Published: January 16, 2011
In photos: Burnham area wassailing ceremonies attract big crowds

The centuries-old Somerset tradition of wassailing - when good health is wished on apple crops for the coming year - was performed at two events near Burnham-On-Sea on Saturday night (January 15th).

Westcroft Cider Farm in Brent Knoll and Rich's Cider in Watchfield held traditional ceremonies in front of big crowds of hundreds of people to raise cash for charity.

In a bid to ensure a good apple harvest the following year, music and singing was held before cider-soaked toast was hung from the trees to ward off evil spirits.

John Page, who led Brent Knoll's ceremonies, told "It was wonderful to see so many people taking part in this traditional ceremony. Everyone had a great time and was in fine voice!"

Thousands of pounds is expected to have been raised from the events. The Watchfield fun was held in aid of The National Blind Children's Society and Gateway Club, while the Brent Knoll event was raising money for children's charity CLIC Sargent.

The Chalice Morris Men had a key part to play in the ceremonies

Brent Knoll Queen Eleanor was carried to the wassailing tree on a special chair

Brent Knoll Guides entertained the crowds with enthusiastic drum playing

The Queen soaked a piece of toast in cider before hanging it on the tree

Colourful costumes and noise were encouraged to ward off the bad spirits

Burnham's Wrinkly Rappers were in action at the Brent Knoll event

John Page and Bob Filmer ran the raffle at Brent Knoll's wassailing

John Page was the 'master of ceremonies' who guided proceedings

Big crowds also turned out to enjoy the cider-fuelled fun at Rich's Cider Farm

Members of Burnham Rotary Club helped to organise the popular Rich's event


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