Festival celebrates maritime history

Fans of all things nautical will be heading along the coast to Wells next month for the annual Maritime Heritage Festival.

Organised by the charity Rescue Wooden Boats, there will be at least 18 historic local wooden crab boats and whelkers gathered on Tugboat pontoon, arriving on Friday, July 22, and being on display on July 23 and 24.

There will be a spectacular flotilla on the Saturday, starting at 2pm when all the boats will motor in convoy to the harbour mouth and back so they can be viewed by visitors.

Wendy Pritchard, one of the charity’s trustees,  said: “The flotilla will be led by our two flagships, Dunkirk Little Ship and former relief lifeboat at Wells, Lucy Lavers, and the former Wells whelker, Harvester.

“There will be plenty of information available about the boats and our maritime heritage, and we are delighted there will be members of the fishing and boatbuilding families who worked or built these boats joining us.”

As well as the boats, there will be lots of other activities to entertain, including food and drink stalls and performances by the Nelson Shantymen and Irish folk singer Anto Morra.

Looking ahead, the charity will also be represented at Wells Carnival from August 2 to August 6 and is all set to start renovating another whelker, Bessie, which was also involved in the Dunkirk evacuation.

Volunteers are always welcome. If you would enjoy helping in any way, please email info@rescuewoodenboats.com or call the honorary secretary on 01485 210196.

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