VIDEO & GALLERY: Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival celebrates its 35th anniversary in style

PUBLISHED: 10:36 17 January 2014 | UPDATED: 10:37 17 January 2014

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2014. Picture: Steve Williams.

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2014. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

He was determined to go out an a high and festival director Paul Cornell was acclaimed for doing just that as the 35th annual Straw Bear celebrations drew thousands to Whittlesey over the weekend.

He was determined to go out an a high and festival director Paul Cornell was acclaimed for doing just that as the 35th annual Straw Bear celebrations drew thousands to Whittlesey over the weekend.

Mr Cornell said he would most definitely miss the event “for it is a wonderful feeling to see the town full of dancers and musicians and people enjoying themselves and knowing that I have helped to make it happen”.

Molly dancers from across Norfolk and East Anglia were joined by performers, dancers and musicians from as far away as the Cotswolds and Lancashire at this festival that commemorates a rich, rural tradition.

Although the Whittlesey festival was revived quite recently it in fact goes back to the 19th century when on the first Monday following Twelfth Night a plough boy was dressed in straw and paraded through the town.

After a break of 71 years the festival was revived continues to get stronger each year with concerts, public story telling events and barn dances intermingled among the three day event.

Festival volunteer Ady Bull described the event as “living history connecting traditions of our past with modern day life.”

He said: “Through the years thousands of pounds have been raised for local charities and causes. The hard work and pure selfless passion year upon year from a group of dedicated volunteers ensures the event continues for future generations.”

Founder and principal of the revived Straw Bear Festival is Brian Kell who in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours was awarded the British Empire Medal for service to music and to the Whittlesey community.

His colleague Geoff Oldfield said: “For over 30 years Brian’s enthusiasm in promoting the festival has resulted in it growing from a small beginning to one of national and international recognition.”

Mr Oldfield said the financial benefit to the town from Straw Bear was “unquantifiable”.

More news stories

Yesterday, 17:18

‘Houston we have a problem’ admitted county councillor Bill Hunt, vice chairman of the county council highways and community infrastructure, when he offered a public apology today for the number of potholes across Cambridgeshire.

Amey is claiming community support for its proposals to build a £200 million energy-from-waste plant on a 12 acre site at Waterbeach.

Yesterday, 18:37

Mayor James Palmer and his deputy, Councillor Charles Roberts, were debating tonight whether to press the Prime Minister to allow the Bayeux tapestry to go on display in Ely.

Yesterday, 15:13

Schools across East Cambridgeshire and Fenland will from today be able to apply for up to £25,000 to help some of their most disadvantaged pupils.

Most read stories

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Wisbech Standard e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter