A POPULAR television historian will be a special guest speaker at Colchester’s historic oyster feast.

Since 1845 the town’s annual feast has celebrated Colchester’s rich heritage and sense of community.

This year, mayor and mayoress Nick and Elizabeth Cope will be joined in the town’s Moot Hall by several esteemed guest speakers.

Dan Cruickshank, famed art historian and BBC presenter, will attend alongside respected author Liz Trenow, who previously worked at the Gazette, musician Nigel Hildreth and Sally Leung, retired headteacher and founder of the Military Wives Choir.

Mr Cope will also welcome representatives from Colchester’s twin town Wetzlar in Germany.

The traditional feast can trace its roots back to the St Dennis Fair in the 14th century.

It was revived in 1845 by then mayor Henry Wolton, who was a great traditionalist.

The feast to celebrate Colchester’s famous oysters has attracted famous guests including former prime ministers Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George, inventor Heath Robinson and even foreign royalty such as the Sultan of Zanzibar.

Mr Cope said: “Colchester’s world-famous oyster feast is a wonderful occasion to celebrate the borough’s rich history and heritage.

“It is our immense privilege and honour to host this year’s pageantry, which we look forward to sharing with our guests in celebration of the best of Colchester.”

The Oyster Feast banquet will be held on October 25, and provided by Le Talbooth, Dedham.

An alternative oyster feast seating 100 people will be held on the same day at Greenstead Social Club.

Councillor Dave Harris and Ron Douglas, chairman of the National Pensioners Convention, put on the event to combat isolation and loneliness.

Fish and chip suppers will be served alongside a round of bingo, a raffle and advice from guest speaker Les Nicoll of Essex Fire Service.