Who remembers the all-girl Morris dancing team from Hartlepool

A member of Hell's Belles in action.
A member of Hell's Belles in action.
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That great old English pastime of Morris dancing made its mark in Hartlepool in 1988.

Were you part of the scene and particularly part of the Hell’s Belles troupe. They were an all-girl team who attempted to revive the days of routines on the village greens.

It is hard to believe that in a town such as Hartlepool, where there are more than 100,000 people, we can not inspire more interest

Audrey Maughan in 1988

At their height, they were so good they were invited to Germany as part of a cultural visit to Huckelhoven, Hartlepool’s twin town.

Hartlepool Council part-sponsored the visit which saw them enjoy a week of dancing in Europe.

At their height, more than a dozen ladies were part of the Belles and they got lots of engagements as well as chances to raise money for worthy causes.

Yet as the months went by, numbers were dwindling and doubts were growing over whether Hell’s Belles could keep on going.

Pregnancy, news jobs and some people moving out of Hartlepool were all cited as reasons for withdrawing.

They were down to their last seven members and that in itself was causing a problem, according to the Squire Audrey Maughan.

Some of the dance routines needed eight people but they had to be abandoned for lack of numbers.

“It is hard to believe that in a town such as Hartlepool, where there are more than 100,000 people, we can not inspire more interest,” said Audrey.

We are ap-peal-ing to former members of the Belles to get in touch and tell us about those Morris dancing days.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk