Two huge surprises made a Maryport festival one that organisers will never forget.

‘Over Here, Over There’ was a combined effort by the Maryport Maritime Museum and the Settlement on Castle Hill.

A central feature was an exhibition of work by renowned seascape artist William Mitchell who came from Ireland to make his home in the town.

On Saturday a family arrived with a Mitchell painting that had never been seen in public.

The family, who did not want to be named, said the prolific artist had not been able to pay a debt to their family and, instead, painting a picture of a ship they owned.

The painting caused something of a sensation, especially for two members of the Mitchell family who provided a second surprise.

Liz, a direct descendant of Mitchell, arrived at the festival from Scotland. With her was her sister Sue, who had been visiting from Australia and postponed her trip home to see the exhibition.

The sisters were each presented with a William Mitchell trail poster, designed by local artist Alan Roper. They were also given the lyrics of a song especially written by Steve Wharton from the Cumbrian folk band Herdus, who entertained on Saturday night.

Festival spokeswoman Linda Wyatt said organisers were delighted with the event.

“We had over 200 coming through during the weekend and 35 followed the harbour trail and just as many took part in the Mitchell trail,” she said.

“Numbers on the trail fell away on Sunday because of the weather but they still went ahead!”

A highlight was the only paid-for event of the weekend, an evening with Herdus. “That was very well received.”

Linda said the exhibition showed the influence Maryport has had on the world, both from the people who made their name abroad and those who came to Maryport to succeed in their chosen fields.

The inclusion of Maryport’s Walker brothers in the festival, who are credited with forming the Japanese merchant navy, meant the festival was marked as an official event in the Japan-UK cultural calendar for 2019/20.

Mrs Wyatt said their were no Japanese people at the festival but it is hoped its inclusion in that calendar might attract visitors to the town later.