Press Releases


NEWS RELEASE

For further information contact John Fergusson on 0113 2812924 / 07773 750750

For immediate release – Monday 23rd May 2011

Famous 86 foot maypole to be climbed once again!

All eyes will be on 30 year old ‘pole climber’ Chris Brown as he attempts to scale the tallest traditionally maintained maypole in the UK. The ‘pole climb’ represents the climax of Barwick-in-Elmet’s maypole raising festival, a well loved local custom that dates back to the nineteenth century.

Nigel Trotter, Chairman of the Barwick Maypole Trust, is responsible for overseeing the festival and explains why a climber is needed. “The traditional raising technique made it necessary for a climber (usually a local farm lad) to ascend the pole to detach the hoisting ropes. After this, he would attempt to make his way to the very top of the pole to give the fox weather vane a customary spin… a superstition thought to bring good luck to the village”. Nigel continues “Although the raising techniques have changed in recent times, the pole climb is a part of the tradition that we are still able to maintain. Shinning up an 86 foot pole that is only a few inches in diameter at the top takes a great deal of fitness, and more than a little bravery, so we really have to take our hats off to Chris and all previous climbers. We know Chris has been practising very hard, so we wish him the best of luck”.

So what’s it like to scale the 86 foot pole in front of a crowd of thousands of expectant locals? We recently caught up with Chris at a recent training session in a top secret location. “Put simply, it’s hard work” he says (Chris will be climbing for a second time following his previous ascent in 2005). “I’m taking it really seriously. I’m training five or six days a week, and have lost a stone in weight since I started. I have put my all into this training and getting as fit as I can. I have even given up the drink now!”. Chris adds “It gets harder the higher you go as the pole gets both narrower and more wobbly! I’m not anticipating any problems, but the pole is painted with a glossy paint, which if it rains becomes very slippery and will make things difficult! Hopefully it won’t rain on the day, and with a bit of luck that fox will spin!”. And how do Chris’s friends and family feel about his climb? “Everyone is behind me, they may think I am a little nuts but they are behind me and that’s all that matters”.

Every three years, the village’s maypole is taken down, refurbished and re-erected on Spring Bank Holiday Monday. The occasion is celebrated with a Maypole Queen’s procession, maypole dancing, beer festival and street market, and attracts several thousand visitors (even local ex-pats who travel from as far away as New Zealand especially for the occasion).

The Barwick Maypole Festival takes place on 30th May from 10AM to 5PM (further details are available on-line at www.barwickmaypole.co.uk).
A ‘Modern and ancient’ DVD comparing the old and new maypole raising techniques has been produced in association with the Maypole Trust and Barwick Historical Society and will be on sale for £10 on the day.

ENDS

PICTURES ARE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT THIS STORY

High resolution photos (suitable for reproduction in print @300dpi) are available on request.

All images belong to the Maypole Trust and can be reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence. Please simply attribute to ‘Barwick-in-Elmet Maypole Trust’:-
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

EDITORS NOTES

• Barwick-in-Elmet is a village 7 miles East of Leeds:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barwick-in-Elmet

• The Barwick Maypole is 86 feet (26.2m) tall, weighs 1.2 tonnes, and is the tallest traditional maypole in the country.

• More maypole stats are available on the FAQ page.

• The Maypole is taken down and refurbished every 3 years before being re-erected… is still carried by hand by villagers.

• This year’s festival takes place on Monday 30th May (10AM – 5PM) and features traditional maypole dancing, a street market and kids fun fair.

• The Maypole Trust is a charity, operated by volunteers.

