Morris dancing pride will be on display with bells on

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It was with great interest I read Duncan Barkes’ article on Morris dancing in schools (Observer, June 6).

In the late 50s and early 60s Morris was taught as an after-school activity in the former Lancastrian Boys’ School by Pat Mitchell, who passed away earlier this year. He taught physical education and religious knowledge (known irreverently as ‘body and soul’). He inspired many of his pupils to the extent they became Martlet Morris Men, of which club Pat was a member, and several of them are still actively dancing to this day.

One of ‘Pat’s Boys’ is Peter Davey, who has been appointed director of the forthcoming 60 Years With Bells On! Festival taking place in Chichester and district over the weekend of July 6-7 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Martlets formed in May 1953.

One hundred and fifty visiting Morris Men from throughout the length and breadth of England will join us. Dancing will take place in various towns and villages, culminating with a display by all the men on the Cathedral Lawn, West Street at 3.30pm on Saturday. What a colourful occasion that promises to be!

Their pride, enthusiasm and fun will be there for all to see. Teaching Morris in schools – let’s hope there will be a resurgence. We are only too happy to help.

Peter North

Squire

Martlet Sword and Morris Men