Mayor of Ely unveils bench in memory of much-loved Ely man

A MEMORIAL bench has been installed as a permanent tribute to Sid Merry, one of Ely’s most memorable characters.

Recognised as one of the very last eel catchers in Ely, Sid died on January 20 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, aged 80 years.

On Thursday, the mayor of Ely, William Burton, was joined by Sid’s wife Shirley and relatives to officially dedicate the bench, in Lavender Green, in memory of Sid.

Sid, who lived in Waterside, was born in Ely in 1931. He worked as a general labourer and at the sugar beet factory.

He married Shirley Kitchen of Littleport in 1959 at St Mary’s Church in Ely.

Eel catching and fishing was his hobby, along with gardening, boating and most outdoor recreations.

His parents and grandparents were eel catchers too and when Sid was born he was

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immediately baptised in river water because he was so small and was not expected to


Redundancy inspired him to work as a commercial eel catcher, but the huge decline

in the number of eels meant that the trade could no longer provide a living for even one man.