January 17, 2016
Photos: Traditional wassailing ceremonies held in Burnham area

Large numbers of spectators flocked to watch traditional wassailing ceremonies in the Burnham-On-Sea area last night (Saturday).

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

The wassail is celebrated each year on 'Old Twelvey Night' as it would have been before the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752.

In line with tradition, a piece of burnt toast was placed on the tree, as pictured above, supposedly to attract robins who symbolise the good spirits of the orchard.

Jan Rich from Rich's Cider in Watchfield, pictured above, told "We had a record turnout with well over 450 tickets sold. Our event was raising funds for the RNLI and we hope to have raised a good sum."

Queen Kadie Wall, 10, was the centre of attention at the traditional orchard wassailing ceremony where her chair was carried by Rusell Salway, Bernard Rains, Ash Edwards and Colin Durston. The crowds enjoyed music from The Skimmity Hitchers and Bob Darch Music.

Over in Brent Knoll, Westcroft Cider Farm attracted over 450 spectators for its event where local music acts The Riverbrew and Daft Folk entertained the crowds alongside belly dancers, Cheddar Male Voice Choir and Brent Knoll School.

It followed a traditional orchard ceremony with torch bearers and shotguns being fired and burnt toast placed in the trees.

The centuries-old tradition of Somerset wassailing sees good health wished on apple crops for the coming year.

Organiser John Harris said: "I'm delighted with how the event went - we had 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."

Master of Ceremonies John Page at the Brent Knoll event

Entertainers getting into the spirit of the event with colourful costumes

Musicians galore entertained the crowds through the evening


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