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Pakefield blessing of herring ceremony

Blessing of the Herring service taking place at Pakefield. 


Picture: James Bass

Blessing of the Herring service taking place at Pakefield. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

About 80 people gathered in Pakefield on Sunday afternoon to take part in the village's second annual Blessing of the Herring ceremony.

The service was held in glorious bright sunshine on the green opposite the Oddfellows pub and was led by the Rector of Pakefield, Canon Bob Baker.

The fish had been caught by Pakefield fishermen and, after the they had been blessed, they were immediately cooked and offered to sale to help raise funds for the parish church’s organ restoration appeal.

And as the herring were being grilled there were excited barks from dogs in the crowd as the smell of cooking wafted over the seafront green.

As he blessed the two boxes of herring, Mr Baker described them as a “rich harvest from the sea”. He also said a prayer to the fishermen who caught them and to all lifeboatmen and sailors who risked their lives going to sea.

During the service, Mr Baker said: “Thank you to all the fishermen who caught the fish for us.”

After the blessing ceremony Mr Baker, who has been at Pakefield Church for 17 years, told The Journal: “It is the second Blessing of the Herring and the weather was so much better than last year.

“We still have a lot of fishermen who fish here and it is nice to be able to thank them for what they do. It is also good as today brings the community of Pakefield together.”

The idea of the Blessing of the Herring came from Charlie Atkins, landlord of the Oddfellows pub, which cooked the herring for the eager crowd.

Mr Atkins said £300 was raised from the herring and roe sale, with the money going to the £15,000 church organ appeal, which currently stands at £6,500.

He told The Journal: “I just thought a blessing of the herring service would be a great way to get the community around here together. Today has been a good day.”

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