January 18, 2015
In photos: Record turnout for wassailing ceremonies in Burnham area

Record numbers of spectators turned out to watch traditional wassailing ceremonies across the Burnham-On-Sea area last night (Saturday).

Bitterly cold weather failed to hit attendance levels at three events in Brent Knoll, Watchfield and Edithmead.

Jan Rich from Rich's Cider in Watchfield told "We had a record turnout with over 400 tickets sold. Our event was raising funds for the Stroke Association after a good family friend, Ken Jones, recently suffered a stroke and inspired my son, George, to help them."

Queen Kadie Wall, 9, was the centre of attention, pictured right, at the traditional orchard wassailing ceremony. It raised over £3,000.

Over in Brent Knoll, Westcroft Cider Farm attracted over 450 spectators for its wassailing where local music acts Laser Horse and Dry White Bones entertained the crowds alongside belly dancers and Challice Morris Men after an orchard ceremony in which shotguns were fired and burnt toast was placed on the trees.

Organiser John Harris said: "I'm delighted with how the event went - we had better weather than last year and a great turnout. It's wonderful to see this Somerset tradition of marking the old 12th night in the Gregorian calendar being maintained and, indeed, growing each year."

Chestnut Farm in Edithmead also held its wassailing ceremony, which was also well supported again this year. The centuries-old tradition of Somerset wassailing sees good health wished on apple crops for the coming year.

There were large crowds in Brent Knoll for the annual night-time ceremony

Master of Ceremonies John Page with the young lantern bearers from Brent Knoll

Spectators getting into the fun with colourful costumes at the event

Musicians galore entertained thr crowds through the evening

The crowds singing the wassailing song in the Brent Knoll orchard

Fundraisers from the Stroke Association collecting in Watchfield

Local musicians from Skimmity Hitchers entertained the audience

Cheers! The crowds enjoyong the fun during Saturday's annual event

The Rich's Cider team enjoying the fun in Watchfield

Burnham Rotary Club ran the popular bar at the Rich's Cider event

Shotguns were fired during part of the wassailing ceremonies

John Page and organiser John Harris with a friend during the Brent Knoll event

Crowds braved chilly, wet weather to attend the event

The queen, Ellie, enjoying her VIP role at the Brent Knoll ceremony

A wide selection of traditional Somerset refreshments were available

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