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June 21st 2008 - Fiddlesticks 25th Birthday Party
September 26th 2007 - Tribute to Brenda McFadyen
January 10th 2005 - Tsunami EDP/UNICEF appeal
December 13th 2004 - Christmas Party Caption Competition
April 21st 2004 - Easter Monday in Southwold

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June 2008 - Fiddlesticks 25th Birthday Party

A great time was had by all. A huge thank you for all the morris sides that attended our day and to everyone who contributed to making the day such a success. For some pictures of the day, visit our Birthday page.

September 26th 2007 - Tribute to Brenda McFadyen

Brenda McFadyen

The founding member of Fiddlesticks, Brenda McFadyen, died in August at the young age of 63. Our longest serving member, Susan Holt, gave this tribute to Brenda at the wake following the funeral.

“If it wasn’t for Brenda, Fiddlesticks would not exist. She had the inspiration to form a women’s Morris side after a men’s side had been formed to dance a Harvest Festival in Swardeston where Phillip was vicar. So, in January 1983 Fiddlesticks was formed with 9 enthusiastic villagers.

“Fiddlesticks became a great success due to the enthusiasm of Brenda as the driving force, leading the side for an amazing 11 years– this must be a record!

“Brenda used her contacts in the media to keep a high profile for Fiddlesticks, organising TV and radio appearances over the years.

“Fiddlesticks continued to meet in Swardeston village hall until the hall committee decided to refurbish, carpeting the floor and leaving only a small dance floor in the centre. We may not dance with hugely wide sets, but even we could not squeeze onto the remaining space, so we decamped to the big city where, still under Brenda’s leadership, we continued to flourish.

“Brenda continued as Squire until 1994, a record 11 years – no-one else has managed more than 3! She could now enjoy the dancing and friendship of the side without the responsibility. However she was not one to shirk responsibility and in 2003 to mark our 20th anniversary she once more took on the role of Squire and organised a wonderful dancing tour of northern France, based in Rouen. This started the now traditional Whit tour.

“Brenda always danced with vigour and enthusiasm, showing up some of the younger dancers with her high knees and energetic stepping. She was a wonderful mentor for new dancers, taking time to get to know them, ready with encouragement and praise, making them feel part of the Fiddlesticks family. She was always there for all her friends, if anyone had problems Brenda would be there to offer support. She would always go that extra mile to be there for her friends.

“Next year is our 25th anniversary and not only will we celebrate 25 years of Fiddlesticks, we will also be celebrating Brenda, giving thanks to her for her inspiration in forming the side.”

By Sue Holt

At the wake, Fiddlesticks performed two of Brenda’s favourite dances, both of which she danced on her last appearance with Fiddlesticks on 18th June at the Maid Marion pub in Norwich. These were Newton le Willows, which Brenda loved, followed by The Rose, which is our traditional end of performance dance and which we danced as a farewell to Brenda.

10th January 2005 - Tsunami EDP/UNICEF appeal

Fiddlesticks were very pleased to be invited to peform at the "Drop in the Ocean" ceilidh at St Andrew's Hall on Saturday 8th January. This fund-raising event raised over £13,000 for the EDP/UNICEF appeal for the people of south east Asia affected by the tragic events of December 26th.

Despite the fact that the organisers had a scant two weeks to make all the necessary arrangements and publicise the event, the evening went incredibly smoothly and was attended by over 1,000 dancers, singers, and musicians.

Once more Fiddlesticks acquitted themselves well, in front of their largest audience yet, and kept the interest of the crowds even when the lights were turned on!

All credit to Squire Nightingale who coped admirably with last minute changes to the running order, the dancers available, and the length of time we had to perform.

…and excellent foresight by Joan and Linda (1) for deciding that all our various accroutements should be available - just in case!

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13th December 2004 - Christmas Party Caption Competition:

Visit the ever popular Fiddlesticks Caption Competition!

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21st April 2004 - Easter Monday in Southwold:

"I’d just arrived home from a 4 hour journey on the motorway, following a gruelling weekend of partying and family visits in Sussex and Dorset. As soon as I saw on the answerphone that the Squire had rung at 9.40pm, on the evening before we were due to dance out, I knew it had to be bad news……….. it was, she was ill and would not be dancing the next day. That, combined with the fact that the Foreman was off on holiday in sunny parts, and now we were down to only 9 dancers, meant I had only 1 course of action open to me – yes PANIC!! However, after a mercy dash by the Squire’s husband first thing next morning, delivering the garlands, and more importantly, the clipboard of essential information, there was to be no looking back!! We had some excellent dancers, we’re a good team, and everything would be alright!!

"Fortunately, we were being joined by Point Devis, a neighbouring side from Middleton, Suffolk, so, as we took dance and dance about, at least it gave thinking and breathing time. We assembled in the Market Place for an 11.00am start, and opting for a safe opener, Churchtown it was!! However, as the day progressed, we became more daring, dancing a very passable Portland Hill at the Red Lion.(It was here that I discovered that it is possible to rant uphill, backwards!!) Confidence boosted, we decided to give “Clitheroe” its first ever public airing. Strangely, it was an old secure favourite, Newton le Willows, that was our undoing!! Not to be daunted, we held a quick post mortem, and danced it again, this time faultlessly, at the next pub, the Nelson. It was here that we stopped for excellent refreshment of sandwiches and chips. Oh, and the odd glass or two of Adnams!!

"What better way to wash and shake this lunch down, than by dancing outside the wonderful tea bar on the prom., preceded, of course, by a most welcome mug of tea. By this time, an unforecast sun was shining, and I almost began to enjoy the day! From here, and I must thank the side for indulging me in a whim, we processed along the prom towards the pier. All was going well until the prom unexpectedly narrowed, giving us the necessary and welcome excuse to stop! It seemed a long walk back to collect our possessions, before walking sedately to the end of the pier for the last dance of the day. A first, I believe, dancing on the pier, and at least we did not compete with the Punch and Judy man! The only distraction from our dancing here, was the marvelous water feature/clock, and John made us all stop dancing to watch the man taking his trousers down at 4.00pm (If you haven’t seen this “rude” timepiece, its well worth a visit!)

"So, with aching feet and legs, and cold fingered musicians, we made our various ways home. Another good day in Southwold, and honour upheld. It had been fun to join Point Devis, who looked splendid in their new kit: we had (mostly) danced well; the musicians, looking striking in their black outfits and hats had done us proud. We had had good audiences, good weather, good company. Who could want more?? On the way home, it started to rain. I didn’t care – I was going to spend the evening in front of the fire with a good book………………………………."

By Kay Nightingale

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