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Kennet and Icknield – United in Marriage!
Saturday, April 14th 2007
 
Morris Wedding of the Decade - The Company
The Company (Courtesy Jon Holmes, Kennet)
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This year Kennet Morris Men celebrate their 50th year. Plans are in hand to celebrate this momentous occasion in style with a weekend of dance at the end of September and a record-breaking attempt to dance and drink in 50 pubs along the Kennet & Avon Canal between Bath and Reading. More details of these events will no doubt follow in due course.

A year or so after Kennet’s formation in 1957 a team of lads at Icknield School in Wantage, just down the road west from Reading, were congregating into what was to become Icknield Way Morris Men in 1959. Throughout the history of the two teams there have been many notable gatherings. One in particular was a day of dance in Goring-on-Thames in the late 60’s where photographs of the event were published in the Encyclopaedia “Man Myth & Magic” and photographs from the same event were famously turned into a morris Jig Saw Puzzle marketed nationally by Waddingtons.

The sides have also had mutually supportive members. The long serving Ian Dunmur of Kennet played for IWMM in the early days and Joe Marns (Foreman of IWMM for over 20 years) was an honorary member of Kennet and played for them on occasions. Today there are 3 men who are members/honorary members of both sides.

The teams have pretty well managed to meet up at least once a year (usually at The Bell in Aldworth for a riotous session) and also at Ales, Ring Meetings, Rushcarting, etc. However, nothing can surpass the event of the 14th April when the two teams were, at last, united in marriage.

No, it wasn’t one of those Civil Ceremony things!

 


Alastair (generally known as Ali) Hutchinson (of Kennet), son of Chris & Ruth Hutchinson ( a Kennet man for 32 Years and a Fleet Lady for 21 years), married Sarah Foster, daughter of Martin Foster the present Squire of Icknield Way MM. Sarah has been an active supporter of IWMM since she was 12 and has probably seen the team dance more times than many of the actual members, turning out to watch on May Mornings, Days of Dance, Mummer’s Plays, etc. Alastair has been dancing with Kennet since he was 7, and leaving his native Yateley to go to University in Loughborough, promptly kept his performing skills in shape by dancing with Man Friday, contact with whom led to also dancing with Anstey, Green Oak and Leicester.

 

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Morris Wedding of the Decade - The Procession
The Procession (Courtesy of Karen who married Geordie in the Kennet Wedding of the Year, 2006)
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During Ali’s time in Leicestershire he met the current Icknield Bagman Graham Hubbard, and when he returned to Berkshire to work for Railtrack he naturally started coming to IWMM events as well as Kennet. The meeting of Ali and Graham sowed the seed for the Morris 18-30 Group, one of the more significant developments as far as the future of the morris goes. For Alastair far more significant was meeting his future wife through that same contact.

So, on a gloriously sunny April day, with the Prunus in full bloom, Icknield and Kennet men gathered in the Brewery Tap in Abingdon and thence to the Baptist Church across the road to welcome the wedding guests with a few dances. The Icknield musicians played the guests into the church where the ceremony included a moving rendition of Lavender’s Blue from the Kennet MM Squire and Bread & Fishes from Icknield musos.

Guests attending from other morris teams included Leeds, Leicester, Datchet, Man Friday, Packington, Fleet, Anstey, and Shinfield Shambles. After photograph’s etc., the formal wedding guests went off to do the customary thing, but Icknield and Kennet went to do what they do best – i.e. to the Cherry Tree and The North Star in Steventon to eat, drink and dance.

The Bride and Groom led a procession down the Steventon “Causeway” to the village hall where true to the joint principles of the day the ceilidh was delivered 50/50 by the Kennet Ceilidh Band and The Mad Hatters (IWMM) with calling from Dave Tindall (Kennet) and Pete North from Adderbury Morris.


A cracking day was had by all, and with anniversaries coming up Kennet & Icknield will be sinking a few more pints between them but the wedding of Sarah and Ali will take some beating as a morris event.

Article : Sem Seaborne (IWMM) / Chris Hutchinson (Kennet)
Photos :
Bill Martin & John Holmes (Kennet)Sem Seaborne
April 2007

Full details of this account are available as a PDF file PDF icon(657kB).

 

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The respective fathers of Bride and Groom ...
The respective fathers of Bride and Groom ...

... staggering through "Sweet Jenny Jones" !!!
... staggering through "Sweet Jenny Jones" !!! (Courtesy Bill Martin, Kennet)

Ali and Sarah - Guard of Honour
Ali and Sarah - Guard of Honour

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