It rained on Lucia’s parade on Monday. But the happy smiles of Barwick’s Maypole Queen, 12-year-old Lucia Harker and her attendant Azure Ford, 14, were enough to dispel any gloom at the village’s triennial Maypole Festival.
With the date of this big event fixed three years in advance the weather is probably the only element its organisers, the Barwick Maypole Trust, cannot influence.
So despite persistent rain the village’s famous 86 foot high Maypole, the tallest in the country to be lowered and raised at regular intervals, was duly raised bang on schedule, maintaining a centuries old tradition.
Everyone hoped the rain clouds would disappear before the traditional parade through the village but it was not to be.
Led by Honorary Bellringer Gary Shepherd, landlord of the New Inn,
Barwick and with the Harrogate Band playing a rousing march, the procession from the village primary school to historic Hall Tower Field threaded its way down Main Street in pouring rain, to the applause of crowds lining the route.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Rev Alan Taylor, took part in the parade in the city’s renowned silver Daimler limousine, with the priceless number plate U1. He was accompanied by Coun Matthew Robinson, a member of Leeds City Council who represents Barwick and Scholes.
The Maypole Queen and her entourage travelled on a decorated, tractor pulled float.
This was followed by an excited, but rain soaked crocodile of youngsters from Barwick Church of England Primary School, who would soon demonstrate their maypole dancing skills under challenging conditions.