Colchester Oyster Fisheries officially opened in traditional ceremony

The opening of the Colne Oyster Fisheries ceremony, one of Colchester’s oldest and most celebrated a

The opening of the Colne Oyster Fisheries ceremony, one of Colchester’s oldest and most celebrated annual traditions. The Hard, Brightlingsea, Essex. Left to right, Colchester Mayor Theresa Higgins, Paul Lind (Town Sergeant) and Brightlingsea Mayor Jayne Chapman. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Oyster fisheries in the River Colne were officially opened yesterday with an age-old traditional ceremony.

The opening of the Colne Oyster Fisheries ceremony, one of Colchester’s oldest and most celebrated a

The opening of the Colne Oyster Fisheries ceremony, one of Colchester’s oldest and most celebrated annual traditions. The Hard, Brightlingsea, Essex. Left to right, Colchester Mayor Theresa Higgins, Paul Lind (Town Sergeant) and Brightlingsea Mayor Jayne Chapman. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Civic dignitaries from Colchester borough sailed to Pyefleet Creek aboard the barge Hydrogen for the act, which dates back to 1540.

Council chief executive Adrian Pritchard read a tongue-twisting proclamation before town mayor Theresa Higgins raised a loyal toast to the Queen, accompanied by drinking gin and gingerbread.

Following the ceremony a telegram is sent to the Queen at Buckingham Palace informing her of the opening, and the monarch usually returns her thanks to the mayor.

Officials, including the Town Serjeant, and witnesses then enjoyed a three-course meal on board the barge which includes oysters.


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Mrs Higgins said: “The tradition of oysters and oyster fisheries in Colchester is nearly 2,000 years old and I am delighted to be part of this year’s ceremony.

“Once again we sailed to the oyster beds to dredge and enjoy the first haul of the season, before sending greetings to the Queen.”

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