Community Participation

Katie Morris 2018 Sea Queen’s speech

The Sea Queen is chosen from applicants who demonstrate their commitment to community events. The successful candidate has to arrange an intergenerational event during their ‘term of office’. Participation in other events such as laying a wreath on behalf of the community at Remembrance Day parades, or at Community Christmas events are part of the Sea Queen’s duties

Primary 1 and 2 children support the ‘Royal’ Party at the two ceremonies and procession

Primary 6 and 7 children take part as crown bearers and heralds.

Living History Characters –

The press gang hauling off Thomas Watson, Robert McAlpine Wemyss Photo

Each year about 30 towns folk of all ages dress up as specific characters from Cellardyke’s past, researching and telling their personal story and bringing the past to life. Some are even descendants of the original characters.

Volunteer costume makers have re created Oilskins and other specific costumes for the event    

5 Citizens each remebering a member of the Community lost in WW1 and Steve Corlett, Falklands vertern for a wreath party for the centenary year

In 2018 – 5 living history characters represented individuals from each branch of the services who had been lost: Army, Royal Navy, Royal Flying Corps, Merchant Navy and Women’s Army Auxilliary. They took part in the event to tell their tale and process with the wreath accompanied by a local Falklands War veteran  who carried the Flag on behalf of the British Legion.

The Fisherlassies Choir 2018 doubled in size for 2019

A Fisherlassies choir of locals has come together to take part in the event

Bunting making

Volunteers went to the local sheltered housing complex to mix and chat with the residents to make bunting for the streets, these makers and residents were also entertained by volunteer local musicians

Chris Oliver’s photo of the Street Decoration

Bunting and street decoration has now been taken on by each street and become competitive with an award being given to the best dressed street.

Window Dressing

One of over thirty houses with windows dressed

An annual competition to decorate house windows with a theme related that house’s  historical or contemporary use – annually over 30 windows are on display. Examples are houses that were bakers shops or factories, or a resident’s participation in the fishing industrry or WW1 service.

Wreath laying

Wreath being laid at Sea

After the crowning ceremony the Sea Queen takes a wreath out to sea to be laid on the sea to remember all those lost and those left behind. A specially composed pipe lament is played by the granddaughter of a local fisherman

In 2018 a grandson of an ex pat Sea Queen carried the wreath in the procession, he also represented ex Cellardyke residents who had emigrated and had served and lost their lives in the Great War.


The crews of the Pittenweem and Anstruther Skiffs Celebrate the newly crowned Queen

St Ayles, Anstruther, Coastal Rowing club is an integral part of the event , providing 3 boats to ferry living history character Bishop James Kennedy and press ganged Thomas Watson from Anstruther to Cellardyke harbour. Skiffs from the other local villages are now being woven into the event.

Bishop Kennedy Arrives

On the following  day after the Sea Queen Crowning the Rowing club hold a community challenge, giving businesses and organisations a chance to compete for a cup. The rowers who are novices have two practices before the competition.

In 2019, Anstruther, Pittenweem and North Berwick Skiffs oficially took part in the “Saints” theme. Crail paid an unofficial visit, and more clubs will be involved in future events

Historic Fishing Vessels

The historic fleet arrives

A fleet of historic vessels (and their crews) including boats owned by the Scottish Fisheries Museum take part to help create the unique spectacle.

2019 the Fisher Lad and Fisher Lass – Primary 6 children carried the wreath in the procession, One was great grandson of the oldest fisherman (94 years old) participating, the other was daughter of the Coxwain of the inshore lifeboat.

Gifts to the Sea – 2019

Simple model boats were made by local community organisations to carry meassages in bottles. The purpose of these was to think about those still living and working on the sea. Organisations such as Elie Fayre day, St Monans Sea Queen and Pittenweem West Braes project, participate.

The Marrella sets off a Gift to the Sea

All eight primary schools which feed into the local high school decorated sails for these boats. Each town had a theme, RNLI, Fisher folk, Yachtsmen, Oil Workers, Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, other leisure users and boatbuilders. The Primary Schools were Crail, Anstruther, Pittenweem, St Monans, Elie, Colinsburgh, Kirkton of Largo and Lundin Mill.

Each boat with message in bottle and sails was put in the sea by one of the contemporary fishing vessels.

50 Citizens

50 Citizens (2019) representing, community organistations gave a 50 gun salute using hand held confetti canon (biodegradable confetti) . This was a celebration of the Scottish Fisheries Museum’s 50th anniversary


Representatives of the 3 local churches present the regalia to the Sea Queen on the day and a new Kirking ceremony of the Sea Queen has been established on the following day. This also enables some of the older members of the community to take part in a family celebration of local community.

Ellie Deas 2019 Sea Queen lays a wreath at the Cellardyke memorial, Nov 2019
Bishop kennedy escorts newly crowned Ellie Deas 2019 Sea Queen back to the boat

A church/ community choir were formed to sing a hymn that is rooted in respect and composed for the sea faring communities.

In 2018 all former Sea Queens were invited to take part in the Kirking ceremony.

After the Kirking Service, the Sea Queen visits the sheltered housing complex and care homes to speak to residents who are frail or housebound.

Exhibitions –  guest community researcher/ historians contribute to exhibition panels on specific themes

2018 – The themes was – Cellardyke in WW1 – 10  individuals were selected and highlighted and specific community actions were included in the exhibition panels.

2019 all the children who were involved in the Gifts to the Sea project were invited to the preview of the exhibition at Pittenweem festival

Additional Community Participation

A family ceilidh is held after the crowning to thank the participants.

A video presentation of the festival is shown several months after so the participants can see themselves.

Representatives of nearby local festivals are invited to take meaningful part in the Sea Queen festival. In 2019 the St Monans Sea Queen organisation presented a name penant to the Sea Queen’s boat. The “Fruitful” was built in St Monans in 1955. Pens made from the wood removed in restoration were presented to the widow of it’s original owner and his brother.

Pittenweem West Braes Project was among local organisations represented in the 50 Gun Salute

The Anstruther Fish Bar presents gift vouchers to be awarded to the young participants and for those who have a made special effort in the event.

Sea Queen Coffee mornings

Coffee mornings bring the older community together with the Sea Queens helping to organise great community events

Volunteers and participants for the 2019 festival
Royal Party 15
Historic Boat Crews20
Skiffs (5) crews and support38
Community rowing challenge- Rowers32
Community rowing challenge – Support24
Modern fleet crews and family23
Historic Characters34
Gifts to the Sea Children (sail decoration)64
Gifts to the Sea (Boat construction)14
Window decoration30
Bunting Making13
Bunting Hanging street decoration15
Support volunteers First Aid, Communications 30
Invited participants 
(St Monans sea queen, Fisher lad and lass etc)7
50 Citizens (50 gun salute)50
Planning and event management5
Ceilidh set up5
Churches Procession/ Crowns 3
Ad hoc Church Choir for event14
Coffee Morning bakers and servers14
Film Screening Volunteers7
Street (party) caterers12
Pre event flyer distributors8
Paid help
PA and staging3
Ceilidh band4
Catering/ bar3
Hall keepers2
Pipe band24
Audiences/ attendees
Coffee Morning97
Crowning Day1800
Film Screening50
Community Challenge Audience40
Bunting making home residents20
Additional congregation at Church25

Over and above the hundreds of our community who participate –

Our bonus is an audience of up to 2000 people

Sea Queen events that lead onto or inspired other events

The WW1 commemoration inspired the Quiet Citizen’s Walk on 11th Nov 2018. A contemporary member of the community stood at the door of a house where each of the 64 persons lost in WW1 lived. They joined a silent procession to the town hall as it passed their house. In addition to this they handed over their dog tag and their name was read out at the town hall ceremony. This proved to be a very moving event.

WAAC Elizabeth Johnston, lost Dec 1918 was commemorated in two concerts with specially composed music and narrated tale leading up to the centenary of her death. A commemorative plaque was positioned on the house she lived in. This brought relations from Canada for the events.