The Right Worshipful the Town Mayor of Dover and Speaker of the Cinque Ports Councillor Neil Rix welcomed Admiral of the Fleet, the Lord Boyce, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, representatives from all other towns of the Cinque Ports Confederation and distinguished guests to the Annual Speaker’s Day Event in Dover on Saturday 1 October.
Speaker’s Day is a community celebration of Dover’s proud maritime history as the Gateway to England, a remembrance of those men and women whose hard work and skills contributed to Dover’s place in the national story and affirmation of the People of Dover’s determination and commitment to continuing to be at the forefront our seafaring future. It was especially good to be joined this year by serving personnel from the Brigade of Ghurkha’s Band and HMS Kent who were visiting the Town.
King Henry III granted the Confederation of the Cinque Ports its first known Charter in 1260 bringing together the key coastal Towns in south-east England in a defensive alliance. The Confederation maintains the links to the historic heritage and works to promote the value of naval and seafaring skills in the community today. The Speaker of the Cinque Ports acts as Chairman and principal representative of the Confederation in a role that goes back continuously over 600 years until at least 1357. The Mayor of Dover holds the Office of Speaker every seven years in rotation with the six other principal members of the Confederation.
The Procession from Dover Town Council to St Mary’s Church was caught in one of the worst downpours in living memory affirming the Confederation’s historic links with the wet and watery! But in the true tradition of the Confederation good humour won through. The medieval Dover Burghmote Horn was blown marking its welcome return to civic duty after being stolen in 1969. The Bishop of Dover led the service of thanksgiving and the procession then returned to enjoy a free public concert by the celebrated Dover Tales and the magnificent P&O Choir in Dover Town Hall.
The early glory days of our maritime history were also celebrated throughout the day in the Dover Tudor Festival with performances and events in the Town centre. Highlights included Sword Fighting Displays, Falconry Flying, Puppet Shows, Minstrel Bands, Have-a-Go Archery, Juggling Jesters and much more. There was lots to do and learn with great fun had by all ages.