Final bell is tolling for Offley village’s Morris side

Applauding the show

Applauding the show - Credit: Archant

A Morris dancing side with a 61-year history may be about to clash sticks for the last time as it can’t find enough dancers to continue the tradition.

The green man who hands out fertility cake

The green man who hands out fertility cake - Credit: Archant

The Offley Morris Men was set up by Brian Limbrick in 1955 at a meeting in Offley Village Hall, when its members took advice from Bedford Morris Men on how to dance the hundreds of traditional Cotswold ‘Handkerchief and Stick’ dances that thrive in the UK.

The first public dance was in St Albans later that year.

The numbers of dancers has fluctuated over the years but the group was once well enough supported to boast as many as 18 dancers and toured regularly around the North Herts villages.

Now the group numbers just four dancers and one musician, and is set to hold what could be its last dances on Saturday, August 20, in Hitchin and surrounding villages.

Performing The Rose Dance

Performing The Rose Dance - Credit: Archant

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Dances will be held in Market Place, Hitchin, at 11.45am, The Lilley Arms at 12.45am, The Red Lion in Preston at 2.30pm, Plume of Feathers in Ickleford at 4pm and The Cricketers in Weston at 6pm

Past members of the group will also be attending a feast at The Cricketers on the same day.

May Day

May Day - Credit: Archant

The group's bagman or treasurer on a hobby horse

The group's bagman or treasurer on a hobby horse - Credit: Archant

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