A group of National Star students has helped create a special 'Lamprey Pie' in honour of the Coronation of King Charles III.
Working with The Folk of Gloucester volunteers, Cinderhill Farm in St Briavels and Gloucester City Council, the young people with learning difficulties and disabilities helped make and decorate this unique pie, which was presented to the King's official representative, Edward Gillespie OBE the Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, in time for the coronation on Saturday 6 May 2023.
In a tradition that harks back to medieval times, a lamprey pie has been presented to a reigning monarch by the City of Gloucester every year since the 12th century, only stopping in 1836 due to the lamprey being added to the UK endangered species list.
The lampreys that were traditionally used in these pies are small eel-like fish that live in freshwater. Now, these pies are only sent on special occasions, such as coronations, and the ingredients have, thankfully, been refreshed for 21st-century palettes, to include a pork and apple filling, with the lampreys represented in the pastry decorations.
The filling and pastry was made and cooked at Cinderhill Farm in St Briavels, Forest of Dean, with the decorations created and assembled by the National Star students and volunteers of The Folk of Gloucester group.
Alex Cooke, operations manager for The Folk of Gloucester, in Westgate Street, said: ‘We were honoured to have been asked to make the lamprey pie by Gloucester City Council. We reached out to all our friends in the community to help make it all possible.
‘National Star students come here to work on Thursdays in our café and, despite the daunting challenge, they rose to it; with Cinderhill Farm providing the filling. Everyone came together to create an amazing atmosphere.’
The civic reception, which took place on Thursday 27 April 2023, was held at The Folk of Gloucester centre on Westgate Street, and hosted local people and dignitaries connected to the city, including Howard Hyman, the Mayor of Gloucester, and Alan Myatt town crier of Gloucester.
Sue Smith, a trustee of the Gloucester Civic Trust, was in attendance — her dad ran a fishmongers on Gloucester Market in the 1950s and supplied the filling for the lamprey pie for Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953.
And Gloucester resident Charlie State, who is now in his nineties, was also at the reception — he had the once-in-a-lifetime honour of presenting the pie for the Queen’s Coronation, and brought with him a historical letter from Windsor Castle from that year, thanking Gloucester for its efforts.