The future of Bacup’s traditional Easter folk dance has been secured following crunch talks with council bosses.
Britannia Coconut Dancers originally received an ‘ultimatum’ to pay £4,000 for traffic management or cancel their famous procession. The dance troupe said Lancashire Police had refused to marshal traffic during their annual parade on Easter Saturday. Lancashire County Hall bosses had told them to either appoint a traffic management company or they will appoint one and send them the bill. The dancers said they would not be able to afford fees which would make the charity event unfeasible.
The Britannia Coconutters have been trying to keep their traditional Easter Saturday dance alive after they were told the event could no longer take place in its original form. The dancers collected thousands of names on a petition to save the tradition.
At a meeting on Monday night, Lancashire county councillors Sean Serridge and Jackie Oakes offered to pay for a traffic management company to marshal this year’s event. In addition, ward councillors will now look for outside funding for heritage events that could secure the future of the event – which attracts around 800 people to Bacup each year. Councillor Serridge said money for this year’s event will come from the county councillor local grant scheme. He added: “We will now look for pots of money to support heritage events. We will start looking for money for next year’s event now in order to guarantee the future of the event.”
Coconutters treasurer Neville Earnshaw is delighted that the event can now go ahead as planned. He said: “The Coconut Dancers hope to have their own trained marshals available in the near future, thereby removing the need for outside assistance. It was looking dire and only a week ago we thought the tradition would not carry on. We are extremely pleased and very thankful to Sean, Jackie and Alyson Barnes for their background work. We have had great support from all over the place, but not least from the locals who don’t want to see the end of it.”