Pupils compose song for orchards

PUBLISHED: 06:36 16 December 2010

BRANSCOMBE Primary School pupils have helpd composes a Wassailing song unique to the village.

The youngsters worked with Eddie Upton and Philippa Toulson from Folk South West to create the tune.

Wassailing is an ancient ceremony that encourages the orchard trees to bear lots of fruit in the autumn. A tree is selected and its roots are anointed with cider, toast or bread is placed in the boughs, songs are sung and lots of noise is made to ward off bad spirits and awaken the Spirit of the Tree. It is traditionally carried out on January 17, the old date for Twelfth Night.

The National Trust is currently promoting orchards nationally with the Traditional Orchard Project. The Branscombe song will be sung as part of an event in January to raise awareness of the importance of orchards as areas for fruit production, wildlife havens and community spaces.

East Devon community ranger Lucy Morton said: “We contacted Folk SW and Philippa suggested composing a new song with the children that could be performed at the Wassailing event. It was great fun and the children had some wonderful ideas. Orchards have been an important part of the landscape in East Devon for centuries and it’s really exciting to be celebrating them in this way”.

Headteacher Katie Gray said “We are all really looking forward to the Wassailing event and all the children are very excited about being part of the preparations. They had some very good ideas for the composition and learned a lot about the tradition of wassailing during the day. The children hope their composition will be sung in Branscombe for many years to come.”

The Wassailing event is on Saturday, January 15 6pm – 8pm, Adults £3 children £2. For more information contact Lucy on 01297 680507 or lucy.morton@nationaltrust.org.uk.

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