Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Crowds gather as National Fish & Chip Day artwork comes to life

As the nation prepares to honour those who took part in the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy, an incredibly special artwork was brought to life on Beadnell Beach, near Seahouses in Northumberland.

The sand artwork was created by renowned artist Claire Eason from Soul2Sand. She, and the sponsorship team, took six hours to create the masterpiece which unveils the date of this year’s National Fish & Chip Day.

Due to the exceptional links between fish and chips and WWII, but D-Day in particular, this annual event has moved from its traditional Friday date to Thursday 6th June – marking the 80th anniversary of the largest naval, land and air operation in history.

National Fish & Chip Day

Fish and chips were called ‘Good Companions’ by Winston Churchill; his Government safeguarded the supply of fish and potatoes to ensure the dish remained unrationed as it was felt it would be detrimental to the morale of the nation.

Fish and chips are often considered to be Britain’s national dish and this nutritious meal was a vital ingredient of the war effort in both the First and Second World Wars.

National Fish & Chip Day

During the D-Day landings, soldiers who found themselves behind enemy lines at night and needing a way of telling whether someone nearby was a friend or foe – they devised a two-word code…one would call ‘fish’ and the other replied ‘chips’.

The sand art was the brainchild of joint headline sponsors of National Fish & Chip Day, The Q Partnership which is made up of three family wholesalers to the fish and chip industry, Friars Pride, Henry Colbeck and V A Whitley.

National Fish & Chip Day

Georgina Colbeck, from Henry Colbeck said:

“As a national team of family businesses supplying the Fish & Chip industry we’ve always sponsored National Fish & Chip Day.

However, this year we believe we found a resonant way to bring the event to life by commissioning Clare, highlighting the new Thursday date and the D-Day landings.

The Q Partnership team found it poignant as we worked on the beach, thinking of those who 80 years ago found themselves on Normandy beaches and of those who risked their lives in the fishing industry feeding the nation.

Winston Churchill famously said ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ and we are grateful that we have been able to commemorate this special year on the beach.”

Claire Eason said:

“Fish and chips are part of British identity and their historic link with WW2 made this project especially moving as we mark the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day landings. Recreating the celebratory design on the beach was really enjoyable as the paper plan became a 90’ x 90’ sand picture.

Remembering those that had sacrificed their lives for our freedom was very much part of the process. A grid was placed over the paper design and a huge corresponding grid was created on the sand, which allowed the plan to be scaled up. We used rakes as pencils, drawing in the outline then raking the damp sand to give a darker colour to build the image.

National Fish & Chip Day

The design involved fine detail and precision raking which the enthusiastic team took in their stride. It was so special to be involved in this very British celebration.”

National Fish & Chip Day recognises and thanks everyone involved in bringing fish and chips to the centre of every community; from those who go out in all weathers to catch the delicious fish, and the farmers who grow and harvest the perfect potatoes and peas, to the fish and chip shops and restaurants who take those fresh ingredients and create our family favourite.

What better way to do this in 2024 than by joining in the celebrations on Thursday 6th June and enjoying some delicious fish and chips from your local chippy, while at the same time showing your appreciation for the incredible sacrifice made by so many to secure the freedom that we all continue to enjoy today.

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