GREY skies and light drizzle failed to dampen the spirits of thousands packed onto Poole Quay for a plunder-ful pirate party.

Held for the first time since 2019, Harry Paye Day made its long-awaited return to the Quay with a host of pirate parades, singing, dancing and festivities for dozens of families and friends.

Those bedecked in their finest pirate clobber ranged in ages from eight, eighteen to even eighty as the Jolly Roger’s flew across the Quay – where event namesake Harry Paye frequented in the 14th century.

The event blew into action with a cannon firing shortly after midday on Saturday, June 18, to mark the traditional parade where a procession comprised of Pirates of Poole members, motorcyclists, dancers, a Dorset Fire Service engine, a marching band and the RNLI to name a few.

With cheers greeting them as they walked through, the parade travelled from The Quay up Old Orchard before turning left delighting those on the High Street, ultimately completing the circle by returning quayside in front of the Sea Music sculpture.

Visitors were then treated to a range of activities, with fairground rides, games, living history areas, live music, a fancy-dress competition and even a performance by Zumba group Zumbalicious.

The three-year hiatus of the event, brought on by the pandemic, has been the longest since the Second World War.

Event organiser Brian March told the Echo he was “thrilled” by how many people turned out for this year’s Harry Paye Day.

He said: “Everything has gone fantastic so far, it’s one of those ‘and breathe’ moments. It was a very early start this morning but I’m thrilled it’s all going off.

Bournemouth Echo: Harry Paye Day 2022 at Poole QuayHarry Paye Day 2022 at Poole Quay

“There was so much of a build up to it having been away for a few years that I can now relax and enjoy it. It’s also nice to see so many people enjoying themselves.

“We’ve got all sorts of silliness going on, but definitely all good fun.”

Gloucester couple Andrew and Sue were attending the event for the first time and said they loved the “vibe” of Poole.

Sue said: “We’ve come along with a bit of a steampunk twist and will come along to anything like this. Who doesn’t love dressing up?”

Andrew added: “We love being pirates, you could say we’re professional pirates and we’re on the lookout for rum.

“Poole is great, it’s lovely. We haven’t been here for years and it’s changed a lot but it’s really good now – there’s a great vibe here.”

The pair then headed straight for the Kings Head pub for a well-deserved glass of rum.

The free event is raising money for Poole Hospital Charity and Dorset STARS (a sexual trauma charity).

Harry Paye Day concludes at 6pm on Saturday. Visit for more information.