Piel Island crowns new King

Almost 200 people expressed an interest in becoming landlord of a remote Cumbrian island pub, but on Saturday, the successful bidder was crowned King.

Aaron Sanderson, 33, who also works as an electrical team leader at BAE Systems Submarines, is looking forward to continuing the traditions of Piel after being charmed by the place while visiting the island often throughout his life.

The newly crowned King has been living on the island for a few months and has enjoyed a summer of hard work and success.

Historic tradition saw Aaron crowned on Saturday at 2pm during a ceremony that involved a baptism by beer – sat on the throne while gallons of stale beer was poured over his head. A former King of Piel Island, Rod Scarr, led the ceremony.

Talking about the crowning, Aaron said: “I really enjoyed the ceremony – it’s a unique and brilliant tradition.

“I’ve already settled into island life and have enjoyed a summer full of visitors. It’s been amazing to see the wildlife on the island and to have so many days of beautiful weather – it’s been glorious.

“It’s hard work but I’m enjoying it and keen to make the island a success.”

Piel Island, which is only 50 acres in size, falls under the custodianship of Barrow Borough Council. It hosts an array of wildlife and is home to the ruins of Historic England-run Piel Castle, a now derelict structure built in the 14th Century.

In the 15th century, pretender to the throne Lambert Simnel landed on Piel Island declaring himself King of England. Today, if you sit in the King’s throne in the pub, you have to buy a round of beer for everyone.

Councillor Tony Callister, Lead Member for Arts, Culture and Leisure, said: “Piel Island is an incredible place filled, rich in wildlife, history and tradition. We know it has a special place in the hearts of many local people who visit every year.

“It’s wonderful that the next King of Piel has been crowned after a glorious summer on the island. Piel has an exciting future ahead of it and we all wish Aaron well for the years ahead.”

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