Friday, June 21, 2024

Firemen free trapped maypole dancers

Firemen were called to a Suffolk village today when three women became entangled in a maypole during May Day celebrations.

Each year the ladies in Rattlesden attach large ribbons to the top of the village green maypole and dance around it as part of a centuries-old tradition to herald May 1.

But yesterday the dance descended into farce when one of the participants, who villagers claimed had “been at the cider”, kept getting her dance moves wrong.

The dancers’ colourful ribbons, which were attached to the top of the pole, started getting tangled up.

Before anyone could intervene, three of the women found themselves wrapped around the maypole, tied up and unable to move.

maypole dance

“It was very funny, but we were a little worried because they could not move and one of the ladies said she could not breathe very well,” dance leader Mary Blear-Smythe said.

“But no matter how hard we tried, we could not untangle the ribbons. My husband got some garden shears, but he cut Mrs Pike’s fringe and nearly sliced off Mrs Parkinson’s fingers.

“In the end, we had to call the fire brigade, who were very decent about it. They had to cut the maypole in half above the ladies heads, and then they were able to lift the ribbons off.

“Everybody was very relieved and went to the pub for a calming drink afterwards – except for tipsy Lorraine Fisher, 34, who was the one who caused the problem in the first place. She was sent home.”

Eagle-eyed Suffolk Gazette readers will recognise the village of Rattlesden, near Stowmarket, which is where a blind football team brawled with a bunch of morris dancers in the summer of 2015.

A Suffolk fire service spokesman said: “One appliance was sent to Rattlesden to release three women who had become trapped on a maypole.

“The crew used cutting equipment to slice the pole in half so the ribbons could be lifted off. No one was hurt.”

Mrs Blear-Smythe added: “It’s a bit of a coincidence that we have had two mishaps relating to different folk traditions. We are now a little worried about this summer’s folk music festival at The Brewers Arms.”

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