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Date: 23 January 2019

Time: 11:43

Image: Community Orchard and Gardens at QEHB

'Wassail' at the QEHB orchards

Story posted/last updated: 11 January 2018

Join us for this Saturday for a noisy 'Wassail' in the hospital orchards. A custom from long before England celebrated Christmas, Wassailing is practiced in orchards to ensure a fruitful apple harvest.

On Saturday 13 January, revellers are gathering at 18:00 at the Main Entrance at QEHB and making a noisy procession into the hospital's orchards to awaken the fruit trees. Bring drums, bed-pans, whistles and noisy neighbours for QEHB's first ever Wassail.

Brummie poet 'Spoz' will be leading an entertaining ceremony to awaken the trees, with Morris dancing from the Glorishears of Brummagem.

Along with lots of noise, part of the ceremony involves threatening to cut the trees down, whilst a 'Wassail Queen' will drape cider-soaked toast amongst the tree boughs. Hot spiced wassail drink will be enjoyed, whilst tuneful revellers are encouraged to sing ‘Juice-Alem’, an apple-related version of the famous anthem, ‘Jerusalem’.

The tradition of wassailing has been performed in orchards across Herefordshire and Worcestershire for thousands of years. However, this month's Wassail at QEHB is hopefully their first of many.

The hospital's orchards were planted by volunteers almost three years ago, in partnership with national charity The Orchard Project. It comprises of apple trees, plums, pears and cherries.

Alistair Waugh from The Orchard Project said: “If you’ve got noisy neighbours, this is the event to bring them to. Bring saucepans to clatter, drums to bang, whistles and bells.

“We’re wishing good health to the hospital fruit trees and awakening them from their winter slumber. There will be warm spiced wassail drink, singing, shouting and entertainment from Morris dancers and Spoz the poet. It’s free and it’s a lot of fun.”

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