‘End of an era’ without popular leader Cynthia

Members of West Dorset Accordian Group paid tribute to leader, Cynthia Bennett at FolkWeek

Members of West Dorset Accordian Group paid tribute to leader, Cynthia Bennett at FolkWeek - Credit: Archant

Musicians who have been performing at FolkWeek for 27 years have paid tribute to their late leader - whose death marks the ‘end of an era’.

The West Dorset Accordion Group was a regular fixture at the festival for almost three decades, famed for entertaining crowds on the seafront and unique costumes created by leader Cynthia Bennett MBE.

Following Cynthia’s death on June 27, at the age of 88, members of the group have said they will not continue to play under the same name without their ‘popular and talented driving force’.

Margaret Temple and Sue Gainey performed at the festival this year with the Weymouth Accordion Group, but said they have many happy memories of previous years with Cynthia – who received an MBE from the Queen for services to music.

Margaret said: “People keep asking where she is - so many people knew Cynthia in Sidmouth.

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“She has done so much for us and she was so well-known.

“Each year we would come out of our hotel, dressed in our different outfits and people would follow us.

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“It has been fantastic and we need a final tribute to Cynthia and now we shall have happy memories.

“It was really the end of an era last year when we last played together.”

Over their time playing together as a group, the accordionists raised more than £25,000 for various charities including Sidmouth Lifeboat.

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