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Second time around - Deputy Frank Pomroy with wife Win (pic Liz Artindale)

Choosing Day first as Covid rules prevent traditional ceremony

Choosing Day, the ancient ceremony to install a new Deputy for the Cinque Port Liberty of Brightlingsea recorded a notable first when it took place this week on the traditional first Monday after St Andrew's Day.

Instead of the usual ceremony at All Saints’ church attended by Brightlingsea Freemen and representatives of the Kent and Sussex Cinque Ports, Covid restrictions meant the event had to be held online.

Last year’s Deputy, Frank Pomroy, was elected to the post for a second year, an unusual, but not unprecedented occurrence, as his last year – usually packed with social and civic occasions – has been so badly affected by the pandemic.

This year’s Choosing Day saw 53 Freemen attend online. New Freemen who have lived in Brightlingsea for a year and a day held up the traditional payment of 11 old pennies for all to see instead of handing the money over to the Liberty’s treasurer. Those of Brightlingsea birth or those who “had the good sense to have married a Brightlingsea girl” are given their Freedom without payment.

Brightlingsea is a Limb of the port of Sandwich and the only one outside Kent or Sussex with a connection to the Cinque Ports – a confederation of ports that dates back to the 13thC – thanks to its supply of ships and men to what was a fledgling Royal Navy.

For more information on the Cinque Port Liberty, click here.

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