Morris Men dance to mark anniversary

VIDEO Valentine, The Maid and the Palmer, The Quaker - these are some of today's traditional dances handed down from generation to generation of Morris Men.

VALENTINE, The Maid and the Palmer, The Quaker - these are some of today's traditional dances handed down from generation to generation of Morris Men.

And as East Suffolk Morris Men celebrate their 50th anniversary, the dances were performed for the first time at the home of Suffolk County Council, Endeavour House, in Ipswich.

Morris Men from Suffolk and a visiting folk group - Kursiu Ainiai - from Klaipeda, in Lithuania, took to the floor of the building atrium and danced in support of the council chairman's charity - Macmillan Cancer Support.

Phil Parham, 48, a health and safety manager for the council is the current leader 'squire' of the East Suffolk Morris Men. The group has close links with the Lithuanian dancers.

Mr Parham, of Warren Lane, Martlesham Heath, said he joined the group in October 1984.

He added: “This year we are celebrating 50 years of the East Suffolk Morris Men and this event is one of many we are taking part in this year.

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“Morris dancing preserves ancient English tradition. The earliest written reference to Morris dancing is in the 15th century but we believe it has been going on for much longer than that.

“The origins of Morris dancing is unclear but some say it was imported and others say it is pagan in origin. The truth is unknown.”

Morris man Michael Palmer, of Mickfield, has been dancing for 26 years.

The 63-year-old said the group regularly travels abroad.

He added: “It's a very good social thing to do and we have a lot of enjoyment travelling with the dancing. It gives us the opportunity to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Are you a fan of Morris Dancing? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

IT is a year of double celebrations for founder member Des Herring.

The octogenarian said: “I have celebrated my 80th birthday and 50th anniversary of the group in the same year. I keep dancing because I enjoy it.

“For the last 30 years we've travelled abroad about twice a year so I've travelled the world with the dancing. Last year we were in Inner Mongolia and we've been to Siberia.

“I like to see the dances preserved as long as people enjoy doing them and enjoy watching them.”

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