The Ickwell May Day celebrations returned on Monday

Picture Special: Ickwell May Day celebrations return after two-year hiatus

After a two-year wait Ickwell’s May Queen was crowned at the May Day celebrations.

By Jo Robinson
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 3:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 3:36 pm

Ickwell May Day returned with colour, flair and community spirit after a two year hiatus due to Covid-19.

Villagers and visitors were delighted to watch morris, maypole, and country dancing on Monday, May 2, starting with a cheerful procession down from neighbouring Northill.

An audience then gathered at Ickwell Green to watch the crowning of the incoming May Queen, Kiera McGilley, who had been waiting patiently since 2020 to carry out her duty.

Ickwell May Day committee secretary, Lorraine Wood, told the Chronicle: "It was a lovely day. We were really lucky with the weather. The sun shone, and the May Queen said she'd had a lovely time.

"I think lots of people were pleased to see it return and there was good support from the crowd. Lots of people were coming out to support the festival and they were really pleased that it was able to go ahead.

"It's a very special day for our community."

The village tradition is over 500 years old and there are church records showing that money from the parish was given to minstrels for their efforts in dancing round the maypole.

This would have been country dancing, as ribbons were introduced later, during the Victorian period.

Lorraine added: "The children did especially well. We had some who had experience but many were brand new to May Day. They took it in their stride and we were so proud of them. They did their schools proud, too!"

Ickwell May Day has only ever been interrupted by the World Wars and Covid-19, and now planning will start afresh for May Day 2023.

Lorraine added: "It's something that's very special, important, and really valued in the village.

"For a lot of people visiting they love to see it; it's traditional British folk dancing and a really special part of living in Ickwell and the surrounding villages.

"Thank you to everybody who took part on the day, to all the people who came, and to everyone who helped, not only to the committee members; it's been a huge effort from lots of people."

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