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Blessing of the Fleet scheduled for Saturday in Nelson

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Nelson’s annual Blessing of the Fishing Fleet is scheduled for Saturday June 22 at 12.30pm on Wakefield Quay.

This is the 19th year the blessing has been held, and organiser Seafarers’ Memorial Trust spokesman Mike Smith says the event is unique in New Zealand.

"While blessings like this have been held in ports around the world for centuries, we have developed this event in Nelson over the last two decades and it has earned its place as one of the significant community events of the year," he said. "The port and the fishing sector are an integral part of our Nelson community and this colourful ceremony on the waterfront is truly valued by families. It’s an opportunity to wish the fleet well for the coming season and to remember lives that have been lost."

There will be the usual fireworks on Friday night (June 21) from 6.30pm, with viewing from the waterfront and the port hills.

On Saturday the Motueka Brass Band will play from 12.30pm at the Seafarers’ Memorial, while the fishing boats line up along Wakefield Quay. The blessing ceremony will begin at 1pm, with MC Richard Griffin introducing the dignitaries and the clergy, Father Bill Warwick, Reverend Emmanuel Vallaidam and Archdeacon Andy Joseph.

Music will be provided the Nelson College for Girls Choir with Smokefreerockquest winner Estella Romagnoli as one of the soloists. The service concludes with wreath laying and one minute of silence followed by the ringing of the ship’s bell and ships’ horms.

The Rotary Club of Nelson will be offering a cook-up of fish and chips, there will be an auction of the Catch of the Day and displays from Port Nelson’s new tug, Coastguard and the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter.

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 23 June.

Postponement will be broadcast on More FM and The Breeze.

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