King's Lynn Mayor enjoys fun of the Mart

Visitors to King's Lynn were treated to the unusual sight of the Mayor and other civic dignitaries riding on a carousel.

Visitors to King's Lynn were treated to the unusual sight of the Mayor and other civic dignitaries riding on a carousel at the weekend.

The dignitaries were joining in the fun which forms part of the traditional opening of the King's Lynn Mart in which dignitaries and showman from across the Eastern region come together for the special ceremony for the opening of the ancient Norfolk fun-fair.

And as part of the celebrations The Showman's Guild of Great Britain organised a firework display on the Saturday evening as part of their contribution to the town's 800th anniversary celebrations.

This year's event had special significance, as the town is part way through a programme of commemorative activities to mark the 800th anniversary of the granting of its Royal Charter.

The Mart has its roots around the same time as King John granted Lynn its charter.

The opening ceremony on Satuday began with a procession of civic dignitaries and showmen from the Town Hall along High Street to the Tuesday Market Place.

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It then followed with the blessing of the Mart when the dozens of dignitaries and showman gathered in front of a packed crowd on the popular dodgem ride.

The ceremony commenced with the ringing of the Mart Bell and prayers by the Mayor's Chaplain.

The the ancient proclamation was also giving the Showmen their right to hold a Mart in Lynn.

The Mayor Cllr Paul Brandon declared the Mart open and the President of the Showmen's Guild Ernest Johnson addressed the crowds.

Then in keeping with the ancient tradition there was the showman's prayer the Bishop of Lynn the Rt. Rev James Langstaff blessed the Mart.

Following the ceremony the officials had the chance to tour the Mart and experience some of the thrills which will be on offer over the next two weeks.

Among the assortment of rides on the market place is the steam driven gallopers made by Frederick Savage in Lynn in 1895, which have not visited the town for a number of years. Mr Savage founded the St Nicholas ironworks at North Lynn and in the 1860's worked with the guild to develop new fairground rides.

Mayor Paul Brandon, has been attending the Mart since a small boy and used to watch both his grandfather and father who took part in the Mayoral procession in their capacities as Macebearer and Swordbearer.

He said: “The opening went very well and it was a delight to be involved in it.

“The fireworks was also great and despite the wind blowing there was several people who came along to see the display.”

Children's Day starts at midday on Monday, February 14, when youngsters can enjoy reduced prices of 80p on adult rides and 50p on children's rides.

Folklore says a successful Mart is a good omen for the showmen for the rest of the year.