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Morris dancing and horn blowing in the centre of King's Lynn for annual May tradition



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Annual festivity to mark the beginning of May took place in King's Lynn today as morris dancers were out entertaining crowds on the streets.

With some of the King's Morris dancers getting up as early as 3.45am to dance at Knight's Hill for dawn, a garland procession then started at the Saturday Market Place at noon.

King's Morris dancing on the Saturday Market Place Kings Lynn
King's Morris dancing on the Saturday Market Place Kings Lynn

The King's Morris dancers of Lynn formed in 1978 to revive the tradition of the May Garland in 1983.

Although the precise origins of the tradition are unknown, it is believed children started it in the 19th century.

The King's Morris dancers entertain onlookers in King's Lynn
The King's Morris dancers entertain onlookers in King's Lynn

After the dancers performed in bright sunshine, the group proceeded to blow horns as they walked through town. This was to awaken the spirits of summer.

Among those taking part in the dancing were brothers Herbert and Bean Cousins, aged 12 and 9 respectively. They had also danced at Norwich with their mother at dawn.

Geoff Phillipson of the group said: "We were originally just for men but we decided a couple of years ago we would open our doors to women as well.

Brothers Herbert and Bean Cousins took part
Brothers Herbert and Bean Cousins took part

"We practice every Monday night from September through to May unless Christmas gets in the way."

The group had previously been invited to dance on stage at the Maddermarket Theatre as part of a play on well-known 16th century morris dancer Will Kempe. He famously danced 125 miles from London to Norwich.

King's Morris dancing on the Saturday Market Place Kings Lynn
King's Morris dancing on the Saturday Market Place Kings Lynn

Ian Price of King's Morris said: "Nine of us got up at some ungodly time to do the Dance of the Dawn at Knight's Hill, the highest point of King's Lynn, to see in the dawn.

"We are also blowing horns to awaken the spirits of summer or something along those lines. Or just annoying local shopkeepers!"

Onlooker Simon Tarling said: "It's a bit noisy for about 30 minutes or so. I literally just came across it as I was passing so thought I would like to stop and see what's going on."



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