Under clear skies and warm sunshine, crowds of Dartmouth residents and visitors joined together at the Dartmouth Town Pontoon last Sunday for a service to remember and say prayers for seafarers.
The Parish of Dartmouth celebrated the importance of the sea to the people of Dartmouth who either make their living by the fruits of the river or enjoy it as a provider of leisure.
The event was graced by the Right Reverend Jonathan Goodall, Bishop of Ebbsfleet.
After a short service of hymns and prayers, Father Will Hazlewood, together with the Reverend Alison Shaw from Stoke Fleming and Reverend Keith Robus from BRNC climbed aboard the assembled vessels and blessed the boats.
Entertainment was provided by the Nauti Buoys singing sea shanties and Phil Watson on the accordion. The celebration continued with Choral Evensong at St Petrox Church attended by about 80 participants, including Councillor Richard Cooke, Dartmouth Mayor, the Mayoress, Dr Fiona Ward, and Captain Jolyon Woodard RN, Commanding Officer BRNC and his family.
The Reverend Keith preached the sermon about Noah and The Flood with naval references, appropriate to an RN chaplain. The church choir were joined by officer cadets and choir members of local parishes, who sung with gusto. A collection was held for the Mission to Seafarers. The procession out of the church to Stumpy Steps then followed, where the Waters were Blessed by Bishop Jonathan; who gave an amusing and thought provoking address to those gathered on the steps.
The evening concluded with a community barbecue provided by farmer Phil Bond and his wife Gail, using lamb from their own farm. The weather was kind throughout, and Gail was heard to say “it was a perfect day”.