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From Harry Paye to maritime day

Louise Bliss on an event celebrating Poole's maritime past, present and future

The Poole Harbour Boat Show will conclude with a spectacular firework display

The Poole Harbour Boat Show will conclude with a spectacular firework display (Image: Phillip Hartley)

This month [May 2017], the Borough of Poole celebrates its maritime past, present and future. From tales of Poole’s privateer Harry Paye to trading with Newfoundland, from rumours of Vikings storing loot for King Cnut at Brownsea Island to the use of the harbour by the Romans to invade. A log-boat found in Poole Harbour is carved from a giant oak tree dating back around 2400 years.
Today Poole boasts award-winning blue flag beaches and a thriving cutting-edge marine industry which, amongst other reasons is why Poole has been chosen to host the European Maritime Day (EMD) which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2017. This is a first for the UK… and with Brexit, possibly a last. The EMD will see the town welcome some of Europe’s most influential people in the maritime sector, ministers, scientists, academics, and businesses all collaborating to deliver a sustainable future for our oceans. Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre will be at the heart of the conference.

 Poole's harbour was just one of the natural and man-made marvels of the town that led to its being chosen to host the EMD


Poole’s harbour was just one of the natural and man-made marvels of the town that led to its being chosen to host the EMD (Image: Poole Tourism)

The Poole Maritime Festival encompasses the EMD, business workshops and family fun events that have been specifically developed to complement the conference and visitors can expect to be entertained and educated at various locations across the borough. It is a chance for the town to showcase what it has to offer.
The Poole Harbour Boat Show (now in its third year) will be central to the family fun festivities. This year will see the event extend from Poole Quay Boat Haven to the commercial port and it includes a motor and sail boat exhibition, an array of stalls lining Poole Quay and exploration of the Tall Ships. The Royal Navy will have some of their fleet available and the Royal Marines will be putting on an armed-combat display. Throughout the three days, live music will come from local bands and there will be a spectacular firework display on the Friday.

Tall ships will once again be at Poole Quay for the performances  of  CARGO.

Tall ships will once again be at Poole Quay for the performances of CARGO.

Art joins commerce as Poole-based storytelling theatre company Valise Noire stage CARGO, a performance art project that celebrates 1000 years of Poole’s mercantile history. An extraordinary amount of research has gone into this project culminating in two performances of a spectacular outdoor theatre show and an interactive educational programme. The performances start with the arrival of the TS Queen Galadriel, as the performers disembark from the tall ship, the audience will witness the story unfold on Poole Quay, concluding at the newly renovated ‘Sea Music’ sculpture by Sir Anthony Caro. Colin Philimore, CARGO’S project manager said: ‘During the week of the festival, local school children will be visiting the TS Queen Galadriel to look around on and below decks as well as looking around Poole Museum to see related exhibitions and the ‘Merman of the Swash Channel Wreck’ newly revealed in March 2017 as the figurehead of the ship Fame – from the Dutch port of Hoorn – which sank in 1631.
Ben Dyas, festival director of the Seven Seas event located in Harbourside Park (Baiter) said: ‘As a keen sailor and local event organizer, I was keen to put on a great event  and my partner, Marianne Brown, and I have worked hard to create something new and exciting.’
The Seven Seas Festival will take visitors on a voyage around the world, via music, food and crafts. Ben explained: ‘Highlights include an ice rink in the Arctic region, blues and jazz music with smokehouse and Creole menus and Zen meditation, yoga and pan-Asian cuisine in the Indian Ocean site, with representatives of global and local charities and special interest groups hosting educational talks, group activities and displays that relate to particular regions.’

Alex Aitken will be cooking with salmon and gin

Alex Aitken will be cooking with salmon and gin

The Harry Rocks stage will showcase the talent of local bands and the Harbour’s Big Wheel, 108ft above sea level will be located at Baiter during the festival giving visitors a magical bird’s eye view of Poole. Poole Park will be home to ‘Taste of the South’, a new food and artisan event which will be celebrating all that is good about local food, drink, and produce and bringing together a selection of talented craft individuals. Local chefs will be offering demonstrations and imparting their top tips. Alex Aitken (Chef Patron at The Jetty in Christchurch) will be cooking up a gin and salmon dish with local award-winning Pothecary Gin. Alex declares himself: ‘delighted to be involved in the Taste of The South Festival, a great array of local chefs demonstrating the amazing local produce from Dorset, Hampshire and the West Country,’ while Poole Park’s restaurant on the lake, the Kitchen, is set to host a new innovative theatre dining/dinner theatre experience.

Mayor of Poole Xena Dion accepts the maritime baton from the Mayor of Turku (in Finland) to denote Poole hosting the European Maritime Day. Prior to Turku, the hosts from the inaugural day in 2008, were: Brussels, Rome, Gijón (in northern Spain), Gdansk, Gothenburg, Valletta, Bremen and Piraeus. (Image: Poole Tourism)

Mayor of Poole Xena Dion accepts the maritime baton from the Mayor of Turku (in Finland) to denote Poole hosting the European Maritime Day. Prior to Turku, the hosts from the inaugural day in 2008, were: Brussels, Rome, Gijón (in northern Spain), Gdansk, Gothenburg, Valletta, Bremen and Piraeus. (Image: Poole Tourism)

As Cllr Xena Dion prepares to hand over the baton to the next Mayor of Poole, she reflects on her year and her involvement in the European Maritime conference that started back in 2011. Keen to point out that the process did not happen overnight, the journey to arrive at this month’s conference and celebrations commenced way before her year in the historical and cultural role. Xena discussed  obstacles that were overcome for Poole to become host, challenges included bids from other locations and Brexit held its own, at one point all proceedings were temporarily halted. Xena was pleased when she heard that Poole, despite Brexit, was still to be the location of the 2017 conference. Xena stated: ‘Even if the UK [will no longer be] part of the European Union it still has a huge place in the future of the European maritime community, it has a significant role in maritime policy, what happens in our waters affects not only Europe but the rest of the world. This is such a prestigious event and we feel very honoured to be this year’s hosts.’ As Mayor she is personally hosting a Maritime Ball on 13 May at Lighthouse in aid of the three local charities hand-picked at the beginning of her mayoral year: Lewis Manning hospice, Waggy Tails Rescue and Chestnut Nursery.

The Poole Harbour Boat Show will once again be held but will stretch from Poole Quay Boat Haven to the commercial port (Image: Phillip Hartley)

The Poole Harbour Boat Show will once again be held but will stretch from Poole Quay Boat Haven to the commercial port (Image: Phillip Hartley)

  • FOR MORE INFORMATION
    Poole Maritime Festival runs from 15-21 May 2017
    A Poole Festival Maritime App is available, full details of this and up-to-date information on the festival programme visit:
    www.poolemaritimefestival.co.uk
    For more information on Poole’s Maritime history visit: www.poolemuseum.co.uk and for the Mayor’s Maritime Ball visit:
    www.mayorofpoole.com

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