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Civic procession opens the 16th Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival 

e norfolk militia 20156th  September 2015
Geraldine Scott, Archant Group
pictures: James Bass

The 16th Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival opened yesterday morning, marked by a civic procession which included the East Norfolk Militia (pitured right) and Great Yarmouth Mayor Cllr Shirley Weymouth.  David Bullock, the Norwich Town Crier, introduced Mrs Weymouth before she went on to wish everyone an enjoyable weekend

The opening took place on the main stage, overlooked by the Götheborg, which is making its first appearance at a UK maritime festival

The Gtheborg 2 2015The Götheborg (left) and JST Lord Nelson (right) on their approach to Gorleston Pier. Both boats are in Great Yarmouth for the Maritime Festival


JST Lord NelsonThe Götheborg completed its maiden voyage in 2005-07. It is a replica of the original Götheborg, which was built in 1738 at Terra Nova ship yard, in Stockholm, for the Swedish East India Company (Svenska Ostindiska Companiet), and was used for three lucrative voyages between Sweden and China


The original ship dramatically sank on September 12, 1745, in Gothenburg harbour, returning from her third China voyage. She ran aground on a notorious submerged rock, the Hunnebådan (known as the Knipla Börö in the 18th century), right in front of merchants and family members, waiting to welcome the crew and its cargo home


In 1984 a number of exploratory dives to the shipwreck took place, and an ambitious dream was born to reconstruct The Götheborg to 100% scale, using traditional 18th century ship building skills, methods and materials, but complying with the very latest technological advances for navigation, cooking, heating and hygiene

Yesterday, the Götheborg and the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s Lord Nelson gave bystanders a taste of what will be on offer over the next two days as the town celebrates its proud maritime past and important maritime future

The third last vessel to leave Dunkirk in 1940 is also moored up, along with steam drifter Lydia Eva, RASC Fast Launch Humber, RNLI Great Yarmouth and Gorleston’s Samarbeta lifeboat, HMC Protector (customs cutter) and MV Confidante (Gardline coastal survey vessel)

There’s a full programme of international shanty and folk music, street entertainment, arts, crafts and children’s activities and the first visit of the thrilling DJR Freestyle JetSki Display Team

The team, which comprises British and European champions, performs some of the most advanced water based stunts ranging from 15ft high backflips, barrel rolls and 360 and 540 degree spins, to submarines and fountains in the river

Shanty and maritime music was performed throughout the weekend at three different venues on South Quay and a fourth stage in Great Yarmouth Market Place

New visiting shanty groups and singers are Patrick and Miguel from France, Scheepsfolk from The Netherlands, 2 Anchors from Gloucester, Roaring Forties from Scunthorpe and Kimber’s Men and Monkey’s Fist both from Yorkshire

Wrentham Brass Band was on South Quay to start Sunday morning


There was also a special concert with Norfolk folk band, Addison’s Uncle on The Götheborg’s sundeck, from 8pm to 9.30pm on Saturday

Visitors were able to go aboard The Götheborg, JST Lord Nelson, and Lydia Eva, and meet Admiral Nelson and Lady Hamilton, Horatio Herring, Lofty the Lighthouse and Mrs H

There were military re-enactments from East Norfolk Militia, street theatre from Inner State, Punch and Judy shows with Professor Pulson and face painting and balloon modelling

You could find out about the Broads and local nature reserves, meet the RSPB and Norfolk Wildlife Trust, then watch Ernie Childs paint a maritime masterpiece before your eyes, see lace making, spinning and gansey knitting and maritime wood carving, also have a go at making a fisherman’s net

Aileen Mobbs, Maritime Festival Chairman said: “It is a dream come true to have secured such a prestigious sailing ship as The Götheborg for Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival, made possible by funding support from the new Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area. And we are enormously grateful to all our festival sponsors”