We’re very proud to be celebrating the team’s 60th anniversary this year – it’s widely known that Westminster first danced out in public on the Queen’s Coronation Day (which also makes it a lot easier to remember significant milestones). One of the celebrations therefore was to hold a grand dinner of team members past and present, partners, and our dear friends from both within and without of the morris.
Saturday night saw a Who’s Who of Westminster descend on Brown’s Brasserie in Old Jewry – a building once housing the London branch of Australia’s Commonwealth Bank, itself well-known for its distinctive yellow and black livery.
People came from far afield to join the evening of conviviality and reminiscence – guests from all corners of England, plus a few who’d made the considerably longer hauls in from Guernsey and New Zealand! And of course the locals made an appearance (although the Westminster men are spread further afield than you might think – from Cambridgeshire to Wales, Petersfield, and The Cotswolds!). There was plenty of mingling over the champagne reception with people catching up with their comrades not seen in years, and also newer members being introduced to their terpsichorean forebears, and finally putting faces to names spoken of in team folklore.
As the dinner bell was rung, 60 years of morris history made its way (slowly) up the staircase to enjoy a delightful 3 course meal – accompanied by toasts and speeches as befits such a moment. Daniel Fox of the Thaxted Morris Men delivered a fine piece in tribute to theme of Westminster. A Westminster man of old, Angus Morris-Coole responded with quite an epic tribute to our friends and guests (we were delighted and honoured to be joined by representatives from Chester City, Monkseaton, Headington Quarry, Thaxted, Moulton, Martlets, Winchester, Greensleeves and Etcetera Morris Men), including those present and absent – notably the rural Dean of Hackney, Father Kenneth Loveless. Robin Ainley passed on a message in absentia from our immediate outgoing Squire, his son Rupert: recently relocated to Nanjing and unable to join us.
With the formalities concluded and every belly in the house satisfied, we repaired downstairs for further catching up and merriment as Mitch Hursey and Brian Jackson deftly wielded their accordion and fiddle.
And as the magic hour approached and people slowly bundled into taxis to return to the various corners from whence they came, a certain unicorn was seen reclining in a corner – with a little smile playing over its face.
A big thanks to all who attended, and also who helped organise this grand feast (and grand feat!) – especially to the evening’s chief architect, Mike WIlson-Jones.