HIStory by Trevor Jones 22 02 07
I first encountered Grimsby Morris some time in the early nineties when I was a Scout Leader. The group were putting together an entertainment for parents.friends etc when I came up with the idea of asking GMM whether they would be willing to teach the Scouts a dance. The idea sprang from a recent holiday on the North Yorkshire Moors where I first discovered Morris Dancing, whilst in Goathland, the local side and a couple of others were dancing outside the local hostelry. I was fascinated and really enjoyed the performance, but thought no more about it until planning the entertainment.
At the time, I was working for Bluecrest as a packaging buyer and one of the people I regularly came into contact with, Roger Chester, was a member of Grimsby Morris Men. I approached him and he gave me the number of the ‘Bagman'. I have to be honest and say I can't remember who it was sorry. Anyway I telephoned to go down to the practice hall to meet the team. I was impressed, but then again, I easily am. The lads agreed to come down to one of the Scout nights and teach them to dance. Sorry, can't remember the name of the dance either, old age is my excuse. The team turned up with bells and rag coats, sticks flying as they performed and posed for the now obligatory photograph (now in the GMM Archives). A great evening for the Scouts and leaders and GMM left us with a recording of the music and good memories. The entertainment was a great success and it was all down to the enthusiasm of the Morris Men. It obviously planted a seed in my soul as I had always been a bit of a “folkie” anyway, but this dancing was so earthy and it was English!
The next time I saw Grimsby Morris Men was at Brandy Wharf ‘Waes-hal’. I think the fact that they were there made the event so special - for me anyway. I talked to one or two familiar faces, who I had met during the entertainment and they tried to persuade me to go along to practice. At that time though things in my life were not conducive to taking on another hobby, so I politely declined although I knew then that at some stage I would like to try Morris Dancing.
Several occasions followed when I went along to performances by GMM – Waes-hal, Field Days, Boxing Day etc. I suppose I became a bit, not a lot, of a Morrisd fan. Then on Boxing Day 2004 at the Crows Nest, I took the plunge and decided that I would become a member. I promised I would attend the first practice after Christmas and, true to my word I did. There were two other people who had come along, but sadly, they didn’t find it as enjoyable as I did.
It took me a little time to get things together but I was determined and I think I picked up ‘Boarder’ dancing quite quickly. I still stutter with double stepping but....…
My first Border dance-out was on 12th March 2005, what an occasion that was. I was a bit nervous and probably looked it, but I performed I think reasonably well at the Number Two in Cleethorpes.
From then on I haven't really looked back. It is now two years and I am the veteran of many a dance-out and have performed two ‘Plough Plays’. I have risen from ‘Beelzebub’ to the ‘Recruiting Sergeant’ had some brilliant times and raised money for worthy causes.
2007 sees the 40th Anniversery of the re-formation of Grimsby Morris Men of which I am a proud member. Lets hope the tradition continues for a further 40 years and beyond........
Life begins at 40.