THE famous bells of Dorset’s longest-established morris dancing side will be silent on May Day – for the first time ever – as a result of the

Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

Led by their fearsome-looking Dorset Ooser, Wessex Morris Men traditionally climb the hill on May 1, to dance at sunrise in the enclosure above the famous Cerne Abbas Giant and then process dancing into the village waving sprigs of May blossom.

Hundreds of people gather on the hill to watch the side – founded in 1957 – perform traditional dances plus some of their own, including one entitled The Giant, composed by former foreman and squire Don Byfleet, who died in December, aged 93.

His death came shortly after another former Squire, Paddy Harries, died aged 74 in November.

“It’s regrettable that we can’t perform on May Day due to the Coronavirus crisis, but we hope to be able to dance on the hill in Cerne Abbas later in the year, perhaps around October or November, if the Government restrictions are lifted and we are given the go-ahead,” said the team’s Squire David Pritchard.

Despite not being able to perform at present, Wessex Morris Men are determined to return and the side will be happy to welcome new dancers when they are permitted to practice again. Whether you are an experienced dancer or a complete novice, email with your contact details for information.