On Saturday 8th. December 2012 we held our 18th. Wassail in the wood. This event is our way of saying thank-you to all of our supporters, members and their guests. Unlike most of our activities this event is not open to the public as numbers are restricted.
The weather was perfect for the event. The day was dry and bright allowing easy preparation, and the evening was clear and frosty, with very little wind. Thanks have to go to all of our helpers who lit and placed over four hundred nightlights in jars to light the paths. The sight of all the lights is truly magical; and in total contrast to some of the extravagant commercial displays at this time of year.
During the procession into the heart of the wood we enjoyed two Christmas Carols accompanied by cornets from the Patching Silver Band. The participants snaked deeper into the wood and eventually emerged in the celebratory clearing.
As a group we pride ourselves on having minimal fire sites and keeping those fires small; to preserve the ground flora. The one exception to this rule is the midwinter wassail fire. Traditionally fires are lit at this time of year to symbolise the fight against darkness and as a sign of faith in the natural cycle of life. Many religions and traditions celebrate this season with fire festivals. Tottington Woodlanders help in our own small way to maintain this tradition.
After refreshing on hot mulled wine and mince pies the celebrants clustered around the fire to sing a few carols, accompanied by the whole band. Half way through the singing our Chairman entertained us with an amusing Christmas reading from the Copper family; a well known family of Sussex folk singers.
If smiles are a measure of happiness the 18th. Wassail was a resounding success. Our thanks go to all of those who helped in large and small ways to ensure the evening lived up to expectations.