A CELEBRATION of seafood has got underway in Lyme Regis with Mackerel Week raising more than £2,000 in its first three days.

And there’s still more fun to come with cafés and restaurants throughout the town offering a variety of mackerel dishes to raise more funds for the RNLI.

Mackerel Week, which runs from July 4 to 11, is a festival co-ordinated by members of the Lyme Traders Organisation in association with Hix Oyster and Fish House.

The event was first held last year and was hailed a huge success after raising more than £3,000 for three local charities – the RNLI, the Fisherman’s Mission and the Marine Theatre.

Organiser Jo Harris said: “This year we raised just over £1,000 from the feast at the Marine Theatre and more than £1,000 for the Fishermen’s Mission from the auction afterwards.

“Also, our cook off on the seafront on Saturday raised a total of £385 for the RNLI.

“The panel talk on sustainable fishing was hosted by Dan Saladino from the Food Programme on BBC Radio 4.

“This was also recorded for the radio show, which will provide great coverage for the theatre and the town.

“After the cook-off, Mark Hix also visited Charmouth School’s summer fair and made another six mackerel dishes using the BBQ at the fair.

“The children really enjoyed the dishes and tried things their parents said they would never have eaten at home, so that was a great end to the day on Saturday.”

This year, Mackerel Week kicked off at 6pm on July 4 with a panel discussion on sustainable fishing with chefs Mark Hix, Mitch Tonks, Gill Meller and more.

After this, a mouth-watering mackerel feast was held at 7.30pm at The Marine Theatre, prepared by Mark and the Fish House team.

The three-course menu included a wide variety of sizzling mackerel recipes including mackerel bones, smoked mackerel, the Fish House signature salad, soused mackerel with seashore vegetables, barbecued mackerel and Eton Mess for dessert.

All the money raised from the feast goes towards the Marine Theatre, and an auction of dishes after dinner raised more money for the Fishermen’s Mission.

Crowds flocked to the Marine Parade shelters on Saturday for the return of Challenge Hix just after midday, where Mark and his head chef Lin Pidsley battled it out in a cook-off challenge to create the most dishes in just one hour.

Various dishes were then sold to members of the audience raising money for the RNLI.

Those interested could also buy tickets for Mark Hix’s Kitchen Table event on Monday, focusing on Lyme Bay mackerel.

A 1pm talk by Mark Hix at the Marine Parade shelters on Tuesday focused on smoking and curing fish at home.

Jo added: “A total of 77 dishes were created in just one hour at the cook off, which is an amazing effort by both Mark and Lin.

“Thank you to all those who have visited the event and donated so far; it’s been great to see so many familiar faces coming back for every event we do.

“It’s also been great to see the level of enthusiasm and excitement from the community in Lyme Regis, so here’s to the same place and time next year.

“A big thank you must also go to our sponsors West Country Catch, who donated all the mackerel for the event.

“There are still a variety of restaurants offering mackerel themed dishes across the town until tomorrow, so anyone who still wants to donate can definitely do so.

“Everyone is now asking about the Food Rocks Festival this September 6 and 7, where there will be a range of kids activities on offer as well as the usual favourites – all to raise money once again for the RNLI.”

For more information visit hixoysterandfishhouse.co.uk or email mackerelcomp@lymeregisfestivals.org