It is with great sadness that we pass on the news that long term member, Gerald Tween, passed away recently following ongoing health problems but thankfully with no Covid infection. He now rests at peace with his wife Val, who passed away a couple of years ago. Our condolences go to his family, who fortunately were able to be with him when he died.
Gerald joined the side as a new dancer in 1980 and soon settled in, not only as a dancer, but also a musician both for the dancing and the traditional after dancing music sessions, where he could also provide a song or two. The one that sticks in my memory was maybe not the most traditional folk song, but “‘Ave you got a Loight boy” was always a firm favourite with the audience and the morrismen, who joined in heartily with the chorus. A very regular attendee, not only at practices but also at bookings or weekends, Gerald became a stalwart of the side and could always be relied upon to turn out. This resulted in his election to the role of Squire in 1986, a post which he served in for two years.
As well as playing a large role in the Morris, Gerald was also a key figure in the annual Mummers play which the side performs just before Christmas every year. In the early days he would bring along plays from different villages which continued until he was given a copy of the newly rediscovered Highnam Mummers Play as performed by a team from the village where Lassington Oak now practice. Gerald always played the role of King George, so it was a shock to our system when one of us had to learn the words several years ago when he no longer felt able to undertake the part to his satisfaction and retired. Such was his interest in Mumming that in 2012 he collated his collection of plays and published them as a book entitled “Step In”.
Most impressive of all is that Gerald undertook all this activity whilst being partially sighted. He was rarely in the wrong place in the dance set and knew where his stick should be, often a struggle for those in the side with perfect sight.
As a consequence of his sight defect, Gerald took up a career in Social Services where he served on several committees and he was also a keen supporter of the Talking Books for the Blind.
His perseverance and dogged determination were apparent to everyone he met and Gerald was, and will continue to be, an inspiration to all who knew him.