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A Celebration of Nursing at May Fair

On 4th May, the community of Great Torrington came out in force to celebrate the annual May Fair Day, a tradition that dates back many years and a day held in very high esteem by the young and old.  Following a burst of music from the silver band, the proceedings got underway with an open air service and singing from the younger members of Bluecoat C of E Primary School, leading onto the country dancing by children in years 3 and 4. Then the competition was on as the rousing tune of the Floral Dance got the community up on their feet, dancing round the Square all hoping to be chosen as the winning team.

As the guard of honour assembled with children in years 5 and 6, the dignitaries entered the Square into position as the silver band played once more. The music quietened down and it was the moment everyone had been waiting for; the entourage appeared and theme for May Fair 2017 was finally revealed. The Mayor’s Consort, Diana Davey had a long career in nursing which inspired Dressmaker, Stephanie Fisher, to suggest the idea of a ‘Celebration of Nursing’. The entourage depicted nursing throughout the years with the May Queen as a Matron, the Crowner a Sister, the Heralds portraying medics from the Crimean War and the Attendants representing nurses from the Florence Nightingale era. Coincidentally, Diana began her nursing training 37 years to the day on 4th May.

Following the crowning of May Queen, years 5 and 6 danced the maypole. Paul Tennant, teacher at Bluecoat and entourage leader, said “I was immensely proud of the children on May Fair day. The Wednesday night practice didn’t go quite as well as I would have liked, however, on Thursday the attitude was completely different and the boys and girls performed much better. For the first time that I can remember, some year 6 boys were needed to help with the year 5 plait and I was impressed with the co-operation displayed by the boys who helped out.  I have been involved with 31 May Fairs and I still enjoy the day. Funny to think when I first arrived in the school I wasn’t particularly interested in maypole dancing!”

Bluecoat C of E Primary School would like to extend its thanks to the May Fair Committee, the Cavaliers, the Silver Band, Stephanie Fisher, Nick Wyke, Becki Driscoll and Sean Harrison, Jacqui Couch, Paul Tennant, the Entourage and their parents/carers..