Colourful slippery customers' hooked

PUBLISHED: 14:46 03 May 2007 | UPDATED: 12:25 04 May 2010

RINGING IN: Pictured with town crier winner Robert Needham, centre, are James Wearne, left, and Terry Stubbings.

RINGING IN: Pictured with town crier winner Robert Needham, centre, are James Wearne, left, and Terry Stubbings.

REPORTS of a 30-foot eel slithering down the High Street in Ely would normally cause mass panic, but not last weekend. Eddie the eel was part of celebrations to mark Eel Day, where hundreds of visitors turned out to take part in the procession through

MEANDERING ALONG: Eddie The Eel and helpers winding their way down to Jubilee Gardens.

REPORTS of a 30-foot eel slithering down the High Street in Ely would normally cause mass panic, but not last weekend.

'Eddie the eel' was part of celebrations to mark Eel Day, where hundreds of visitors turned out to take part in the procession through the city accompanied by Ely's very own samba band and 12 town criers from around the country.

'Eddie', made by Barns Young People Forum and carnival artist John Lyons, led the revellers all the way down to Jubilee Gardens, where thousands more took part in a whole host of eel related events. There were musical performances from the children's theatre and historical re-enactments, but the highlights were the Town Crier contest and Eel throwing competition.

Tracey Harding, tourism and events officer for East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "We could not have asked for a better day. There was beautiful weather, a massive turnout and some incredible events for everyone to experience. The eel throwing competition was a record defying event, with some truly spectacular performances and distances thrown.

BOTTLED UP: Bridge builder Jack Waterfall with one of his rafts.

"Personally, I loved the Town Crier competition with their noise and colourful costumes, the criers added a real sense of vibrancy and nostalgia to the day. This year's event was bigger and better than ever before and I know Eel Day will go from strength to strength with the support of all those involved. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped on the day and those visitors who got involved with celebrating the life of the humble eel."

The winners of the eel throwing competition, where handmade eel socks were thrown in welly-throwing manner, were:

Under-5s: Ewan Sizer - 6.75m

Age 5-10: Sam Palmer and Luke Booth - 15.60m

Age 11-16: Jack McCurdly - 17.40m

The Town Crier competition, which spanned the whole day, consisted of 12 criers from across the country being judged on best cry, dress and conviviality. The winners were:

Best overall: 1st Robert Needham from Colchester, 2nd Terry Stubbings from Lincoln, 3rd James Wearne from Felixstowe

Best-dressed crier: Robert Needham

Best dressed couple: Terry and Trish Stubbings

Best content of cry: Terry Stubbings

Best ambassador/conviviality award: Peter Taunton from Stafford.

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