Many councillors look to bump each other in the chamber, but on Tuesday the bell was rung to signal the official opening of the 813th King’s Lynn Mart before they were doing it on the dodgems.

Pomp and tradition was upheld on St Valentine’s Day as the official procession of dignitaries, clergy and guests made its way through the High Street to the Tuesday Market Place.

Crowds gathered to watch the annual ceremony. Prayers and the blessing were given by the Rev Canon Christopher Ivory, of King’s Lynn Minster, and  the Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick.

They called for safety and enjoyment of the fair and the ancient Mart proclamation was also read.

John Culine, president of the Showmen’s Guild, said it was a prestigious event which had been attended by generations.

The Mart was officially declared open by West Norfolk Mayor, David Whitby, who spoke about its history since 1204 in reign of King John.

He also admitted he would be sticking to the side stalls and not the high-speed rides, which he said he would leave to the “brave people”.

Mr Whitby thanked everyone for making the visit possible and joined guests, which included North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, for a traditional spin on the dodgem cars. The fair will remain in town until February 25.

Mayor of West Norfolk David Whitby opens King’s Lynn’s 813th Mart on St Valentine’s Day in Tuesday Market Place. Pictures: Tony Jones