Saturday, July 29, 2006
Can it really be disrespectful to swing a dead 20lb fish at a group of men to raise money for lifeboats? Somebody in Lyme Regis, Dorset, thought so and their complaint has now put an end to the 40-year tradition of "conger cuddling" in the town.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has deemed that using a dead conger eel to try to knock down some of its members is "inappropriate".
The event, traditionally held in Cobb Square in Lifeboat Week, is no more.
The eel has been replaced with a mooring buoy. Conger cuddling, which attracts up to 3,000 people every year, is not dissimilar from a game of skittles only it is on a larger scale.
Nine humans prepared to do battle with a huge, slippery eel replace the skittles.
Andrew Kaye, from the RNLI, said: "The whole idea was to raise money for the lifeboat. It has been very successful over the last 40 years.
"I think we raised £26,000 last year during Lifeboat Week and it has been rising year on year.
"An email was sent to the RNLI - we understand someone was upset and thought we were being disrespectful."
The buoy, which has replaced the offending sea creature, had its first outing on Friday.