A MUSEUM welcomed in the new year with a joyous folk celebration.

The Museum of Power, in Hatfield Road, Langford, hosted its annual Crank Up and Wassail New Year’s Day celebration for scores of families.

The event saw the museum crank up its steam machinery for the first time in 2020 to kick off the new year.

Guests were also treated to traditional performances from the Dark Horse Morris Dancers, who entertained the crowds throughout the afternoon.

Organiser Lyz Le Fay said: “This was our third wassail conducted at the Museum of Power, where entertainment of song and dance, food, drink and laughter were the order of the day.

“There was a beautiful blessing of the orchard, which now dominates a strip of land between the museum and the River Blackwater.

“Two more trees were planted in the orchard – damson this time – kindly donated by Claremont Nursery in Woodham Mortimer.

“Altogether now, there are 11 trees, including a variety of apples and pears and now the new damson.

“The blessing was conducted, then a loud noise made by spectators and gunshots fired by Alan Wildman warded off the evil spirits and to beckon a bountiful crop come the harvest at autumn.”

The blessing started with a procession led by the Mari Lwyd, a horse’s skull mounted on a pole, and a wassail toast was raised to ‘waes hael’, meaning ‘being well’.

The ceremony was followed by an afternoon of singing, dancing, festive food and folk music.