The Stewards of the Ancient Furry Dance have announced the names of the four Helstonians who will be the leading set of the Midday Dance on Flora Day this year.
The priveledge is only open to those who were born in Helston and is considered the greatest honour in the town.
In order to share the honour of being the leading couple, the Stewards have decided that the first set of the Midday Dance, leaving the Guildhall at 12pm and dancing to Lismore, will be:
Mr. Robert Eddy and Mrs Paula Butler
Mr. Ben Blaber and Mrs Sarah Sneddon.
At Lismore the couples will change places, so that leaving from Lismore and returning to the Guildhall, the first set will be:
Mr. Ben Blaber and Mrs Sarah Sneddon
Mr. Robert Eddy and Mrs Paula Butler
Mrs Butler told CS:
“It’s a great honour for a Helstonion to lead the Midday Dance and it’s very exciting. My maiden name was Williams and our family has lived in Helston for several generations.
I am a staff nurse working in the preoperative assessment unit at RCHT and St Michaels in Hayle. I am married with two children who have both danced.
I have danced since my primary school days at Parc Eglos School in the children’s dance, the morning/evening dance, Hal an tow and for many years in the Midday dance.
I already have my dress sourced from the bridal studio in Helston and I have Judy from Encore hats making my hat. I’m very excited and proud to lead the midday dance and continue this wonderful tradition”
Sarah Sneddon, who will partner Ben Blaber and lead the Dance after the rest in the gardens told CS:
“I have lived in Helston all my life and am proud to say have never missed a Flora Day. I lead the children’s dance for St Michaels school at the age of 11 years of age.
I am self employed as a mobile hairdresser and work part time in Sainsbury’s.
Keeping the secret after finding out that I was in the leading set has been one of the hardest things I have had to do and was overwhelmed to receive the letter to tell me the great news. I never thought that I would have the honour and privilege to be in the leading set. I have already bought my dress from the bridal studio in Helston as I wanted to keep it local. I am looking forward to stepping out of the Helston guild hall into the glorious Cornish sunshine”
Two sisters have been given the priveledge of leading this year’s Early Morning and Evening Dances on Flora Day.
The names of the leaders of the early morning / evening dance have also been revealed – Shaun Howells, Lisa Robson, Graham Cook and Lucy Basset will leave the start the day’s celebrations by leaving the Guidhall at 7am and will return at 5pm to do the same.
Lisa, 34, will be partnered by her usual dance partner Shaun Howells, with the pair promoted from the position of second lead couple which they held in 2015.
Shaun has previously led St Michael’s Primary School when in year six and later the whole Children’s Dance while at Helston School.
After the early morning dance The Hal an Tow will also be parading through the town – starts at St John’s Bridge at 8.30am. However this year one notable change – Howard Curnow, who has been ‘Town Crier’ with great wit for over over 30 years has had to retire through ill -health. He has passed the famous scroll and bell to Helston’s Jack Morrison who is busy learning the Cornish that greets “Cornish people from all over the world …. and our neighbours from England!”
A special event to look at the history of the Hal an Tow and to honour Howard will be held at the Guidhall on April 21st at 7.30pm. The evening will also see the election of a new addition to the Hal an Tow – the Mock Mayor of St Johns -who will join the parade with his donkey and assistant shoveller! Oggy oggy oggy!
Flora 2017 is this year on Saturday 6th May – if the 8th falls on a Sunday or Monday (historic market Day) it reverts to the previous Saturday.