HiStory by Steve Fuller 21 01 07
As E Presley said, ''lets start a Morris dance troupe and we can join in the May Day parade!" (This was Eric Presley,not the other one), so that is what happened. That was about October 1971 and it was much later when I made it into the Morris troupe (we didn't know until later that the correct term was 'team' or 'side'). l went off to university in York and joined the fledgling Ebor Morris (although at this stage they did not have a name) and at the end of the year, when the original student members completed their courses and left, I was
voted in as Squire since I was the only one who could remember what order the dance figures came in.
We were fortunate to be given a complete set of Cecil Sharpe's Morris books and these were the basis of our dancing along with frequent outings to watch other teams in order to steal ideas, plus occasional visits home to practice with Wath Morris. Ebor Morris danced out for the first time on 1st May 1975 (I think ).
In the following years I was lucky enough to see some great original Morris teams (at events like Dancing England) and spent much of the nineteen seventies watching some great revival teams (Ducklington, Mr Hemming's Men, Eynsham, Kirklington, Gloucester Old Spot, Shropshire Bedlam, Silurian, to name but a few) and getting an idea of what a Morris team should look like. During my time with Ebor we attended several Alford Morris weekends and this was my first contact with Grlmsby Morris Men. On a number of occasions Grimsby visited York for days of dance. Grimsby became known as ''The Kens'' as any time you asked a Grimsby man what was going on he would reply :'I'll go and ask Ken'' meaning Watson or Fox!
After York I went to work in Sheffield and re-joined Wath Morris who had struck up a great rapport with the Bledington tradition and Bert Cleaver a great expert on that style of dance and a wonderful pipe and tabor player. For 3 years we worked up all of the known Bledington dances and had a team of men who could dance all the set dances and all the jigs!
In October 1981 I got a job in Grimsby and took it with the intention of staying a few years and moving on. I joined the Grimsby Morris men immediately and fitted in from the start having known most of the members since the days of Alford weekends. When I was elected Squire I wanted to dance only one style so that the team had a stronger identity and could develop that. It also had the advantage of having less to remember. We danced Ascot-Under-Whychwood dances in summer and Border Morris in Winter. In 1987 we performed at Derby assembly rooms as part of the Dancing England event - representative of the best in 'transplanted' traditions - border Morris 200 miles from its original home. I think we were probably the first team to punk up hair and use fireworks but it certainly created a bit of a stir!
I retired after Dancing England only to be enticed back into Grimsby Morris four years later. I still enjoy dancing, simply getting up and doing the dances is a pleasurable experience even without an audience, but when the performance works well in front of an appreciative audience its an even greater delight. In my experience,Grimsby Morris has always been a welcoming and friendly group of people that has built up bonds with other organizations and communities in an admirable way. I am pleased to have belonged to that organisation. I have been fortunate enough ( or should that be daft enough?) to be Squire of Grimsby Morris for almost half of its 40 year existence and I still enjoy doing it (mostly!). From my point view ''I can think of few better ways in which to pass time in good company".