LONG Preston’s annual Mayday gathering, thought to be one of only seven left in the country where children are invited to perform the traditional maypole dance to celebrate the arrival of summer and a hoped-for bounty of crops, proved a rip-roaring success.

Schoolchildren from Long Preston Primary School provided a spectacle to behold as they nimbly and expertly danced around and wrapped the maypole on the village green with bright ribbons symbolising the colours of summer in a ceremony that dates back to Medieval times, much to the delight of assembled crowds.

Proceedings then transferred to Long Preston Playing Fields, where one of the highlights was the crowning of the new May Queen, 12-year-old Settle College pupil Tilly Hopkins, and King, Alfie Penty, nine, who attends the village primary school.

A whole host of support activities included free children’s entertainment by Sams Dance Academy, traditional games, music by Settle & Giggleswick Brass Band, swing boat and octopus rides, a ducking stool provided by Burton-in- Lonsdale YFC, bouncy castle, BBQ, Oakleys Pizzas, freshly made doughnuts and Bouncing Cows ice cream.

Organisers said afterwards: “It costs us £2,500 to put on the Mayday event and without the help and support of the local community and valued sponsors this ever-popular Long Preston village tradition would surely die out.

“A huge thank you goes out to all the volunteer Mayday committee members who worked tirelessly to put everything together for this special day, also all the staff at Long Preston Primary School, who have embraced this long-held village activity and expertly taught the children the maypole dancing skills, plus all the extra volunteers who helped set up, put up or volunteered for stalls, ran stalls, baked or donated items and supported us in any way throughout the year or on the day itself.”

There was also a special thank you to keynote sponsors Allan Harker, JT Atkinson Builders, Settle, SLS Interiors, Long Preston, Cheeky Little Monkeys Childminding, Long Preston, a local fire safety consultant, Long Preston Water Trust and Settle Rotary Club.