Historic sailing smack to feature at Lowestoft maritime heritage fair

Excelsior leaves Lowestoft to take part in The Mayflower ceremony in London. Picture: Bill Hancock

Excelsior leaves Lowestoft to take part in The Mayflower ceremony in London earlier this year. - Credit: Bill Hancock

One of the nation’s most important historic ships will be celebrated during a special event this weekend.

The traditional Lowestoft-based sailing smack Excelsior will be open to the public to look around as part of a special celebration.

With the Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Festival offering almost 120 free to explore events across Lowestoft between September 10 and September 19, the town's fishing heritage will be celebrated on Saturday.

Displays, food, music and educational displays will be showcased as a Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair takes centre stage at Heritage Quay on South Pier in the town between 9am and 5.30pm.

Sailing icon Excelsior LT472 has been awarded ‘Freedom of The Town of Lowestoft’ honour.

Sailing icon Excelsior LT472. - Credit: Rob Howarth Photography

The maritime sailing icon Excelsior LT472, operated by The Excelsior Trust in Lowestoft, marks it's 100th anniversary this year.

A familiar and much loved sight off the east coast, at the Excelsior100 event there will be a chance to see a working example of a traditional Lowestoft Sailing Smack.

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With demonstrations and exhibitions of traditional drifter and trawler net making, there will also be the chance to climb the masts.

Full-size fisherman's ganseys will be on display along with demonstrations, have-a-go activities and the chance to chat with staff and volunteers as the International Boatbuilding Training College, Waveney Valley Smokehouse, Artists from Another Angle Studio, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission all form part of the displays.

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There will also be some live music during the afternoon, with the John Ward Trio and The Lowestoft Longshoremen.

In June, for the first time since its formation in 2017, Lowestoft Town Council has conferred the title of Freedom of the Town to three recipients - with the much-loved historic ship among one of the Honorary Freeman Awards.

A spokesman for the Excelsior Trust said: "As part of the festival, The Excelsior Trust are proud to announce we are hosting a Maritime Heritage Fair on September 11 to celebrate our fantastic history and culture.

"As Lowestoft’s only remaining and fully restored traditional sailing smack, Excelsior will be open to the public to have a look round for free for tours of above and below deck.

"Surrounding Excelsior will be music, food stalls, independent creators and shops all celebrating Lowestoft’s fishing heritage, as well as Excelsior’s 100th birthday!"

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