Bells and whistles usher in new season
Date published: 29 March 2016
THEY came, they danced, and the Saddleworth Morris Men definitely conquered across the hillside villages at the weekend.
Hundreds of people turned out to applaud the 30-strong team as they performed to launch their packed season of entertainment.
This year’s colourful mosaic was particularly poignant for David Biggs, a specialist cardiology nurse, who took his first tentative steps as a morris dancer when he was just nine years old. Affectionately known as “Biggsy”, Dave took the staff of office as the team’s new squire at Maundy Thursday’s event at the historic Road End Fair, Greenfield.
The squire plays a key role with the team and has overall responsibility for its members.
Richard Hankinson, squire of Saddleworth morris men for 25 years, confided: “I taught Dave his first dance steps — he’ll make an excellent squire. Morris dancing is going from strength to strength locally. There is a real bedrock of interest.”
The team’s current outgoing squire, Ed Worrall has been elevated to become Squire of the Morris Ring, the national association of men’s Morris and Sword Dance clubs, later this year. It is part of a group representing more than 800 sides in the UK and abroad.
After the ceremonial handover, members of the public witnessed new recruit David Harrison take part in the traditional “Greenfield dance” to earn the side’s coveted waistcoat.
David, who is married to Richard Hankinson’s daughter Karen, said: “It’s fantastic to be part of such a great team — I will wear the waistcoat with pride.”
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