AN historic civic event to celebrate Colchester’s famous oysters is back.

Colchester’s traditional oyster feast dates back to 1845 and sees hundreds of guests gather at Colchester Town Hall.

Revellers enjoy a banquet featuring fresh oysters, dredged from Colne Oyster Fisheries, as well as hear from a collection of guest speakers.

The event is one of the biggest and most significant in Colchester’s civic calendar, attracting the borough’s most esteemed faces each year.


Due to Covid restrictions, last year’s oyster feast was postponed and instead marked with a virtual celebration of the event’s history.

It was the first time the event had to be postponed in its 175 year history, other than in war time.

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This year, with the celebrations returning to normal, the mayor and mayoress of Colchester, Robert and Liz Davidson, will be joined in the Moot Hall by more than 200 guests and an illustrious line-up of guest speakers.

Firstsite director Sally Shaw, former international footballer Peter Shilton, Dr Thomas Cameron, senior lecturer in ecology at the University of Essex and Nigel Hildreth, musical director of the Colne Valley Youth Orchestra will be among those giving speeches to the guests in the Moot Hall.

Among the mayor’s other guests will be representatives from Colchester’s twin town, Wetzlar, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jennifer Tolhurst, the High Sheriff of Essex Simon Brice, chairman of Essex County Council Eddie Johnson and Colchester’s High Steward Sir Bob Russell.

Colchester Garrison Commander Lieutenant Colonel Ed Rankin and Garrison Chief of Staff Major Leighton Snook will also be present.

The Town Watch will greet arriving guests and, in time-honoured tradition, the mayor will join guests in sampling the borough’s famous oysters.

In a statement Mr and Mrs Davidson said: “The world-renowned Oyster Feast is a wonderful occasion to celebrate the borough’s rich past and heritage.

“It is our great honour and privilege to be hosting this year’s event, and we look forward to sharing with our guests another celebration of the best of Colchester.”

Dinner at the Oyster Feast will be provided by Milsoms Catering, while music will be performed by organist Dr Ian Ray, The Hoolies Shanty Crew, The Caledonian Reelers, and Ariori Strings.

During last year’s online event, a number of resources were created so residents could join in from the comfort of their homes.