Gawthorpe Maypole Procession will be back 'bigger and better' after being cancelled for second year in a row

The organisers of Gawthorpe’s annual Maypole Procession have promised it will return “bigger and better”, after they were forced to cancel the event for the second year.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 10:01 am
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 10:10 am
The organisers of Gawthorpe’s annual Maypole Procession have promised it will return “bigger and better”, after they were forced to cancel the event for the second year.

The village’s annual procession, which is held on the first Saturday of May, had this year been due to celebrate its 147th anniversary, but was called off over concerns about Covid-19.

It is only the second time in the events history that the procession - and accompanying funfair and afternoon tea - has been called off, and comes just weeks after the village’s World Coal Carrying Championships were also shelved.

Duncan Smith, who serves as secretary of the village’s Maypole Committee, said: “It’s very sad. People have contacted me this week to find out if there’s any chance it might still be on.

And the committee have also promised that reigning May Queen Mia Turton, who is the first queen to hold her position for three consecutive years, will still be offered the chance to lead the procession when it returns. Photos: Allan McKenzie/Philip Smithson

“But it was in January we made the decision; if people were planning floats they needed to know.

“The chap that delivers the fairground, his family have been coming for over 10 years. Last year he came and just sat on the field by himself.

“And we always do tea and entertainment for the people of the village. People have been socially isolated and it would have been nice to do that, but we can’t.”

But Duncan says it is not all bad news, as staff at Gawthorpe Academy have still taught students the traditional Maypole dance, to ensure the tradition continues.

And the committee have also promised that reigning May Queen Mia Turton, who is the first queen to hold her position for three consecutive years, will still be offered the chance to lead the procession when it returns.

Duncan said: “We thought it would just be one year and that’s it, but sadly not.

“We look forward to next year hopefully where we can come back bigger and better.”

The Gawthorpe Maypole Procession and World Coal Carrying Championships are expected to return in 2022.