1066 anniversary: Organisers and MP hail ‘fantastic day’

Amber Rudd MP is pictured with the Town Crier, Mrs Town Crier, Miss Hastings and the two Hastings Princesses SUS-161018-093621001

Amber Rudd MP is pictured with the Town Crier, Mrs Town Crier, Miss Hastings and the two Hastings Princesses SUS-161018-093621001

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The MP and organisers of the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings events hailed the ‘fantastic day’ on Saturday (October 15).

Thousands of people descended on 1066 country for the celebrations with parades, shows, performances and more across the weekend.

Hastings Week: Hastings Bonfire. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-161016-135608001

Hastings Week: Hastings Bonfire. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-161016-135608001

On Friday, Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd joined the Concorde 1066 committee for its commemorative lunch at Battle Abbey along with foreign guests and dignitaries including the French and Danish ambassadors.

“I would like to thank the Concorde 1066 Committee for inviting me to this fantastic event. It was a great privilege to attend as Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye on this momentous anniversary celebrating our area’s rich history,” she said.

It was not just about lunches though as Battle played host to many attractions including a balloon castle, tapestries, re-enactments of the battle as well as numerous processions.

Concorde 1066 organiser Simon Alexander said: “We started work on our commemorative day back in June, 2013, and are delighted that it was such a great success on the day.

A balloon castle created to mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. Picture by Jack Duggan. SUS-161015-111542001

A balloon castle created to mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. Picture by Jack Duggan. SUS-161015-111542001

“We welcomed the Home Secretary and the French and Danish ambassadors, and also the mayors from five French towns all closely connected with 1066.

“Also represented at the formal luncheon, were visitors from four other EU countries, as well as the United States and Canada.”

On Saturday, 950th anniversary celebrations took place in Hastings throughout the day and they were followed by the annual bonfire in the evening with a large procession and fireworks display.

At St Mary in the Castle, Ms Rudd met with Hastings mayor Judy Rogers and councillors along with foreign dignitaries and invited guests to admire the mosaic replica Bayeux Tapestry made out of three million metal pieces.

Hastings Week: La Grande Promenade. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-161016-135423001

Hastings Week: La Grande Promenade. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-161016-135423001

The party then made their way to the Stade Open Space where a band had already started to play and replica living shelters for both the Normans and Saxons had been erected to give the feel of life back in 1066.

For La Grande Promenade,the group lined up with the Town Crier to lead the bonfire society bands and people on a parade through the Old Town.

They stopped briefly outside each hostillery where they saluted before continuing their march to the fountain near Pelham Place.

Then they had dinner at Italian Way ahead of the evening’s procession and fireworks display, which was the largest in 22 years of the Hastings Borough Bonfire Society.

Hastings Week: 1066 march down Battle High Street. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-161015-062228001

Hastings Week: 1066 march down Battle High Street. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-161015-062228001

“This was a fantastic day of celebration to commemorate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and I would like to pay tribute to the Hastings Celebrates 950 committee for their work arranging such a wonderful programme of events,” Ms Rudd said.

“I particularly enjoyed assisting with the Guys Competition and marching in La Grande Promenade, which was a great experience for those taking part.”

Hastings Celebrates 950 committee chairman Nick Lynas was pleased so many people turned out for the events despite the rain which did not dampen the spirits.

“The Borough of Hastings celebrated in its usual flamboyant and colourful way the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings over the weekend,” he said.

“The community worked together to put on a medieval extravaganza in the Old Town where music, hog roasts, living history displays and a loud and proud daytime firework display all combined to entertain and cheer everybody despite the worsening weather.

“The guy competition produced numerous intricate interpretations on a theme even containing a representation of our own MP Amber Rudd who entered into the spirit and placed it first in its category.”

Hastings Week: Battle Abbey 1066 re-enactment. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-161017-080025001

Hastings Week: Battle Abbey 1066 re-enactment. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-161017-080025001

The Reflections service on Sunday was a spiritual end to Hastings Week with the blessing of the Hastings People’s Tapestry and the lighting of candles for peace both past, present and future.

“All the above events where largely funded by and put on by unpaid volunteers for the benefit of the community and by doing so collected nearly £4000 which will be distributed to local charities,” Mr Lynas, who is also Hastings Borough Bonfire Society chairman, added.

“The Hastings Celebrates 950 and Hastings Borough Bonfire Society acknowledge the support of Hastings Borough Council both financially and as a facilitator and wish to thank all the dignitaries, volunteers and the community as a whole both for its endeavours and their attendance.”

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