Ickwell awash with colours as festival dating back more than 450 years sees new May Queen crowned

Ickwell's May Day celebrations. Picture: Darren Harbar

Ickwell's May Day celebrations. Picture: Darren Harbar - Credit: Archant

The village of Ickwell, near Biggleswade, was awash with colours on Monday for its traditional May Day festival, which dates back more than 450 years.

Ickwell's May Day celebrations. Picture: Darren Harbar

Ickwell's May Day celebrations. Picture: Darren Harbar - Credit: Archant

Following the procession from Northill to Ickwell, Kayleigh Henegan was crowned as this year’s May Queen by last year’s queen Lucy Menheneott.

Fiona Sutherland presented the garland to Kayleigh and Lucy Bryant presented the sceptre.

Kayleigh was attended by page boys Ioan and Harvey, and was presented with a locket as a keepsake of the day from the May Queen of 1955, Julie Lenton.

Ickwell May Queen Kayleigh Henegan is crowned by last year's queen Lucy Menheneott. Picture: Darren

Ickwell May Queen Kayleigh Henegan is crowned by last year's queen Lucy Menheneott. Picture: Darren Harbar - Credit: Archant

The flowers who paid homage to their queen and recited their words beautifully were buttercups Molly, Florence and Esmae, daisies Olivia and Lily, violets Rebecca and Sophia, mayflowers Katie and Evie, forget-me-nots Amelie and Ellie, and rosebuds Dolly and Izzy.


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“Just before the crowning ceremony, those children who had decorated hoops with flowers showed off their creativity as they paraded around the arena,” said May Day committee secretary Lorraine Wood.

“The children whose hoops were adjudged the best were given a small prize.

Ickwell May Queen Kayleigh Henegan. Picture: Darren Harbar

Ickwell May Queen Kayleigh Henegan. Picture: Darren Harbar - Credit: Archant

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“The dancing – which children of the villagers have been practising for since February – then began in earnest, with junior maypole dancers dancing around the pole, followed by young morris dancers.

“The little ones of the village, some as young as four, then took their turn and danced for the entertainment of the crowd. They were followed by the older children performing country dances.

“All the dancers performed excellently and received fantastic applause from the crowd.”

Ickwell's May Day celebrations. Picture: Darren Harbar

Ickwell's May Day celebrations. Picture: Darren Harbar - Credit: Archant

It was then the turn of the Old Scholars of the village to plait the ribbons round the maypole, after which a new group of Morris dancers – Ickwell Green Morris – performed in the arena, followed by the Village Dancers.

The Old Scholars returned to the arena to demonstrate the circassian circle, before all onlookers were invited to join in.

Lorraine said: “A big thank you is extended from the May Day committee to all those who help to make the May Day festival possible.”

Ickwell's May Day celebrations. Picture: Darren Harbar

Ickwell's May Day celebrations. Picture: Darren Harbar - Credit: Archant

If you’d like to find out more about the history of May Day or have a look at some of the archive records, a display will be held in Ickwell Village Hall from 11am to 4pm during the weekend of June 17 and 18.

Refreshments will be available too, so you can have a cuppa and cake while you browse the videos, photos and information on display.

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