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300 attend Watchfield wassail
LtoR: Russell Salway, Colin Durston, David Ellsworth and Bernard Raines prepare to carry Wassail Queen Molly Scott, 13, the daughter of Rich’s Cider owner, Jan Scott. Photo: Kirsty James
HUNDREDS of cider-lovers marched into a field on a freezing night to watch a girl place a piece of wet toast in a tree.
It was, of course, all part of one of Somerset’s longstanding traditions - Wassailing.
The ceremony, held at Rich’s Cider Farm in Watchfield on Saturday, saw Wassail Queen Molly Scott, 13, delicately hang the cider-soaked toast in an apple tree to awaken the good spirits and ensure a bountiful harvest.
The performance ended with three men firing guns into the night to scare off any evil spirits.
Jan Scott, owner of Rich’s Cider Farm, told the Weekly News: “We’ve been holding the Wassail for a good few years now. People are just fascinated by the tradition - it’s definitely something different.”
“There are about 300 people here. Some have travelled from Gloucester and Birmingham to attend this event, as well as many locals.”
The crowd crammed into a huge marquee and enjoyed entertainment from The Mangled Wurzels and Bob Darch. They could also treat themselves to hot mulled cider, with the proceeds going to charity.
The event was organised with support from Burnham Rotary Club in aid of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.
Jan added: “We choose a different charity each year. This year we’ve chosen a charity which is very close to our hearts. We all know people who it has helped.”
Jane Gibbs, Vice President of Burnham Rotary Club, helped to organise the event. She said: “We find people are becoming more and more interested in our Somerset traditions and Wassail events are growing in popularity.
“We’re very grateful to Rich’s Cider Farm for helping us to raise money for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.”