send you Seasonal Greetings.
illustrates our visit to
year we carried out our traditional Christmas events:
The Bedford Victorian Fayre; the
party; and our “Carols and Capers” tour to the
White Horse, Newnham Avenue; the
Royal Oak, Roxton; the Horseshoes, Blunham; and
On Boxing Day, we danced on Bedford Embankment
and then at the Swan Hotel, where we introduced the
formal proceedings by singing the Boar's Head Carol.
The New Year started with our annual Plough
Monday Plough Play tour - we started at the Wellington
Arms then moved to the Bedford Arms; the Castle and the
February we were back in contact with a long lost past
member, Bryan Cole, who was able to provide items for
the archive, and early in March John Frearson and Les
Skinner provided an after lunch talk and music for the
Kimbolton Probus Club.
In mid-March we danced for the formal opening of
our practice hall at Ravensden, going on same evening to
join Letchworth Morris at their energetic Ale.
On April Fool’s day, we joined Aldbury Morris at
In mid-April, the plethora of Bank Holidays meant that
St. George’s Day was celebrated a
week early, with a pre-dinner performance for RAF
Summer Season started at 6.30am on the First of May.
Bedford, Offley and Letchworth Morris Men sang
the May Carol and the Northill May Song.
A selection of Morris dances followed and then
there were Folk Dances for all.
We were very pleased to see Janet Wittlestone
[daughter of Tommy Northern, who taught and inspired our
“Founders”] and her husband, and also past member Graham
Wild in the audience.
The next day, May Holiday Monday, we were again
joined by Letchworth Morris Men at the Ickwell May
Festival to dance at the Crown, Northill.
We were pleased
to see Barbara Sunderland [widow of past squire, Morris
Sunderland] who was parked for a strategic view.
The Morris led
the Procession from Northill to Ickwell, and was joined
by past Fool, Andy Malleson, who joined the band with
We busked at the May Fete and then moved on to
dance at the White Horse in Bedford, for their beer and food festival.
danced a full Wednesday evening summer programme,
despite a series of sprains, breaks and other incidents
[not all caused by Morris, but three men required time
out for operations!].
the first Wednesday in May, we made our traditional
first outing to the Fox and Hounds at Riseley.
evening was opened by the newly formed Riseley Mummers
and we were soon warmed by our dancing, and refreshed
and invigorated by the barrel of beer so very kindly
provided by our host, Jan Zielinski, who later joined us
for some favourite songs until closing time.
On the next
three May Wednesdays, we visited the Carpenter’s Arms,
Cranfield [a new venue for us with an enthusiastic
landlord who has lifted this pub into a true community
centre]; the Horse and Groom, Clapham; and the
Horseshoes, Blunham [again with a large crowd and a new
and enthusiastic landlord].
mid May, we were saddened by the death of our past
Bagman, Mike Cooper.
He had been unwell for a time, but had been to
see us on a couple of occasions in the last year.
His funeral was at Wootton church and attended by
the Bagman, Ian Daye; Angus [and Mala] Darling; and
honorary life member, Roger Nicholls.
Mike’s son-in-law, past Bedford Squire, Simon
Dommett was present, as was Roy Dommett.
the first June Wednesday we visited the Sun Inn,
Felmersham and the next week
a cricket match
intervened at Ickwell, so after a gap of several years,
we danced for a very welcoming audience at the Three
of Dean Morris Men’s
mid-June we danced a North-West Morris Tour in
Bedford, accompanied by members
of Bedford Town Band, conducted by Roger Nicholls.
We visited the Ship in St Cuthbert’s; the
Embankment Hotel; and finished at the Castle in Newnham Street.
Later in the month we danced at the Residential
Home and the Fordham Arms in Sharnbrook, and then at the
Wheatsheaf, Bow Brickhill, where we were welcomed by
Andy and Sue Malleson, also Jonathan Ginn who joined
with the musicians to play for some of the dances.
highlight in June was a Saturday visit to the “Ring
Meeting” hosted by Thaxted Morris Men to celebrate their
We toured and danced outside pubs in the sunny Essex
countryside; danced in the massed shows in Thaxted High
street; and partook of a sumptuous feast in Thaxted
parish church; where those present received a stunning
gift of a commemorative Moorcroft vase featuring the
Thaxted Morris Men.
In July, we danced at
the Polhill Arms, Renhold;
the Bedford Arms, Souldrop and on the
last Wednesday of
the season at the Bell, Odell, where we
opened with “North-West” Clog Morris and concluded with
a selection of Cotswold favourites.
In the “interval”, whilst we changed, the Riseley
Mummers performed for the crowd.
end of July, and replacing a Wednesday evening, a
representative group visited our friends, Die
Regnitztaler, in our twin town,
Making a 3a.m.
start, we drove from Bedford to Bamberg, picking
up Antony Heywood [Greensleeves/Helmond MM] near
and Keith MacDonald [BMM/Chanctonbury Ring MM] in
[both of whom are thanked for their support and without
whom we would not have been quorate].
We arrived in Bamberg for a welcome
evening meal [and other “refreshments”] at the
Regnitztaler Alm [clubhouse].
On the Friday,
we were taken on a tour of the locality and in the
evening went on the Night-Watchman’s Tour of Bamberg.
On the Saturday, we danced in Bamberg and in the
afternoon, busked at a hilltop “tearoom”; that evening
there was a party at the Alm with music and dance.
All these activities were interspersed with
copious food [and - did we mention? - drinks!!], we
naturally sampled the local speciality Rauchbier [smoked
drove home on Sunday having had, as always, a most
enjoyable visit with unrivalled hospitality.
the AGM, discussion time ran out before we decided on a
new Squire or Bagman, so the present incumbents were
incorporated into “committee” of senior members!
Richard Bird continues as Treasurer.
danced at the 34th Bedford Beer Festival,
together with two Letchworth Morris “volunteers”.
The following weekend, in glorious sunshine, we
danced two shows for the Apple Day event at Bromham
practice season is now in full swing, at Ravensden
Village Hall on Wednesday evenings at 8.15pm.
anticipate performing at the Fine Companions Party; and
our “Carols and Capers” Border tour will be on the
Wednesday just before Christmas.
On Boxing Day we will be on Bedford Embankment
and then at the Swan Hotel.
In the New Year we will be performing our Plough
Monday Mummers’ play.
The dates and venues [as available] are listed on
our card; updated below and will be published on our
thank our “hosts” for their generosity, tolerance and
friendship through the year, and hope to see friends old
and new, this Winter season and during next year, when
we will celebrate our 80th Anniversary.
Meanwhile, to you all, Wassail, and a very Happy
Christmas and peaceful New Year,
of how to join
Morris Men; information on our
events; or to check our programme - contact: