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Nelson’s annual Blessing of the Fishing Fleet

Nelson’s annual Blessing of the Fishing Fleet is scheduled for Saturday July 16 at noon on Wakefield Quay.

This is the 16th year the blessing has been held, and organiser and Seafarers’ Memorial Trust spokesman Mike Smith says it’s an event that has won a place on the Nelson calendar and in people’s hearts.

“Blessings like this have been held in ports around the world for centuries, but this Nelson event is unique in New Zealand,” he said. “It’s a colourful ceremony in a beautiful location, and is truly valued by families that have lost members at sea as a way to remember them, when often there is no grave to visit.”

The memorial is timed to bless the local fishing vessels in the lead up to the hoki season.

There will be the usual fireworks on Friday night (July 15) from 6.30pm, with viewing from the waterfront and the port hills.

On Saturday the Motueka Blass Band will play from noon at the Seafarers’ Memorial, while the fishing boats line up along Wakefield Quay. The blessing ceremony will begin at 12.30pm, led by Bishop Richard Elena, Reverend Jeff Cotton, Father Bill Warwick and Archdeacon Andy Joseph

Music will be provided by the Nelson Male Voice Choir conducted by Andrea Hamilton, the Nelson Christian Academy conducted by Gill Parker, there will be a lone piper and T.S. Talisman sea cadets will pipe their horns as dignitaries arrive onto pier.

The Rotary Club of Nelson will be offering scallop, fish and chip cook-ups, there will be an auction of the Catch of the Day and displays from the Port Nelson tugs, Fire Service and Coastguard.

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

If Saturday is wet the Blessing of the Fleet will be held on Sunday 17 July.

Postponement will be broadcast on More FM and The Breeze.

ENDS

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