People’s Park Centenary, Banbury, 14 July 19

AVMM were honoured to be invited by Banbury Town Council to participate in this unique celebration of local societies, history and culture. A large crowd enjoyed the various stalls, entertainments and displays of local produce and societies. Following the grand procession which opened proceedings, our musician, Donald talked about the history of the side for Radio Oxford, before they featured an interview with someone called Ed Sheeran, who is apparently a popular musician, if not perhaps as versatile as our Donald.

Most of the dancers who had turned out at Kineton the previous day performed again in front of the large crowds attending this magnificent event. In addition, we were joined by the grand old man of the side, Dorset Dave, whose experience was much appreciated on popular dances such as Lads a’Bunchum, Sweet Jenny Jones and Postman’s Knock. Dave also used the microphone to good effect, introducing the audience to three generations of the same family with six year old Owen, proving particularly popular with the crowd. Donald dedicated our performance of Old Woman Tossed Up In A Blanket to our fool, Bryan, who in the past, used to recite the children’s rhyme which precedes the dance. As usual we completed our programme by inviting members of the crowd to join us in Brighton Camp. Following this, several members of the audience wanted to find out more about our particular style of Cotswold Morris with at least two serious enquiries about joining the side from potential new recruits. It was a joy to be part of such a happy celebration of all that is best about life in the Banbury area.

Celebrating the centenary of People’s Park, Banbury – photo courtesy of the Banbury Guardian

I am grateful that we have in the current side so many talented dancers of a wide range of ages. The standard of dancing over the whole weekend was exceptionally high. This is a result of a most productive practice season and the fact that we now have a core of regular dancers who perform regularly together and who know our repertoire well enough to dance in any position.

Our next dance out is at Chacombe Park Care Home on Saturday, 20 July.

Squire John Ekers