CELEBRATE the rich dialect of Dorset alongside a feast of local fare with a special Barnes Supper in Portesham.

Join the Ridgeway Singers and Band at Portesham Village Hall on Saturday, February 24.

Dialect poet William Barnes relished the country dances, folksongs and carols of Dorset, and often wrote about community celebrations, where music was a key part of the proceedings. This February the Ridgeway Singers and Band, led by Tim Laycock and Phil Humphries, invite you to join them.

William Barnes [1801-1886] was undoubtedly the greatest of the English dialect poets, but he was also, as Thomas Hardy wrote ‘probably the most interesting link between present and past forms of rural life that England possessed’.

He was an innovative schoolmaster, with a knowledge of over seventy languages, the author of over thirty books in prose, an artist, engraver, musician, folklorist, inventor and parish priest

Many of Barnes' contemporaries regarded him as hopelessly old fashioned, with his love of old ways, old words, and old customs; but now we have cause to be thankful that he captured the sound of the Dorset speech in such an artistic and imaginative way.

Alongside a feast of local fayre, The Ridgeway Singers and Band led by Tim Laycock and Phil Humphries will celebrate the sounds, songs and stories of Old Dorset, perform traditional songs collected across the County, play dance tunes from the repertoire of Blackmore Vale fiddler Benjamin Rose, and recite some of the poems that keep alive the rich dialect of Dorset.

Following a sell-out inaugural Barnes Supper last year, this years celebration takes place at Portesham Village Hall on Saturday, February 24 from 7pm. Tickets cost £18 to include a light supper from 01305 871035 or online at artsreach.co.uk