the Bloodhound coming to Cornwall, it will inspire young people to be engineers of the future.

For me, I get to be one of the rocketeers and will be doing the Rocket Car Accredited Training over the next few days. I am very excited to be doing this!!

More information about the project is available from


I will be standing and seeking re-election to Cornwall Council on May 4th 2017.

My term of office as your Cornwall Councillor nearly up as there will be elections to Cornwall Council on May 4th. No official list of candidates seeking election has been finalised, but many of the political parties have named their candidate to fight this election.

This blog post is officially confirming my intent to stand and seek re-election as an Independent to the electoral division of Porthleven and Helston West at the May election.  I hope residents will consider me for a further term of office.

Government offers money to ‘mitigate’ against second-homes

Just before Christmas the Government made an announcement that it had created a fund to help those areas will a high number of second-homes. The funding is allocated between local authorities proportionate to the number of holiday homes in the local area and taking account of the affordability of housing to local people.The amount of money available nationally is £60m. From this pot, Cornwall Council will receive £5,117,980.

Whilst I welcome this money, it is not really going to deal with the issue of second-homes. I long campaigned for any second-home or holiday-let to require planning permission before it could change from full-time occupation. In this campaign, I submitted a Motion to Cornwall Council which was fully supported to ask the Government to change the planning rules. Details of that Motion can be found HERE. Yet the Government dismissed the Council’s Motion and letter (blogs on second-homes HERE).

How can the £5m allocated to Cornwall Council be spent? In essence, the fund will enable local community groups deliver affordable housing units of mixed tenure on sites which are likely to be of little interest to mainstream house-builders. Being honest, getting developers to build is not a problem, the problem is what happens to those open market dwellings after they are built.

Furthermore, in the Governments own words, this funding will “contribute to the overall national effort to boost housing supply.”

From the Government’s message, it seems to tackle second-homes is to build more housing. This will not solve the problem. The problem can be mitigated against if there was a change to planning legislation. For instance, you cannot change a business unit into a home without planning permission. The same rule should apply for both second-homes and holiday-lets.

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