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Morris dancing in the street - more folk dance memories in Days Gone By

PUBLISHED: 18:00 27 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:02 29 October 2020

East Suffolk Morris Men dancing in Woodbridge Picture: MIKE GARLAND

East Suffolk Morris Men dancing in Woodbridge Picture: MIKE GARLAND

MIKE GARLAND

Readers have been sharing their morris dancing memories, following our recent article about the much-loved folk tradition.

Morris dancers at Saxtead Mill in June 1966 Picture: ARCHANTMorris dancers at Saxtead Mill in June 1966 Picture: ARCHANT

Mike Garland of the East Suffolk Morris Men sent in photos of the team in varied locations.

The East Suffolk Morris Men with the late Roy Hudd Picture: C GARLANDThe East Suffolk Morris Men with the late Roy Hudd Picture: C GARLAND

He said: “We are the oldest team in Suffolk, having been started in 1958, but there was an Ipswich team run by Leslie Ford for a few years before that, and there was a Suffolk team in the 1930s.

Morris dancers entertain outside the Sole Bay Inn at Southwold,  in 2003 Picture: KEITH MINDHAM/ARCHANTMorris dancers entertain outside the Sole Bay Inn at Southwold, in 2003 Picture: KEITH MINDHAM/ARCHANT

“Des Herring and Ivo Barne started ESMM. Two members of the team have held national office in The Morris Ring, one of the national organisations for the dance, and for many years the team travelled widely, not only across Europe, but to America, Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan.

East Suffolk Morris Men performing in Trafalgar Square Picture: T GARLANDEast Suffolk Morris Men performing in Trafalgar Square Picture: T GARLAND

MORE: Bells and whistles - Morris dancing merriment

“Lockdown has obviously affected all Morris Sides, but dancers are trying hard to maintain fitness and the spirit of the dance during these exceptional times.”

Morris dancers Point Devis from Middleton performing in front of the Swan Hotel at Southwold in 2004 Picture: JOHN KERR/ARCHANTMorris dancers Point Devis from Middleton performing in front of the Swan Hotel at Southwold in 2004 Picture: JOHN KERR/ARCHANT

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Graham Day, of Stowmarket, also wrote in about his love for the traditional dance. He said: “Watching Morris dancers perform on a warm day, usually outside a pub, is a wonderful part of any summer time.

East Suffolk Morris Men on a trip to Sicily Picture: MIKE GARLANDEast Suffolk Morris Men on a trip to Sicily Picture: MIKE GARLAND

“Over the years there have been many memories, notably morris dancers outside the Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill on New Year’s Day, morris men and ladies’ clog dancers in sunny Southwold streets.

East Suffolk Morris Men performing in Ljubljana Picture: MIKE GARLANDEast Suffolk Morris Men performing in Ljubljana Picture: MIKE GARLAND

“In 1978, a Morris Ring was held in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, organised by the East Suffolk Morris Men. There were teams from all over the country, and I watched transfixed as they performed their routines.

A performance by East Suffolk Morris Men in Malta Picture: MIKE GARLANDA performance by East Suffolk Morris Men in Malta Picture: MIKE GARLAND

MORE: Morris dancing and singing at Felixstowe Folk Festival

“For my birthday one year, I paid a weekend trip to Sheringham to go the Potty Festival, which commences with a procession of dancers through the town, bringing happiness. A visit to Folk East at Glemham inevitably involves watching the morris dancing competition.”

East Suffolk Morris Men at Mendlesham Street Fair Picture: MIKE GARLANDEast Suffolk Morris Men at Mendlesham Street Fair Picture: MIKE GARLAND

Graham added: “Several years ago, we went to watch the Morris Ring in Thaxted in Essex. The highlight was the procession of teams of morris men, dancing their way down the ancient High Street.

“Because of the nature of Thaxted, buses could not be diverted, so at intervals the crowd and the dancers needed to part to allow a bus through!”

What are your memories of morris dancing and folk festivals? Email judy.rimmer@archant.co.uk or write to Judy Rimmer, Newsroom, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1RS. Order staff photos at archantsuffolk.newsprints.co.uk or call Diane Townsend on 01603 772449.


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