Good cheer as wassailers make merry
A BAND of top-hatted gents spread goodwill and good cheer through Bodmin when they kept up tradition in the town.
The Bodmin Wassail began almost 400 years ago and is now only one of two such events still practised in the UK on the 12th day of Christmas.
However, because that date fell on a Sunday this year, the wassailers felt it was more appropriate to make merry last Saturday.
The Wassail began in Bodmin back in 1624 when the town clerk Nicholas Spry provided a drinking cup and wine for a group of men to visit all the homes owned by the mayor.
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The original cup was lost decades ago, but a new wassailing bowl was provided three years ago by a past mayor, John Chapman, whose father and grandfather supported the tradition.
The town clerk, Paul O'Callaghan, now begins the proceedings every year by filling the bowl with suitable refreshment at the town council's offices.
Vic Legg, who has been a wassailer for 40 years and, like some other older members, is about to bow out of the group, said: "We had ten wassailers last weekend, which is more than I can ever remember. Some of us feel it's time we handed things over to some younger men who are more than capable of carrying on the fine tradition in Bodmin."
A new recruit this year was Neil Scoble who acted as the wassailers' coat boy. Tradition has it that a new member is on probation for the first year and is not allowed to wear the formal hats and coats of the rest of the group, but instead holds them while the wassailers enter homes with their wassail bowl to spread cheer.
The wassailers travelled across town, visiting shops, pubs, care homes and private addresses for almost 12 hours, finishing off in the Gin House.
Mr Legg said: "The reaction from the people of Bodmin was as warm as ever, and we collected £500, which we will be donating to Bodmin Town Museum and St Petroc's Messy Church for children."