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Ahoy me hearties! Wells’ popular pirate festival makes a splash yet again

PUBLISHED: 17:04 17 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:42 20 September 2017

With the crew at the Wells Pirate Festival is Radio Norfolk's Travel Quest clue hunter, Sophie Little. Picture: Ian Burt

With the crew at the Wells Pirate Festival is Radio Norfolk's Travel Quest clue hunter, Sophie Little. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

It was almost sunk. But the swashbucklers refused to go under - and they were rewarded with the handsome prize of a weekend of fun.

Wells Pirate Festival. Pictured is Michelle Gardiner. Picture: Ian BurtWells Pirate Festival. Pictured is Michelle Gardiner. Picture: Ian Burt

Wells Pirate Festival landed in the town for three days, thanks to the hard work of some hearty volunteers.

In previous years the festival has been run by the Wells Maltings Trust. After the trust said it would not be able to host the festival in 2017, the East Coast Pirates Federation refused to let the popular event sink, and took it on themselves.

A member posted on Facebook: “On behalf of the Federation of the East Coast Pirates, we have had a quick discussion and we as a large group of historical pirate re-enactors who have attended this event every year, we will still be holding a pirate festival at Wells for the same dates and it will be centred around the quay at and close to the Albatros.”

The festival saw pirates gather in the town to enjoy all kinds of shenanigans including a march down to the quayside, a pirates’ market, reenactments, a tug-of-war, a trial of the mutineer, and even a walking of the plank.

Wells Pirate Festival. Pictured is Andreas Von Kiesel. Picture: Ian BurtWells Pirate Festival. Pictured is Andreas Von Kiesel. Picture: Ian Burt

Captain Ton Brouwer, of the Albatros, which is moored at the quayside in Wells, said: “Its been very, very nice, and very busy.

“There’s been lots of stuff going on, with many pirates about. They have done several acts on the quayside and on the sand opposite the Albatros.

“They were watched by a big crowd of people who came to enjoy the festival.

“It’s not only been pirates in 17th century costumes, but there were also Royal Navy squads in costume, who were catching some pirates.”

Wells Pirate Festival. Pictured is Alex Hughes-Gulliver. Picture: Ian BurtWells Pirate Festival. Pictured is Alex Hughes-Gulliver. Picture: Ian Burt

Mr Brouwer added that the festival definitely brought business to the area.

He said that “a lot of people had booked B&Bs because of the festival, at least a year ahead. When it was cancelled, I got a lot of phonecalls.”

He added: “The festival definitely boosts business, but is also good fun. Every well-organised event benefits the community. It’s very nice that it has still taken place this year. This weekend was fantastic.”

Former Wells councillor, and pirate festival organiser, Joyce Trett, said: “The weekend was such good fun. Even the rubbish weather didn’t spoil the enjoyment - the town was busy, and the rain came down by the bucketful at times, but the biggest rainbow I have ever seen came out on Sunday morning”.

Wells Pirate Festival. Pictured are (L) Ian Pycroft and Peter Leech. Picture: Ian BurtWells Pirate Festival. Pictured are (L) Ian Pycroft and Peter Leech. Picture: Ian Burt

She added that “the only disappointment was the pirate market. As it was so wet, very few folk turned up with their stalls which was a shame as the people were about to support us”.

However, Mrs Trett also said: “I am so pleased that we managed to pull the festival together, as I fear it would have folded if the cancellation had gone ahead.

“I must say it has been a learning curve, and we can improve on things for next year.”

Organisers hope that in future years the event will rival the 1940s weekend at Sheringham.

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