Annual seafaring church service in Newlyn sees many celebrate the industry
AN ANNUAL church service held for the fishing community was one of the most well attended in recent years.
The Blessing of the Fleet was conducted by the Fishermen’s Mission on Sunday evening and is put on for everyone involved in or affected by the seafaring industry - though anyone is welcome.
This year it was held in the open air on the Newlyn Fish Festival stage at the harbour and saw around 300 people according to Julian Waring, who works at the charity.
Mr Waring said it was a lovely evening and was pleased the Mission had the opportunity to show its work to so many and celebrate the local community.
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“It was fantastic,” he said. “It was the most well attended in recent years by far - there was more than double last year’s numbers.
“We had people there from lots of maritime interests, there was a good number of people who came along as well as local dignitaries and of course lots of local fishermen.”
The 45-minute service began with a brief worship time, which was followed by a reading by Sheryll Murray MP who lost her husband at sea and has been supported by the organisation in the past.
The main address was given by Penzance minister Alistair Bolt, while Mr Waring closed proceedings with the blessing itself.
“We had a good sea of people there,” he added. “Because it was in the open air it gives an opportunity for people to come and go - it’s very informal today.
“We had a great deal of fishermen attend - it’s for them and their families mainly.”
The Blessing of the Fleet first began in the last century as a formal service, but has developed and changed over the years.
Mr Waring said now it provides a great chance to engage with the people in the area, spreading the Mission’s message and illustrating the work it carries out.
He added that lately, following the recognition of the Fishwives Choir and popularity of the fish festival in Newlyn on Monday, the organisation has been able to “reach out” even more.
“We’re quite a small charity so it was good to have that chance,” he said.