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First event to mark Merchant Navy Day is held in Beccles

03 September, 2015 - 17:15
Richard Curtis and his grandson George holding the Red Ensign to mark Merchant Navy Day in Beccles.

Richard Curtis and his grandson George holding the Red Ensign to mark Merchant Navy Day in Beccles.

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An event to honour the brave men and women who kept our island nation afloat during both world wars was held in Beccles town centre today.

George Curtis, Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Richard Curtis and Graham Catchpole marking Merchant Navy Day in Beccles.George Curtis, Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Richard Curtis and Graham Catchpole marking Merchant Navy Day in Beccles.

Merchant Navy Day, which has been running for fifteen years and is supported by Prince Edward, was signalled in Beccles with the raising of the Merchant Navy flag, the Red Ensign.

The flag raising was witnessed by civic dignitaries including Waveney MP Peter Aldous and deputy mayor of Beccles Graham Catchpole.

The flag was hoisted up from St Michael’s Church tower by Richard Curtis, a former member of the Merchant Navy engine room and his grandson, George, who hopes to join the Merchant Navy after finishing school.

Mr Curtis said: “I was not used to hoisting flags up from my Merchant Navy days but I hope the people of Beccles saw the flag flying in honour of this special day.

“Special thanks go to all those in attendance, my wife Dahlia for her support for the event and Beccles mayor Hugh Taylor for his work and support for this event.”

Thirteen-year-old George said: “I was happy to support the day today and I very much hope to enter the Merchant Navy after I finish school.”

The raising of the Royal Ensign was the first time the day has been marked in the town.

Mr Catchpole said: “We are very pleased to support this day as Beccles has a long history with the sea particularly with the town being so close to local sea ports and when Beccles used to pay its taxes in barrels of herring.”

The flag was flying from the church tower until 5pm.

It is hoped the day will continue to be marked annually in Beccles.

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