Picture gallery: Norwich civic year ushered in with colour and pageantry

All the pageantry of Norwich's historic past was embraced as the start of the new civic year was ushered in with a colourful procession and service at the cathedral.

Today's service was preceded by the Lord Mayor Ralph Gayton and Sheriff John Jennings walking from the refectory along the Cathedral Close to the cathedral front doors, accompanied by traditional mace and sword bearers.

The Norwich Whifflers joined the procession in their historic costumes, along with Snap the Dragon - a large puppet and part of the city's history, said to protect the new mayor from evil spirits, enacted for the sixth year by Mike Jones.

Before the service began, three ceremonial processions entered the cathedral in colourful gowns, starting with the academic procession, made up of representatives from the UEA, Norwich University College of the Arts, Easton College and City College Norwich.

The second procession was headed by the police, with mayors and chairmen of neighbouring districts. And the third procession was led by the clergy, followed by the mayor and sheriff in their bright traditional robes with the city's magnificent historic regalia.

The event was also attended by Norwich's two MPs, Chloe Smith and Simon Wright, Norwich City Council Leader Brenda Arthur, and former sheriff and Evening News writer Derek James, who said it brought back many happy memories.

It was a particularly significant occasion for the sheriff, who said: 'I feel very happy that many members of my family have been able to come to this event, including those from Canada and Gloucestershire.'

Most Read

Among those watching proceedings was Dianne Baird, from western Australia, who was visiting Norwich on a European tour.

She said: 'We did not know this civic ceremony was going on, and just stumbled across it. I like the pageantry of it, as events like this are few and far between in Australia. It's a really old tradition and I really like Norwich.'

Tourists from other countries also gathered outside the cathedral to watch the proceedings.