THE life of Admiral Sir George Somers, a former Mayor of Lyme Regis, was celebrated this week with a procession through the town.
The annual Somers Day celebrations were held on Wednesday, commemorating the former mayor and MP who become the founding father of Bermuda, after being shipwrecked off the islands on his way to help the beleaguered settlers of new English colony Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609.
The historic story led to the twinning of Lyme Regis and St George’s, in Bermuda, in the 1990s, and more recently the ‘tripling’ with the historic site Jamestown.
Events on Wednesday started with town crier Alan Vian giving a cry at the statue of Sir George Somers in Langmoor Gardens.
The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Michaela Ellis, was then joined by former Mayor of St George’s, Mariea Casey, and Marilyn Fox, wife of the late Richard Fox MBE, who established the twinning link between Lyme and St George’s, to unveil an information board about the life of George Somers next to his statue.
Guests then enjoyed coffee at the Alexandra Hotel, where Mrs Fox unveiled a portrait of her late husband, a former world champion town crier, by local artist Maxime Xavier. The painting was donated to the town of Lyme Regis and will be hung in the Guildhall.
Later that morning, the annual Admiral Sir George Somers Commemoration Parade was led down Broad Street, along Marine Parade and out to the end of the Cobb, where a short service and flag raising was held.
The procession was led by local and visiting town criers, including the town crier of St George’s, David Frith, playing the bagpipes, and of Bermuda’s capital Hamilton, Ed Christopher. They were followed by the civic party, members of the Lyme Regis/St George’s Twinning Association and other visitors from Bermuda.
The procession and service on the Cobb was followed by a two-course lunch at the Royal Lion Hotel, before guests made their way to Whitchurch Canonicorum, the home village of Sir George Somers, for a church service and afternoon tea.