By Tim Nuttall
Withernsea Methodist Church’s popular Food, Friendship and Fun event returns next week with a long-awaited performance from local folk collective Morning Dew.
The five-piece band were originally scheduled to play back in February, before illness forced a last-minute postponement. On that occasion, band member Andrew Wells ably stood in with a rare solo performance that saved the day. Tapping into his extensive collection of self-written works, some of which also feature in the Morning Dew set list, Andrew took the audience on a journey through songs inspired by Holderness.
After moving to Kilnsea in 1996, Andrew began taking inspiration from his surroundings for his songwriting. He said: “Soon after arriving, I became fascinated with the area. Although I had written a few songs before moving there, I wrote a lot more in those first few years down at Kilnsea – mainly about the area and the people I met along the way. Most of my songs are supposed to be amusing, although I do have a few more serious ones. I class them as folk songs.”
Now reunited with the full line-up, Andrew (guitar and vocals) and fellow band members Eric Godfrey (bass and vocals), Paul MacGilvray (whistles, pipes, violin, flute and vocals), Gordon Beastall (banjo, concertina, bodhran and vocals) and Rachel Beastall (fiddle, percussion and vocals), are preparing to showcase their mix of original material and traditional English, Irish and Scottish folk songs which have endeared them to audiences across Holderness and beyond for 20 years.
During this time, the popular group have hosted barn dances and performed regularly at local churches, pubs, folk clubs and private functions – taking no fees for their appearances and instead asking for donations towards chosen charities.
To date, this generosity has secured £8,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, £2,700 for Dove House Hospice and £1,800 for their current nominated charity, the Multiple Sclerosis Trust – totalling £12,500 raised for good causes.
For the band, the social element of performing together, both during rehearsals and at gigs, is a valuable experience. Gordon Beastall said: “We all love rehearsing and playing for an audience. We rehearse in various places and currently meet in Andrew’s barn at Kilnsea. During some periods of the Covid pandemic, we found that rehearsing there in an open space was very uplifting and helped to keep our minds off what was going on.
“We are grateful to the audiences who continue to support us and we are proud to have raised so much money for charity. We love performing and if we can do so while also helping to raise money for worthy causes, then that’s a bonus.”
Food, Friendship and Fun sessions take place between noon and 2.30pm on the last Thursday of each month – with Morning Dew’s appearance taking place next Thursday, July 27.
The events offer entertainment alongside a simple lunch of soup and a bread roll, followed by a selection of homemade buns. While the food is free, an opportunity to leave donations is offered if desired.
As a platform for performance, local artists are given an opportunity to showcase their talents in front of an appreciative and informal audience. This has led to a succession of performers, from poets to raconteurs and musicians, who have freely offered their time and expertise to entertain the group.
June’s event saw Rev Andrew Orton lead a relaxed quiz afternoon, featuring musical interludes chosen by attendees. Meanwhile, local poet Richard Harries will return in August for his second appearance at a Food, Friendship and Fun event.
Food, Friendship and Fun takes place in the Community Room at Withernsea Methodist Church in Hull Road. The room is wheelchair friendly, with the venue also featuring an accessible toilet to ensure inclusivity for all. Access to the Community Room is via the footpath at the left side of the church, which will be signposted on event days.