Fun for everyone at wassailing events

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard
Photo: Lee Hellwing
Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard Photo: Lee Hellwing
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While wassailing is an ancient custom dating back hundreds of years, it’s a fairly new concept for the communities of Bourne and Ketton.

A wassail is a traditional custom to celebrate the apple harvest and reawaken the trees - ready for another fruitful year.

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard
Photo: Lee Hellwing

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard Photo: Lee Hellwing

The Friends of Bourne Wood held their first wassail on Saturday at their community orchard, off Beech Avenue, on Saturday evening.

The event started at 4.30pm, just as it was becoming dusk with Bourne Borderers dancing.

The crowd that had gathered were then offered a taste of either mulled cider or apple juice and some cake, before everyone sung the ‘Apple Tree Wassail’ song.

The gathering then proceeded into the orchard, the way being lit with lots of natural lights.

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard
Photo: Lee Hellwing

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard Photo: Lee Hellwing

The trees were blessed with cider, and toast was placed in the branches for the robins, by anyone wishing to take part.

The Wassail Queen Emily Key sang a beautiful solo and the trees were wassailed, followed by lots of noise, with everyone present banging pots and pans, and cheering!

Once back on the hard-standing the Borderers danced again, Emily sang a further lovely song, and all joined in the ‘Here we come a wassailing’.

The evening ended with the Mummers play.

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard
Photo: Lee Hellwing

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard Photo: Lee Hellwing

Sarah Roberts, who is secretary of the Friends, said it was a great first event, and she thanked everyone for their help and attendance.

She added: “The Friends would like to especially thank Bourne Borderers for their help and support with this new event.”

A wassail was held for the first time in Ketton last year and was such a success, it was held for a second time.

Mary Cade organised the event in 2016 after hearing about the popularity of a similar event in Stamford - but this year, the parish council took on the reins to make it a wider community event.

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard
Photo: Lee Hellwing

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard Photo: Lee Hellwing

Mary, who is also a parish councillor, estimated that about 80 people turned up to the event, which also began just after 4.30pm as darkness fell.

Rutland Morris performed on an area surrounded by lit tealights before the group made their way down to the community orchard, where Master of Ceremonies Martin Smith invited everyone to gather around an apple tree to sing.

Children also hung pieces of toast soaked in cider on the tree and cider was poured on the roots. The group also chanted and made loud noises with pots and pans - with the aim of scaring away any evil spirits lurking.

Afterwards, the group enjoyed hot apple cider before heading to the Northwick Arms to enjoy free hot dogs and another performance by the Rutland Morris, as well as a performance by the Ketton Handbell ringers and a band called McGoo - led by the curate of the village church!

Mary said it was a fantastic community event and praised everyone involved for donating their time for free.

A collection at the pub raised £170, which will be donated to the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance.

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard
Photo: Lee Hellwing

Bourne's first wassailing event at Bourne Community Orchard Photo: Lee Hellwing

Ketton wassailing event Photo: Alan Walters

Ketton wassailing event Photo: Alan Walters

Ketton wassailing event
Photo: Alan Walters

Ketton wassailing event Photo: Alan Walters

Ketton wassailing event
Photo: Alan Walters

Ketton wassailing event Photo: Alan Walters