The Mayor of St Albans danced with Morris dancers at the Watercress Wildlife Association’s Apple Wassail to raise £557 for the charity.
On Sunday, January 19 the city’s mayor, Annie Brewster, joined 120 people for the wassail ceremony at the nature reserve in Riverside Road, St Albans.
Wassailing is a pagan tradition mainly practised in the cider orchards of southern England on Twelfth Night. It involves dancing and singing about the health of trees in the hope that a good crop follows.
The association organised the wassail to raise funds for the renovation of bridges at the nature reserve which is also home to a number of apple trees.
The city’s mayor said: "I loved being a part of the Apple Wassail. It will be one of my more memorable experiences, dancing with big sticks and hanging pieces of toast in apple trees.
"I am absolutely delighted to support our wonderful Watercress Wildlife Association which has worked so hard to preserve the ancient cress beds as a beautiful nature reserve for us all. The association’s strong and unique vision certainly enriches the life of our community."
The apple wassail was held as close as possible to Old Twelfth Night which falls on January 17 under the pre-Gregorian calendar.
During the festivities, a wassail toast was drunk from a silver cup loaned to Howard Artiss, the Watercress Wildlife Association’s site manager. Mr Artiss received the cup at a prize-giving ceremony the previous day as winner of the Cottonmill and Nunnery Allotment Association’s Summer Show.
Mr Artiss said: "We are very grateful to the mayor for coming to our wassail and supporting us so enthusiastically. It was a very happy event, in glorious sunshine, which celebrated the apple trees and raised money to help renovate the bridges. We welcome anyone who wants to visit this beautiful little nature reserve in the heart of St Albans."