DANCERS, residents and visitors in Cookley and Caunsall gathered for their third annual Wassail.

The event took place on Saturday and saw Foxs Morris dancers take part in a tree blessing ceremony to encourage a good harvest.

Cameron McNeal, 11, of Cookley Primary School, was put in the tree as a ‘sacrifice’ and bread was also hung as an offering and cider poured on the tree’s roots.

After the Wassail, dancing groups Brummie Gems, Powder Kegs of Derbyshire, Rhubarb Tarts of Yorkshire, Wyre Forest belly dancers Bellyfusion and Appalachian dancers Step on Board, joined in with further festivities.

Audience participation was encouraged by the groups where people could learn to dance and there was also a ceilidh with Bedcote Ceilidh Band.

Alison Grieve, spokeswoman for Foxs Morris, said: “The Wassail was excellent. There was a dance workshop on the Sunday where each side taught everyone else a dance.

"Foxs Morris taught a new dance called The Cookley Square written by one of the members especially for the occasion.”

The word ‘Wassail’ derives from the Old English words ‘waes’ and ‘hael’, which means be healthy or be whole.

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