Hopes of a bumper harvest as town toasts the trees

Morris Man Chris Weeden with Ernie Brown and CIB Chair Deb Barker putting cider-soaked toast on the apple tree.  (Lin) EMN-151201-121746001
Morris Man Chris Weeden with Ernie Brown and CIB Chair Deb Barker putting cider-soaked toast on the apple tree. (Lin) EMN-151201-121746001
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Brightly coloured hats and costumes cheered up the grey skies on Sunday to create a wonderful atmosphere at Caistor’s inaugural Waes-Hal event in the community orchard.

Caistor in Bloom consultant Richard Headland had wanted to bring the festival to the town since the group was first established in 2009 - and it has finally come to fruition.

Waes-hal is an Anglo-Saxon greeting which means “Be of good health and fortune” and originally it was a farmer, his friends and family who used to assemble in the orchard and generate lots of noise to ward off evil spirits and praise Pomona the Apple Goddess.

Led by the Grimsby Morris Men, the festival, held early in the year to send wishes for a bumper harvest later, includes the ritual of “toasting” the apple trees by soaking pieces of toast in cider and attaching them to the branches.

But Morris dancer Richard had a serious accident with severe injuries, so was unable to join his colleagues in the dancing, but he was there to watch the festival.

And up to 100 people congregated on the lower field of the Jubilee Community Orchard despite a chill wind blowing to watch the festival.

The Morris Men were wearing their winter costumes – coats stitched with layers of brightly coloured rags.

Following the Waes-hal, everyone moved on to Caistor Sports and Social Club to watch the Morris Men perform an amusing Plough Monday Play and a collection was held for a charity to help disadvantaged teenagers.

Grimsby Morris Men have been dancing since 1967 and have been members of the Morris Ring since 1975.

For more visit www.grimsbymorrismen.org.uk

There is also a women’s group, Herring Gals, who meet on Wednesday evenings at St Christopher’s Church Hall in Convamore Road, Grimsby. See their Facebook page for more.

And for more information on Caistor in Bloom, visit www.caistorinbloom.co.uk