When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Historic Bacup dance procession faces axe due to police cutbacks
A QUIRKY and colourful all-day dance procession which has taken place for more than 100 years in East Lancashire is under threat.
The Britannia Coconut Dancers, known as the Nutters, fear that visitors to Bacup will not witness their annual Easter Boundary Dance again following police insistence that the folk dance group apply for a road closure notice costing up to £1,000.
The boundary to boundary dance traditionally takes place on Easter Saturday over a 12 hour period, taking in various pubs and locations in the town.
The group perform folk dances wearing eyecatching outfits during the day.
During the boundary dance, the group raise funds with a collection and last year donated around £600 to local good causes.
Neville Earnshaw, treasurer for the Nutters, said: “The latest police view is that the dancers should walk along the pavement and dance at ‘agreed off the highway locations’ along the route and that the route should be shortened.
“Our committee formed the view that if the traditional format of the boundary dance was going to be changed or serious costs to the group’s funds were going to be incurred, then it will not take place.
“We see boundary dance as historic and unique having gone on for more than 100 years, baring war years.
“It attracts a lot of interest and publicity for the town and generates considerable income for the local business community.”
The group’s secretary, Joe Healey, said: “We were told that although the police respected the tradition and community intentions of the event, it could not be policed due to cutbacks in officer numbers and financial restraints.
“The group must marshal the event themselves.”
Mr Healey added that he was still hopeful that a meeting between the Nutters, county and borough council officials and the police organised for next month could resolve the issue.
“We need to find a way to get the charges waived or be advised at how to get funding to pay for the road closure order,” he said.
The Nutters’ custom of blackened faces may reflect a pagan or medieval background, done to disguise the dancers from being recognised by evil spirits.
Another theory is that it may also reflect mining connections.
The police were not available for comment.
Opinion n 8
Comments are closed on this article.