Saddleworth Morris Men pull on clogs despite Rushcart cancellation

THERE was no Rushcart event this year – but that didn’t stop Saddleworth Morris Men pulling on their clogs to entertain the community.

Earlier in the summer, the group confirmed its ‘heart-breaking decision’ to cancel its popular annual Rushcart event for the second year in a row due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

L to R: Eddie Worrall of Saddleworth Morris Men and former Squire of the Morris Ring, Simon Newman of Earlsdon Morris and current Squire of the Morris Ring, Richard Hankinson of Saddleworth Morris Men and former Squire of the Morris Ring

But the side still danced in the streets around Uppermill on Saturday, August 21 to mark the cancelled event.

They were joined by visiting teams from across the country, including Earlsdon, Brighton, White Hart, Jockey and others.

David Biggs, Squire of Saddleworth Morris Men, said: “It was a brilliant day and we had a decent number of attendees which will have given businesses in Saddleworth a bit of a boost in trade for what has been over a year of cancelled events.

“We aim to be back next year with a Rushcart in tow.”

It was the first time the side had danced in its full kit for two years and they were cheered on by hundreds of locals who turned out to support them, despite heavy rain.

They started off dancing at The Commie before heading down to Saddleworth Museum, where they also unveiled their new banner, which is on display in the museum window.

The banner, dedicated to the late Prince Philip, pays tribute to Ted Kent of Earlsdon Morris and Ken George of Moulton Morris Men, as well as those who the Morris Community has lost since the last Rushcart in 2019.

They finished off their tour of the village with dancing stops at the Hare & Hounds, Uppermill park, The Cross Keys and The Church Inn.

For new recruit Gary Croad, the day was a baptism of fire as he lined up with the side’s musicians for his first ever public performance after only joining in September.

Gary played the accordion but will have to wait to dance until next Easter when he will dance and sing for his waistcoat and be inducted as a fully-fledged morris man.

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