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On Friday 13th January 2023, as part of the annual Straw Bear Festival, Year 7 & 8 students were given a talk by Douglas Kell about the history and workings of the festival. 

Students learnt how it became traditional to dress a man or boy (the ‘bear’) in straw and parade him around the town on the Tuesday after Plough Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Night.  The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, but the custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society.  The procession now contains over 250 dancers, musicians and performers from various parts of the British Isles performing traditional 'Molly', 'Morris', 'Clog' and 'Sword’ dances

Students listened attentively to stories about the origins and revival of the annual event.  The Year 7 and 8 students seemed to really enjoy the experience of learning more about their local history and traditions.  Mr Kell, a former Bear ‘Driver’, noted that “students were actively engaged in asking questions about the history and workings of the event”.