Alton Morris kicked off the dance season on March 9 by joining hosts Mary Rose and Royal George Morris together with Victory Morris to dance outside The Golden Eagle pub in Portsmouth.

The annual event, West Fest, was to commemorate a Portsmouth resident and Morris supporter, Andy West, who had died aged 53. 

It was an interesting mix of different dance styles, as Alton dance Border Morris, Victory dance Cotswold, and Mary Rose and Royal George do a mixture of several different styles. Despite a biting wind, there was an enthusiastic crowd watching, and a barbecue was a welcome warmer-upper.  

The sides celebrated Andy’s love of life, beer and Morris - not necessarily in that order - and the event was a fundraiser for three charities close to his heart, Asthma and Lung UK, Cyclists Fighting Cancer and Diabetes UK. They raised more than £150.

Alton had a good turnout of dancers including a new recruit dancing out for the first time, Gary Beard, who said: “I was feeling apprehensive on my first dance out, but upon arrival at the pub I was greeted by members of our side, who were all pleased to see me and helped me feel at ease.

“Once my kit was on, complete with red and green face and bowler hat, I felt ready to join in. I danced more than I had expected, and truly felt part of the team. All the spectators and other sides had great fun and were there to enjoy themselves, as did I. A great afternoon out.”

Alton Morris has now finalised its summer programme, which includes an exciting trip to dance in Hong Kong at Easter as guests of the local side, Hong Kong Morris.

To see the programme, visit the Alton Morris Facebook page or its website, or email [email protected]