Morris dance side celebrates 30 years

The Royal Oak morris side with co-founder Kevin Lodge (kneeling).
The Royal Oak morris side with co-founder Kevin Lodge (kneeling).

Morris dancers from around Northamptonshire and beyond will be joining in celebrations for an Eydon morris side’s 30th anniversary today (Saturday).

Members of Royal Oak Morris, along with eight other sides based in the county and in surrounding counties, will be dancing from Eydon to Byfield from 3pm onwards.

Founded by Kevin Lodge and John Cannell, the dancing group formed as a new side in 1985 to dance at the village fete. It was later discovered that there was a tradition of Morris in the village.

The side mainly dance dances around Cotswold villages with a particular focus on the village of Badby, the closest village where a traditional Morris team is known to have existed and whose dances were recorded.

Speaking of Kevin and John, Jane Murray from Royal Oak Morris said: “These two stalwart gentlemen have unfailingly nurtured the spirit of morris throughout the last 30 years and, thanks to them, Royal Oak are still going strong, still playing their part in keeping alive the music and dance traditions of our local villages.

“New members of any age and both sexes are warmly welcomed, to share the fun of traditional dancing in front of local audiences, whether it’s in the street outside the pub, at town and village events, at fetes and festivals, or for special family occasions.

“It should be a colourful and lively party on Saturday.”

The celebrations will start at the Royal Oak in Eydon at 3pm and end at Byfield village hall.

Royal Oak Morris perform from St George’s Day until July, as well as at some winter occasions. Members practice at Eydon village hall on Thursdays at 8pm. Anyone is welcome to join.

To find out more about the side, visit www.royaloakmorris.org.uk