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A Cavalier Themed May Fair

On Thursday 3rd May, the community of Great Torrington came together to celebrate the annual tradition of May Fair. The Square was festooned with colourful bunting and the sun was shining as celebrations were kicked off in style by the Reception and Year 1 children. Their beautiful voices rang through the crowd at the service in the Square, led by The Reverend Peter Bevan. Year 2 children led the Floral Dance from the Pannier Market into the Square, the country dancing was performed by years 3 and 4 and the maypole dancing was expertly executed by years 5 and 6.

Year 2 children also formed the Guard of Honour ready to receive May Queen, Amelia Batten, and her entourage: Crowner, Paige MacDonald-Bale; Heralds, Albie Smithson and Freddie North; and Attendants, Allannah McConnachie and Poppy Fry, Ellie Cooke and Lilie Barber, Evie Hill and Calypso Smithson, Amber Schofield and Lily Beer. As they entered The Square the theme was revealed; this year it was “Our Cavalier Town”, celebrating Torrington’s heritage. The theme was chosen by Mayor’s Consort Keeley Allin, dressmaker Steph Fisher and her daughter Tanya. The Heralds were dressed as Cavaliers and the May Queen and Crowner wore golden gowns, representing the wealth and the monarchy. The Attendants wore 1646 style costumes holding baskets of bread and vegetables representing the market town.

Keeley Allin commented “We all agreed how lovely it would be to see two Cavaliers walking through The Square on May Fair day, so the theme was built around the boys, which is very unusual. The Cavaliers are such an amazing group of people and we are very lucky to have them in Great Torrington and I felt it was appropriate to build a theme around their history. Coincidentally, they are starting their build on their latest bonfire, so fitted in quite well. It was just lovely to have a theme that was entirely based around our town”.

May Queen Amelia Batten, added “Mayfair is a truly magical tradition. It brings an array of colours. Everybody involved with Mayfair is hardworking especially Steph Fisher, the dressmaker. It meant the world to me to be chosen as May Queen as I fell ill in year 3 and was unable to be an Attendant. The best moment for me was seeing my sister lost for words, overcome with tears of joy”.

This year also marked the end of an era for teacher, Paul Tennant, who retires at the end of the summer term. Mr Tennant has been integral to May Fair celebrations over the past 32 years taking children through the steps of the various maypole dances, ensuring the ribbons are just so and so much more besides. May Fair, and Bluecoat as a whole, will miss him greatly. Thank you Mr T for all your contributions to this wonderful occasion!