Revival 1980s

 Throughout all the post-war period Sid Russell continued to encourage the village youngsters in the hope that one day an adult Eynsham side would dance again, but sometimes despairing of ever seeing it. Keith Green, who by then often went to see Sid and chat with him, finally decided to try to revive the Eynsham Morris, encouraged by the presence in the village of others with folk song and dance interests. An inaugural meeting was called for 2 October 1979 in the clubroom of the Red Lion, made available by the kindness of the long serving landlord Frank Harris and Auntie, his wife. All eight who attended were Eynsham residents, and residence or birth in Eynsham is still a requirement for membership. More men soon joined, making the revival viable. Dave Townsend, who taught the side, investigated afresh all the sources, written as well as verbal. Every effort was made to talk to as many former dancers as possible, including Sid Russell. Although he was delighted at the prospect of the revival, sadly, he died before the first public performance of the new side. All the dances were demonstrated before dancers from the twenties and thirties for their approval, and their corrections incorporated in the dances. Some of the figures now danced are named after those who described them to the side. For its costume the side returned to the traditional smocks, breeches, top hats and hob nailed boots.

The first public performance of the revived side was on the May Day Bank Holiday, 5 May 1980. Starting from outside the Red Lion, the side proceeded to dance round the village, stopping (of course!) at all the pubs. The hosts for the day were, and continued for some years to be, the Eynsham Ladies, who regularly did country dances in the village on May Day in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Research Fund. The revived side has never looked back, and rapidly gained a reputation as one of the most colourful and flamboyant (and noisy!) Morris sides in existence. The old vigour, so often remarked upon in the past, has not been forgotten.

The side dances frequently between May and September, most often in company with other Morris teams. Most of the dancing is local, but during the 1980s the side travelled to Dartmoor (the Dartmoor Folk Festival), Kent (as guests of Ravensbourne Morris), Chester (as guests of Manley Morris) and Derby (performing in the "Dancing England" show); and even as far afield as Denmark (the Ballerup Folk Festival). The May Bank Holiday and the Eynsham Carnival (the first Saturday in July) have become traditional dates for the side's performances in the village.

The side took great pride in the fact that Phil Lambourne, of the 1930s side, was for ten years a valuable member of the current team, acting as collector, traffic warden, baggage attendant and public relations man par excellence. It is sad to record that Phil, the last survivor of the 1930s side, died in 1989. Until a few weeks before his death he continued to tour with the side; four of the team bore his coffin at the funeral.
Foreman Keith Green
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