Young Greenfield cubs have not been inspired by the thoughts of reaching for the stars and dancing like screen hero Billy Elliot…
Instead they have been fired up by a dazzling performance of the legendary Saddleworth Morris Men who danced at St Mary’s school’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations last year.
The Morris Men, who entertain in shows and competitions across the country, were invited by leaders of the (23rd Oldham) St Mary’s Scout Group to teach youngsters a special traditional Greenfield Dance from their repertoire.
The training sessions were organised by Ed Worrall, 42, a solicitor from Uppermill, who joined Saddleworth Morris 13 years ago.
He said: “The children and parents made us feel really welcome at the Jubilee and got in touch to ask if we’d come and do some Morris workshops for the cubs.
“We started in the New Year and had more than 20 lads and the Scout leaders learning the Greenfield dance.
“They all put a lot of effort and enthusiasm into the dancing which was great to see. After three workshop sessions we had put together a special version of the Greenfield dance that was ready to perform.
“Parents were invited into the end of the last session and then three sets of cubs danced the Greenfield Morris dance to a great reception.”
Mr Worrall, the Rushcart Festival secretary, said Saddleworth Morris had a strong lads side until around 20 years ago, when it folded.
Many of the dancers in the current Morris side started in the lads team.
He added: “Teaching St.Mary’s the traditional Morris dance collected in their own village has shown us just how much interest there is among children in Saddleworth’s communities in local traditions.
“Getting children involved in their own traditions keeps them alive and helps make Saddleworth the fantastic community it is.
“It has certainly made us look at running these kind of workshops again – it would be great to see a lads team dancing again at our Rushcart Festival later in the year.
“I would like to widen this out to a recruitment campaign,” he added.
And the Saddleworth Morris Men’s squire, Richard Hankinson, added: “A group of about six morris men attended the Cub-scout meetings every Tuesday in January and taught the cubs a version of our Greenfield dance, which they performed in front of some of their parents last month.
“Those involved thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we hope the lads of St Mary’s Scouts did too.
“Hopfully, as those lads get older, some of them will join Saddleworth Morris Men and reduce the average age of our side.”