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We were really pleased to be asked back to lead the parade for the Offham May Day celebrations and to perform some dances to entertain the crowds.
This year, we were blessed with beautifully sunny weather with not a cloud in the sky and there was a large crowd in attendance. Every year, the whole village seems to get involved and it has a great community feel to it. The day is always excellently organised with a well-established format that works to perfection.
We congregated at the Village Hall, having left our excess baggage with Alan at the quintain. While we were waiting for the parade to form up, I had a sneaky look at the cricket match that was in progress on the adjoining pitch. It was very tempting to spend the afternoon basking in the sunshine but duty called!
Once everyone was assembled, the parade set off through the streets of the village, led by Kettle Bridge, with the May Queen following on a trailer pulled by a tractor. The local school children who perform the maypole dance brought up the rear. A certain dancer (no names, please) had an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction en route but gamely carried on and no-one noticed.
On reaching the village green, Kettle Bridge performed their first stand with the May Queen looking on. This featured Sidcot, Annie's and Lostock, which were all well received by the audience.
While the May Queen went off to get crowned and the maypole dancers took their turn in performing, it was an opportunity for us to have a refreshing cuppa — oh and some cake! There were various stalls and displays on the green including a chocolate tombola (that I had to have a go at), face painting, and children's rides. The pub was doing a roaring trade and the barbecue was very popular.
There was also a plant and flower stall provided by Spadework which is an excellent charity local to Offham. It provides life skills, training and work experience for people with learning and other disabilities and the site features a garden centre, farm shop and café. It is definitely worth popping in if you are passing that way and you will be supporting a very worthwhile cause.
All too soon, it was time for Kettle Bridge to perform again but not before a series of children's races (the Offham Dash) up the hill to the village green. For our second stand, we performed Aughton 8 and Marston, finishing off with an audience participation version of Churchtown. This is always popular, especially with very young children, who enjoy stomping their feet and shaking their sticks.
That was the end of another rewarding day of dancing. Thanks go to the organisers for an excellent day and to the band for keeping going in the heat. We must also mention the team supporters and especially Michael B who looked pretty well back to his old self again.