Local people and visitors watch the ceremony as fishing boats bob in the harbour Photo: Ray Duff

Story and photos by Ray Duff – It was a glorious day for the fisherfolk of Folkestone as they gathered with clergy and locals for the annual Blessing of the Fisheries ceremony on Sunday 25 June 2023.

The event was led by a special guest, the Right Reverend Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough, who came from St Peter’s Church on The Durlocks with a procession of faithful followers. They were accompanied by the lively tunes of local piper Christopher Bone and the Salvation Army Band.

The procession makes its way down from St Peter’s Church Photo: Ray Duff

Many people stopped to watch and join the parade as it made its way through North Street and Radnor Street to the platform on The Stade, where the sea sparkled under the bright sun.

The Salvation Army band accompanied the hymns Photo: Ray Duff

There, the Bishop gave a stirring speech about the importance of respecting and protecting the sea and its bounty, as well as remembering all those who risk their lives on boats, whether for work or refuge. He also invoked the Holy Mother, the Star of the Sea, to watch over them.

The assembled clergy on the platform by The Stade Photo: Ray Duff

Then he blessed the sea, the boats, the nets and the fishermen and women with holy water and incense, while everyone sang hymns and prayed for a safe and fruitful season.

The Rt Rev Norman banks, Bishop of Richborough, blesses the fisheries Photo: Ray Duff

The ceremony ended with a joyful return to St Peter’s Church, where a short service was held and everyone enjoyed tea and cakes in the St Andrews garden area.

By Ed

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