Reports of a thirty-foot eel slithering down the High Street in Ely would normally cause mass panic but not last weekend.
For ‘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, 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 turn out 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.
“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
The winners of the eel throwing competition, where handmade eel socks were thrown in the manner of a welly throwing, were:
- Under 5’s Winner: Ewan Sizer – 22′ (6.75m)
- Age 5-10 Winner: Sam Palmer & Luke Booth – 51′ (15.60m)
- Age 11-16 Winner: Jack McCurdly – 57′ (17.40m)
The Ely Town Crier competition
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:
- 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