'Magical' wassail event held in Swaffham community orchard
PUBLISHED: 18:31 20 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:26 22 January 2019
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A "magical" wassail was held in Norfolk to bless the trees of a Swaffham apple orchard.
Organised by the Family Action charity’s ESCAPE project, people were invited to gather at the community orchard, at Tumbler Hill on Saturday, January 19.
And the ancient ceremony included a procession, traditionally intended to scare away anything that might ruin the fruit.
ESCAPE project coordinator, Katy Fullilove, described the event as ”magical”.
She said: “Lots of volunteers helped on the day and in the run up to it to make it run really smoothly.
“There were 10 helpers on the day lighting candles and making lanterns and we had about 60 people at the procession and a ceilidh with about 40 people.”
She added: “It symbolises the end of the old year and the start of the new year.”
Attendees were asked to arrive from 4pm at the orchard, for a 4.30pm start, and to bring with them any instruments that they can use to make a noise with.
The event included the crowning of the wassail king or queen, a noisy procession into the orchard with music, flaming torches and verse, and the lighting of the fire.
There was also a buffet held in the community centre at 6.15pm followed by a ceilidh, from 7:30pm until 10:30pm.
The ESCAPE community gardening project is run in Swaffham by national charity Family Action.