Eel Day was a great success

PUBLISHED: 15:32 02 May 2006 | UPDATED: 13:23 04 May 2010

ELY'S very own Eel Day was a great success on Saturday, with a procession, historical re-enactments and the official unveiling of the spectacular new eel sculpture. The day began with

ELY’S very own Eel Day was a great success on Saturday, with a procession, historical re-enactments and the official unveiling of the spectacular new eel sculpture.

The day began with a procession from Cross Green, led by Ellie the Eel, who took members of Ely’s Lantern Studios and children from St Mary’s School along part of the city’s eel trail heritage walk.

As the parade reached Jubilee Gardens, Wendy Hurrell - Anglia Television’s weather presenter - formally unveiled the new eel sculpture, which was a gift to the city from Ely Rotary Club to commemorate 100 years of Rotary International.

The three-metre high galvanised steel eel was accepted by Jeremy Friend-Smith, chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Eric Grant, of Ely Rotary Club, said: “Inviting Wendy Hurrell to unveil the piece paid off, as the gardens were bathed in warm sunshine.”

Pymoor sculptor Peter Baker designed and constructed the impressive piece, which will take on a new character as it is exposed to the elements.

Visitors could take in a full programme of events over the day, including musical performances, children’s theatre and historical re-enactments.

Tracey Harding, event organiser at East Cambridgeshire District Council, estimated that there were around 3,000 people taking part.

“The day was absolutely fantastic,” she said.

“There were lots more people than last year, and more people are becoming aware of the event.”

Children and adults alike attempted to beat the East Cambs record for eel throwing and win a prize in the process, by throwing handmade “eel” socks as far as they could.

Eel day would not be Eel day without the chance to sample some of the aquatic delicacy from which the event takes its name, and visitors could sample smoked and jellied eels, as well as a hog roast and vegetarian falafels for the less squeamish.

The Boathouse restaurant on the river offered a variety of eel-based dishes throughout the weekend.

Photos: HELEN DRAKE.

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