Leyland’s well-known Stone the Crows morris dancers – who danced at the 2012 Furness Tradition Festival – are sending out a desperate appeal for coppiced hazel after they keep breaking the sticks they traditionally clash together while dancing.
Founder member Murray Riggs said: “There are now over 40 of us in the team. With weekly practice and lots of dance displays in the local and wider area, our sticks take quite a hammering with the constant clashing together they get in all of our dances. Although they do literally grow on trees, we are struggling to find fresh supplies. At the moment, most of our very limited stick collection is bound up with gaffa tape to stop them deteriorating further. This does help to preserve the sticks but deadens the sound of them clashing together – which spoils the impact of our displays.”
Murray said: “We have tried many different types of wood but have found that hazel is the most robust and when it has been coppiced or cut back tends to grow nice a straight stick. We need sticks about 30 inches long and somewhere between a broom handle and a pick axe handle in girth. If anyone has any suitable hazel we would be more than willing to cut and collect it. We then need to strip the bark and leave them to season for at least six months before we can use them.”
If you can help the Leyland based troupe, you can contact them through their website, at www.stonethecrows.org.uk, or call 01772 499074.
Apologies for the headline.