Blessing of the whitebait catch, 1980
Religious service held on the boat-deck of the leisure centre on the front at Westcliff-on-Sea to bless the whitebait catch, including prayers and hymns accompanied by members of the Salvation Army. The Whitebait Festival was organised by the Southend Chamber of Trade, Commerce and Industry, which has been running the Festival since 1934. Unlike the 1972 service, it could not be held on the Southend pier after it was destroyed by fire in 1976.
[0:00] Opened by Mr Ufford, President of the Chamber of Commerce [2:00] Hymn – ‘Eternal Father’ [3:45] Reading by Father E.J. Thomas [5:10] Blessing of the catch by Revd. J.L. Head [6:35] Hymn – ‘The Harvest of the Sea’ [7:35] Reading by the Mayor, Councillor William Bowyer [8:35] Prayer given by Father E.J. Thomas [10:15] Prayer given by Revd. M.J. Spencer [12:20] Prayer of dedication given by Revd. J.L. Head [13:30] Hymn – ‘Praise My Soul the King of Heaven’ [15:30] End.
The Festival still continues, and is in 2016 scheduled for 29 September 2016.
This was recorded by Edward Haley, who introduces the recording and gives contextual information. It is used by kind permission of his family.
Image of whitebait by Tom Betts (public domain). View the original.