• The Maypole tradition dates back centuries, with photographs dating back over 100 years.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Official website: www.barwickmaypole.co.uk
Archers’ website: www.thearchers.co.uk/en/news/Dumdidumdidumdidum/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/barwickmaypoletrust
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/barwickmaypole
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/barwickmaypole
Useful Links: www.barwickmaypole.co.uk/useful-links/

 


 

NEWS RELEASE

For further information contact John Fergusson on 0113 2812924 / 07773 750750

For immediate release – Monday 23rd May 2011

Dum de dum de dum de dum – local village’s claim to fame

What goes ‘dum de dum de dum de dum’ (clue, it’s a familiar tune that brings a sense of comfort and warmth into the hearts of millions, and evokes all things ‘English’. In fact Billy Connolly once said that if England had its own National Anthem, then this should be it!). If you haven’t guessed it, we’re referring to the theme tune to BBC Radio 4′s long-running soap opera ‘The Archers’. So just what is the connection with a popular radio show set in the fictional village of Ambridge, and a Yorkshire village on the outskirts of Leeds?

The music was written by Yorkshire composer Arthur Wood. Originally born Heckmondwike, Arthur moved to Harrogate as a child, where he continued to learn and perform a variety of musical instruments. He later became a writer and in 1924 penned “Barwick Green” a ‘maypole dance’ from the suite ‘My Native Heath’… and this is where the local connection comes in. The music is named after the village of Barwick-in-Elmet (7 miles east of Leeds) and the ‘Green’ is thought to refer to a public space now known locally as ‘Jack Heap’s Field’.

Yorkshire folk will have the opportunity to listen to ‘Barwick Green’ performed live in the very village it was named after at the ’2011 Barwick Maypole Festival’. Every three years, the village’s maypole is taken down, refurbished and re-erected on Spring Bank Holiday Monday. The occasion is celebrated with a Maypole Queen’s procession, maypole dancing, a beer festival and street market, and attracts several thousand visitors. This year is very special in the highly popular Harrogate Band will be performing the ‘Barwick Green’ theme. Nigel Trotter (Chairman of the Barwick Maypole Trust) explains “Not many people are aware of the connection between Arthur’s music and the village, but we couldn’t really ask for anything more appropriate… maypole music that’s inspired by the village, named after the village, and performed by a band from the writer’s home town. We are really looking forward to seeing the band perform in Hall Tower Field (an iron age hill fort in the heart of the village) and will offer a warm Yorkshire welcome to anyone who wishes to come along”.

Nick Garrett (Events & Concerts Manager for the Harrogate Band) had the following to say: “We really look forward to playing ‘Barwick Green’ at the Barwick-in-Elmet Maypole Festival, and have enjoyed practising the music… it is extremely appropriate given that it was written about Barwick, by a composer living in Harrogate”.

The Barwick Maypole Festival takes place on 30th May from 10AM to 5PM (further details are available on-line at www.barwickmaypole.co.uk). You can learn more about the Harrogate Band at their website www.harrogateband.org.
A ‘Modern and ancient’ DVD comparing the old and new maypole raising techniques has been produced in association with the Maypole Trust and Barwick Historical Society and will be on sale for £10 on the day.

ENDS

PICTURES ARE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT THIS STORY

High resolution photos (suitable for reproduction in print @300dpi) are available on request.

All images belong to the Maypole Trust and can be reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence. Please simply attribute to ‘Barwick-in-Elmet Maypole Trust’:-
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
EDITORS NOTES

•  Barwick-in-Elmet is a village 7 miles East of Leeds:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barwick-in-Elmet

•  The Barwick Maypole is 86 feet (26.2m) tall, weighs 1.2 tonnes, and is the tallest traditional maypole in the country.

• More maypole stats are available on the FAQ page.

•  The Maypole is taken down and refurbished every 3 years before being re-erected… is still carried by hand by villagers.

•  This year’s festival takes place on Monday 30th May (10AM – 5PM) and features traditional maypole dancing, a street market and kids fun fair.

•  The Maypole Trust is a charity, operated by volunteers.

•  The Maypole tradition dates back centuries, with photographs dating back over 100 years.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Official website: www.barwickmaypole.co.uk
Archers’ website: www.thearchers.co.uk/en/news/Dumdidumdidumdidum/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/barwickmaypoletrust
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/barwickmaypole
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/barwickmaypole
Useful Links: www.barwickmaypole.co.uk/useful-links/

 


Barwick Beer Festival

The next Barwick Beer Festival is on Saturday 18th October 2014.
Please click here for more details.

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