Here comes the sun

This Is Wiltshire: The sun godess at Highworth May Day Fair The sun godess at Highworth May Day Fair

HIGHWORTH celebrated in style on Saturday as the May Day Fayre returned to the village in full splendour.

Now a regular feature in the calendar, the fayre brings together all kinds of characters who take over the market town.

The Icknield Way Morris dancers spent their fifth year at the fayre to add to the flavour of tradition.

Jim Birch, 67, has been dancing with them for 36 years.

He said: “I have been involved since 1977 as some friends of mine would do it and I once used my car to provide transport. I ended up getting stuck inside an imitation horse for them. After that I just started dancing.

“We have come here for the last four or five years, and it is a regular feature in our programme.

“They have been really lucky to get the weather this year. It is always a great crowd in Highworth. Some places there is just a man and his dog, but Highworth always gets a great turnout.”

The sun was reflected in a 15-foot costumed golden goddess who towered above the crowd.

Lucy Dalziel, of Bristol, was at her first Highworth fayre and described herself as ‘an art-deco sunshine goddess’.

She said: “I brought the sun out today. I do this all over the country, starting in spring. I have been getting lots of smiles and cheery faces. I have never been to Highworth before, and so far I am loving it. They have certainly captured the spirit and brought it to life.”

Morag Sullivan, 49, of Highworth, enjoyed the live music.

She said: “They have really gone all out this year. Normally it is mostly things for children, but we are loving the bands and there seems to be a lot more stalls. It is great to see the local produce getting a showing, like the local-made cider and stalls supporting local events, like the Scout group who are off to Japan.”

Scout group leader Claire Mollart said: “Wiltshire scouts have been selected to go to the 23rd scout Jamboree in Japan. I was selected last summer through an interview and had to select 27 out of 100 in Wiltshire to go, based on friendliness and teamwork.

“We will be going for 10 days with around 30,000 other Scouts from around the world. We will take part in workshops and community projects, as well as staying with a host family.

“We are here trying to raise the £3,500 per person we need, which will help support Scouts from developing countries. We need £105,000 altogether.”

Meanwhile, Andy Browne took time out of a busy weekend to celebrate the event in his home town with newcomer nine-stone Victor the tortoise.

”I have brought all of the usual suspects along, and it’s gone brilliantly, much better than the last two years,” the 47-year-old said.

“We have got Victor along with us as well, fresh from his new found fame.”

Susie Rathbone, 47, said: “I come here every year, and this year it is brilliant. The sun shining always helps and it just seems like it’s getting bigger and better.

“This is about keeping tradition alive. That is something you don’t see so much these days, and it is very important.

“Everybody feels very safe here, and it is a credit to everyone involved.”

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