Monday, April 25, 2005

Apes play host to Sunrise Morris Dance

Apes on the Upper Rock will be in for an early morning treat this May Day when Mersey Morris Men forsake their Liverpool home to conjure up summer at the very top of the Rock of Gibraltar.

“By tradition the first of May sees morris sides all over England dancing as the sun comes up,” says the group’s leader, Andy Siddons. “Our normal venue is a hilltop on the Wirral Peninsula, but this year we’ll start the day in a rather more exotic location – looking out towards Africa.”

The twelve dancers and musicians have been invited to perform at Gibraltar’s annual May Day Rally later in the day, and plan to bring their traditional English morris and sword dances to locals and visitors alike over the holiday weekend.

“Operation Nelson’s Blood”, over a year in the planning, has a special poignancy for one dancer in particular. Jim Jones, from Aigburth, Liverpool, last saw the Rock as a telegraphist on board HMS Woodruffe in 1944. “I’m very excited about seeing Gibraltar again after sixty years, “says the still spry 81 year old, “and this time we only have the Barbary Apes to worry about – not the enemy!”

Mersey Morris Men will be bringing goodwill gifts to the Mayor of Gibraltar from the Lord Mayor of Liverpool and the Mayor of Wirral.

Their trip is supported by generous sponsorship from ROKBuild North of Ellesmere Port.

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