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Wassailing sends the evil spirits packing

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

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BRUE Valley Rotary Club celebrated the ancient Somerset tradition of Wassailing while raising money for Wincanton Community Hospital.

Dozens of families gathered in Yarlington on Thursday, January 17, to take part in the ceremony.

Wassailing events are held in order to drive away the evil spirits from apple orchards and to encourage the trees to produce a plentiful harvest.

The evening began with music and dancing provided by the Wyvern Jubilee Morris Men outside the Stags Head Inn.

The Wassail Queen, Ellie Kew, then led the group to a nearby orchard where mulled cider and apple juice was served.

Cider-soaked toast was placed in an apple tree, mulled cider was sprinkled around the tree, saucepans were banged and guns fired to frighten away evil spirits.

The traditional Wassail Song was also sung in good voice to mark one of Somerset's most renowned traditions.

Penny Underwood, of the Brue Valley Rotary Club, said: "Thanks must go to David Braybon for the use of his orchard and apple tree, as well as to Dawn and Paul at the Stags Head who provided warming food and a lovely venue for a play which continued the celebrations."

Proceeds from the raffle and other donations enabled the club to raise £290 for the hospital's scanner X-ray and ultrasound scanner appeal.

The Stags Head Inn has also pledged to offer a further donation to the cause.

The tradition of Wassailing is still upheld in a number of places around the country, but particularly in Somerset, the home of cider.

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