A MAJOR arts festival lit up Harwich Quay with a stunning opening ceremony.

The Harwich Festival of the Arts began on Wednesday as the Tendring Brass Band played a concert to an assembled crowd aboard the LV18 lightship.

As dusk fell, the ship’s light was illuminated for the first time and shone brightly across the quay, and was even visible across the water in Shotley.

Debutant festival director Roderick Earlie believes this year’s 12-day spectacular cab be a huge success.

He said: “There is a great sense of excitement because we have worked very hard for more than a year.

“This year, we want to get as many young people involved in the festival as possible and there is lots of educational work going on.

“I am looking forward to everything we have going on and hoping we get a good response from the audience.”

More than 40 paintings by Dutch artist Piet Mulder – who spent much of his life painting views of Harwich and Dovercourt before he died in 2001 – were provided by his son Reinjan, who travelled from the Netherlands for the opening ceremony. The works will be displayed at the High Lighthouse and Reinjan believes his father would have been delighted.

He said: “He was here for 27 years and he would be amazed – he was such a modest man.

“I am so proud that I helped to make it happen, but I am just sorry that he is not here to see it.

“I never believed his work would be on show in this great big lighthouse, which is one of the main buildings in Harwich.”