The founding National Association of Morris and Sword Dance Clubs

Squire Eddie Worrall reflects on the ARM

Squire Eddie Worrall reflects on the ARM

A busy weekend at the Morris Ring ARM. The membership voted to change the Constitution to remove the previous bar on non-male dancers in member clubs. This was however the end of a long process of consultation, debate within individual sides, discussions between sides and closing arguments at the meeting itself yesterday. The turnout for the vote was in excess of 80%, with 87% of votes cast in favour of the change.

As I said to the meeting, this should not be seen in terms of winning or losing. This is more the beginning of a new chapter for us as an organisation, and perhaps a new era in Morris. Not everyone will agree with the change, I would not expect that. But this vote in favour is decisive and shows a high level of agreement among Morris Ring member sides.

Although the change to our Constitution is immediate, the changes it brings will happen over time. For now, I would like to thank Morris Federation President Melanie Barber Morris Federation Secretary Fiona Lock Chair of Open Morris Nicki Pickering and Open Morris publications officer Jenny Cox for joining us this weekend as representatives of our fellow Morris Organisations. Through the JMO, the 3 main Morris Organisations have long shared common concerns and worked together for the good of all in Morris. That will continue to be the case and I thank them for their support and friendship throughout this process.

Change is always difficult. This change may seem the most difficult of all to some. However,  I have long felt that more unites us in the Morris world than divides us, this is perhaps more true now than for a generation. The values that the Morris Ring were founded on, friendship, bringing sides together and a concern for performing Morris to the best standard possible, have been restated yesterday. Also that we believe these values belong to all in Morris.

In conclusion I would like to thank the Morris Ring member clubs for their courtesy and the manner in which the debates took place. Also of course the Morris Ring Bagman Jon Melville and Treasurer Steven Archer. No Squire can function without a strong team. I have been fortunate to have that, as well as 2 good friends.

In my remaining time as Squire I will be out and about as usual, but will be handing over to Pete Simpson in August as the next Morris Ring Squire. I look forward to seeing as many of you as I can before then.