'Bringing the best of the community together' - Festival of Sea starts in Holbrook

The Royal Navy Parachute Display Team, The Raiders, Festival of the Sea at Royal HS

The Royal Navy Parachute Display Team, The Raiders, parachuting in to Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook. - Credit: Danielle Booden

With parachuting, marching, gun displays and sea shanties galore, the Festival of the Sea got off to a rousing success this weekend. 

This two-weekend long festival is a celebration of the county’s seafaring tradition and links with the ocean. 

Royal Marines Commando Display Team demonstrating their combat skills at Festival of the Sea

Royal Marines Commando Display Team demonstrating their combat skills at Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook - Credit: Danielle Booden

The first weekend (June 11-12) was hosted by the Royal Hospital School (RHS) in Holbrook, which opened its gates to the public and pulled out all the stops for a spectacular show. 

Crowds were wowed with displays from the Royal Marines, Royal Navy parachute display team The Raiders, and the RHS field guns and guards. 

RHS Band and Guard Display at Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook

RHS Band and Guard Display at Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The afternoon saw performances from the Motley Crew sea shanty group from Brightlingsea and the school band. 

“It’s great to be part of something bigger,” said Brian Martineau, assistant head at the RHS. “The Festival of Suffolk is a really fantastic event, and we are delighted to be a part of it.” 

RHS Band and Guard Display at Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook

RHS Band and Guard Display at Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook - Credit: Danielle Booden

The Festival of the Sea is one of the main events in this summer’s Festival of Suffolk. It is jointly supported by the Countess of Euston, HM Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, and Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, HM Lord Lieutenant of Essex. 

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Mr Martineau continued: “A lot of people have put their heart and soul into today. We’ve never done this kind of thing before, so it’s all new – we didn’t know if we’d get five people, or five thousand! 

Crowds enjoying the displays at the Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook.

Crowds enjoying the displays at the Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook - Credit: Danielle Booden

“But we’ve had such a brilliant crowd here.  

“It’s bringing the best of the community together.” 

Royal Marines Commando Display Team demonstrating their unarmed combat skills

Royal Marines Commando Display Team demonstrating their unarmed combat skills at Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook - Credit: Danielle Booden

He is particularly proud the students in the RHS band, who gave three parades. 

“They’ve had a really busy day, but they’ve been absolutely loving it,” he said. 

“This has all been very exciting for them. They do a lot of parades, but here we’ve got a whole new audience, with lots of parents and members of the public who wouldn’t normally see our parade. 

Royal Marines Commando Display Team

Action from the Royal Marines Commando Display Team at Festival of the Sea - Credit: Danielle Booden

“They’re brilliant – you hear them, and think, I can’t believe they're children, and they’re doing this amazing playing and formation. 

“They’re fantastic.” 

Crowds enjoying the displays at the Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook.

Crowds enjoying the displays at the Festival of the Sea at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook - Credit: Danielle Booden

Sophy Walker is the director of communications at the Royal Hospital School. 

She said: “It was absolutely packed. The sun was shining, and there’s been such a lovely atmosphere.  

“Everyone has been getting involved and enjoying all the nautical activities.” 

Celebrations will continue next weekend, when dozens of boats of all shapes and sizes are will take to the waves between Harwich, Shotley and Felixstowe.