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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 November 2005, 09:36 GMT
Blacksmiths remember 'Old Clem'
Blacksmith's anvil
Blacksmiths of all abilities are gathering at Chatham Dockyard
Blacksmiths of all abilities from across England are gathering in Kent this weekend to celebrate the feast day of their patron saint, St Clement.

Students will share workshop space with some of the country's best smiths at Chatham Historic Dockyard, where they will be making ornate metalwork pieces.

The two-day event is being hosted by the dockyard's award-winning resident blacksmith, Malcolm White.

St Clement's Day, 23 November, is named after the fourth Roman Catholic pope.

Annual ceremony

In ancient times, "Old Clem" had an anvil as his emblem and is said to have been martyred by being tied to an iron anchor and thrown into the sea.

He was the chief figure in an annual ceremony at Chatham and Woolwich as late as the 19th century, when blacksmiths and apprentices would parade through the dockyards.

Today, everything from ornamental fairies to metal staircases are made at the Chatham forge.

Mr White represented England earlier this year at the International Blacksmithing Competition, when he was beaten into second place by an Australian smith.

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