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Barwick Maypole Gala 1999

Barwicker No. 54
June 1999

When the Barwick maypole was successfully lowered on 5 April, it soon became clear that all was not well. The top of the lower section of the pole had rotted badly and would need replacing which. because of its size. would be a difficult task. However. Barwick's intrepid trio - Derick Nichols, John Leak and Tony Shinn - set out once more for Calders & Grandridge of Boston. Lincolnshire, and were able to find a suitable replacement. Whilst the pole was being treated detailed planning for the gala continued and the newly-made garlands were successfully paraded around the houses of Barwick and Scholes.

The price of the new section was high but the spirits of the committee were lifted when the Barwick and Scholes Parish Council agreed to pay the cost in full - a most generous act. The treated pole arrived and in the subsequent week or two the committee worked long hours to smooth, splice (under the expert guidance of Tony Shinn) and paint the pole in preparation for its rearing on I June. Thankfully there was no repetition of the vandalism that marred the proceedings three years ago.

Fortunately the day was dry and bright and the village was a joy to behold thanks to the activities of the Barwick in Bloom Committee and the many residents who had decorated their shops, houses and gardens. The procession was led by the genial. blue-clad town crier. Peter Weatherill of the New Inn (see front cover). and the Knottingley Brass Band. The Maypole Queen, Elizabeth Boyes; the Maid of Honour, Michelle Jones: the Crown Bearer, Ryan Brady; and the Equerries. Chris Flynn and Scott Tedder, paraded through the village. followed by the majorettes and the schoolchildren in brightly decorated trailers. Traditionally the garlands were displayed in the horse-drawn cart from Lotherton Hall.

In Hall Tower Field, Elizabeth was crowned Maypole Queen by the Lady Mayoress of Leeds. Mrs Lenny Parker. and she made the customary speech of thanks in confident style. The schoolchildren, supported by the teachers from Barwick Infants and Junior School. plaited the two small maypoles with expertise gained by much hard practice, and the ladies of the Barwick Scottish Country Dance Group performed with style and grace.

There was a large crowd of villagers and visitors and an air of expectancy in the early evening when the hole near the war memorial was re-excavated and the brightly painted and garlanded pole carried from Hall Tower Field. With the help of David Wall, and his trusty laddermen, and the many volunteers on the ropes. the pole was re-erected under the experienced instruction of the polemaster, John Leak. The crowd responded with well- deserved applause for him and all the other workers. when he handed over the microphone to Derick Nichols, the Chairman of the Maypole Committee, at the successful completion of the work.

It was good to see Stan Robshaw, the 'Father' of the Barwick Maypole taking a keen interest in the proceedings. Also amongst the spectators were several members of 'The Barwicker' mailing list, who had travelled from distant parts to attend the gala. Despite the inevitable slow progress at times, the crowd remained cheerful and well-behaved, and the duty policemen and women could relax and enjoy the proceedings.

It was with excitement mixed with understandable anxiety that the crowd watched David Crabtree, the maypole climber, ascend to the garlands and detached the five ropes. Then, to huge encouragement, he climbed carefully to the summit of the pole and span the fox weather vane before sliding triumphantly down into the welcoming arms of his friends below. It was a fitting end to the customary raising ceremony and once more the Cross was complete with its maypole, the symbol of Barwick pride.


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