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Blessing of the Fleet

Blessing of the Fleet
Saturday 19 July, 12 ­ 2pm
Media Release
July 14 2007

The annual Blessing of Nelson's Fishing Fleet is coming up on the weekend of July 19, starting with a big display of fireworks and flares on Friday night, followed by the seaside ceremony on Saturday.

Seafarers Memorial Trust spokesman Mike Smith says the Blessing of the Fishing Fleet in association with Sunderland Marine begins with a fireworks display at 7pm on Friday (18th), viewable from the port hills or Wakefield Quay. The public is also welcome to watch the fireworks from The Boathouse on Wakefield Quay.

"We have traditionally detonated flares that have passed their Œuse-by', " Mr Smith said. "Last year Sunderland Marine stepped in to fund some dramatic fireworks and have done so again this year. They are particularly visual over the water if we get a clear still winter night."

Mr Smith said Blessing of the Fleet on Saturday would follow its traditional format, with the vessels assembling off shore from the Sunderland Marine Pier in Wakefield Quay, at the earlier starting time of 12 noon.

Vicar General Te Hawa Whakaruru will lead the service, with assistance from Reverend Jeff Cotton and Father Raymond Soriano. Music will be provided by the Nelson Male Voice Choir, the Hira School choir, lone piper Robbie Duncan and the Nelson City Brass Band.

The Blessing of the Fleet is now in its eighth year, and is well supported by the fishing industry and the public of Nelson.

"The Seafarers Memorial Trust holds this event to commemorate those who have lost their lives at sea and to bless the fishing fleet for future journeys. It is also an opportunity for Nelsonians to recognise the contribution of the fishing and seafood industry to this community," Mr Smith said.

With the help of the Rotary Club of Nelson, the trust will be offering scallop and fish picnic lunches for a $2 donation per serving and barbecued mussels for $1 a serving.

There will be an auction of the Catch of the Day - fresh fish and mussels unloaded at the Sunderland Marine Pier will go under the hammer shortly after the blessing ceremony, with proceeds going to the Seafarers' Trust.

Other highlights include a tug boat display from Port Nelson, a man overboard helicopter rescue demonstration, the release of pigeons and the loud and colourful day-time mescalita fireworks display.

Although the Blessing of the Fleet is a free community event, the public will be asked to make a small donation to the Seafarers' Memorial Trust to be used in community projects.

A free service from Newman's Milestone Association clipper buses will run from Wakatu Square from 11.15pm. If Saturday is wet the Blessing of the Fleet will be held on Sunday 20 July. Postponement will be broadcast on Classic Hits 89.8fm.


© Scoop Media

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