Winchelsea wines and dines Morris

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Morris-2012Unexpectedly fair weather blessed a packed Whitsun gathering in Winchelsea. There were cellar tours throughout the weekend, with a particularly large turnout on Monday afternoon. On Saturday, the Winchelsea Bonfire Boyes held their annual Asparagus Evening fund-raiser. A record attendance consumed over 40lb of the locally grown green delicacy, accompanied by salmon and new potatoes, and a wine-tasting. The kitchens of Winchelsea were hard at work all day beforehand.

On Sunday, the Bonfire Boyes hosted the annual visit of the East Surrey Morris Men, who came hot foot from Rye, accompanied by dancers from Wimbledon and Utrecht. The Bonfire Boyes provided tea, cakes, sandwiches and beer for those Morris Men who still had a thirst after earlier visits to five pubs.WT at Morris dancing

The dancing took place in Castle Street, outside what used to be the Castle Inn. For many years after the pub closed and was converted into a house, the Morris Men were hosted by the house-holders Fran Packard and her late husband, Reg. The Bonfire Boyes have stepped in as hosts this year, as Fran is no longer able to act as host, although she once again threw open her garden to the visitors. This was the 58th year that East Surrey has visited Winchelsea at Whitsun and the Bonfire Boyes are keen to ensure the visit carries on.

The Winchelsea Bonfire Boyes fund-raising programme will continue in June with a performance by the touring outdoor theatre group The Rude Mechanicals on Sunday June 19 at 7:30pm on the grounds of the school. The audience is invited to picnic before the performance. Tickets are available on 01323-501260 and online at www.therudemechanicaltheatre.co.uk. The play to be performed, Macbyrd, is described as a comedy thriller set among the birds!
The high point of the Bonfire Boyes fund-raising programme this year will be in August. On August 13, there will be a pop-up medieval street fair to replace the cancelled summer fete. And on Saturday August 27 , the Bonfire Boyes will hold their annual summer hog roast.

Photos: Richard Comotto

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