Greatham prepares for annual sword dance

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AN ancient custom will be performed in Greatham village once again this Boxing Day.

People are invited to watch a re-enactment of the historic Greatham Sword Dance.

The tradition has taken place in Greatham for almost 50 years after being revived in 1967 by the Redcar Sword Dancers.

Brian Pearce, known as the King of the Redcar Sword Dancers, said: “This is a unique opportunity to see one of our ancient local traditions being enacted.”

The dancers perform a story about a character who gets beheaded by and he is brought back to life by a travelling quack doctor.

It is believed to have originated in Greatham in the early 19th century when out-of-work agricultural workers would perform it around the village.

The sword dance takes place outside the gates to the Hospital of God in the centre of Greatham, near the village green, and attracts a healthy number of spectators each year.

It starts at noon and takes around half an hour.

The Greatham sword dance was previously featured on national TV in BBC4’s A Very English Winter programme