A controversial troupe of Morris dancers who black up their faces have performed their traditional procession through an East Lancashire town today.

Members of the Britannia Coconut Dancers have serenaded locals as they made their way around Bacup, today, Easter Saturday, April 8, from 9am to 7pm.

Lancashire Telegraph: The Britannia Coconut DancersThe Britannia Coconut Dancers (Image: swns)

The group, known as the "Nutters”, insist blacking up is part of a clog-dancing tradition dating back more than 150 years.

But three years ago, they split from the Joint Morris Organisation, the umbrella group which represents the country’s 800 dancing “sides”.

The body said in their ruling that “full face black or other skin tone make-up is a practice that has the potential to cause deep hurt” so members should stop.

READ MORE: 37 pictures of The Coconutters performing in East Lancashire this Easter 

However, the troupe voted to continue blacking their faces up, claiming "it has no connection with ethnicity nor any form of racial prejudice".

Lancashire Telegraph: The Britannia Coconut DancersThe Britannia Coconut Dancers (Image: SWNS)

This year, members of the troupe claimed their event was “under threat” after Rossendale Council said it would no longer provide funding for the procession.

But it did go ahead as planned today after a donation page set up by the Nutters' supporters raised £905 towards its costs.

Council leader Alyson Barnes said: “The large costs associated with road closure for significant events is no longer funded by the police and the council now has to foot the bill.

“As a result, the council will not be in a financial position to cover the costs associated with road closure for events by the Britannia Coconut Dancers or other community groups.

“Our expectation from now onwards will be that the Coconutters fund the full costs of their own activities, as we expect of other Rossendale community groups.”

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