Greensleeves' annual Boxing Day tour
A crowd of several hundred spectators gathered on Boxing Day to watch Greensleeves Morris Men, Merton’s popular local Morris dancing side, perform their traditional Mummers play and dance outside the Hand in Hand and neighbouring Crooked Billet public houses on the Crooked Billet at the edge of Wimbledon Common.
The packed performance rounded off Greensleeves’ annual Boxing Day tour which started in the morning at Alexander House care home, off Ridgway, followed by a lunchtime performance in Wimbledon Village High Street.
“Greensleeves performing here is a Christmas tradition - people look forward to this. It’s very enjoyable, no one wants to go home,” commented Andrew Ford, landlord of The Hand in Hand public house.
“The turnout was phenomenal. There were easily a couple of hundred people here today. It’s a community thing; there are a lot of familiar faces here today - it’s part of peoples’ traditional Christmas.”
Greensleeves’ started their Christmas tour at Alexander House, a residential care home with 20 elderly residents that is run by Keychange Charity, a Christian residential care home charity.
The care home’s residents as well as staff look forward to Greensleeves’ annual visit, according to Alexander House manager, Rory Belfield.
“The residents have said how much they enjoyed Greensleeves’ performance this year and they want them booked for next Christmas,” Belfield said. “It’s very positive - it’s about the outside world coming in here. We also have had schools coming in to sing carols.”
Moving on to nearby Wimbledon Village High Street, Greensleeves entertained a large crowd at their noontime performance opposite the Rose & Crown public house, attracting families and passersby out for a Boxing Day lunchtime stroll, and those looking for bargains in the village’s High Street shops on the first day of the winter season sales.
“As usual it’s been an excellent Boxing Day. We have been performing our Mummers Play for more than 20 years. It’s enjoyed by the crowds and pub audiences,” commented Dave Legg, Squire (leader) of Greensleeves Morris Men.
“We’ve had very enthusiastic crowds. We had a good reception at Alexander House and the residents enjoyed themselves; and there’s always a great crowd in Wimbledon Village.
“There was a good audience at the Rose and Crown, and a festive atmosphere at the Hand In Hand and Crooked Billet. This is an enjoyable traditional Boxing Day event.”
For those interested in English traditional dancing and folk music, Greensleeves is offering first time and returning dancers the chance to join in the fun of Morris dancing at the club’s first practice session of 2015.
The first practice session will be held on Friday 9 January from 8pm to 10pm at South Wimbledon Community Centre, 78 Victory Road, SW19 IHN.
Loose clothing and trainers are suggested for those trying Morris dancing for the first time.
“If you want to try out Morris dancing why not come along to our first practice of the New Year on Friday 9 January? Everyone is welcome,” Legg said.
Founded in 1926, Greensleeves (www.greensleevesmorris.org.uk) is London’s longest established Morris dancing club and has been based in Wimbledon SW19 for the past 32 years.
Beginners are welcome and inquiries can be addressed to the club secretary (known as a Bagman) David Cooling on 07500993993 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 1, 2015