Royalty prepare for village May Day celebrations

Ashover’s new Royal family – nine-year-old Mia Parsons and eight-year-old Theo Bell – took time out this week to inspect the golden coach which comes with the honour of being elected May King and Queen.

The couple will be crowned during the community’s May Day Carnival celebrations on Monday, May 6, by popular village Tuck Shop owner Anna Unwin after processing along Church Street, which will be closed to traffic, with their 33-strong retinue of Royal and Garland attendants. They will be led by Ashover Band.

“The coronation is always one of the highlights of the day for the thousands of people who come into Ashover to enjoy what is a traditional family celebration,” said Rosemary Early, who heads the carnival organising team.

Mia and Theo are pictured during their inspection of the coach which was designed and built by Nigel Early for use in this year’s village pantomime

May Day in Ashover is now such a well-established event that supporters travel from many parts of the Midlands to enjoy a non-stop programme of street theatre with mummers, musicians, morris, garland and maypole dancers, punch and judy, hedgehog-rollers, the village brass band, an escapologist, Uncle Michael the clown and Patrick the barrel organ player.

More than 45 stallholders selling various products, many of them for charities and deserving causes, will line Church Street. There will be races up the village streets and welly-wanging and a tug-of-war competition in the field behind the Bassett Rooms - all under the watchful gaze of Ashover Town Crier Merrick Bull.

One of the highlights of the day is the Family Fun Run which attracts entrants of all ages and invariably produces enthusiastic support from onlookers.

At lunchtime, the Hallam String Quartet will present a programme of music in the Church.

Visitors will also be able to see work by Chesterfield Art Club members who are to stage an exhibition during the holiday weekend in the nearby Parish Hall which will feature original works of art by more than 40 local artists.

A smaller exhibition of photographs and artwork will be on display at the Black Swan in the village and will showcase the talents of Lily Hammond of Ashover, Simon Moody of Uppertown and Kate Beinder of Clay Cross.

The carnival is organised by volunteers from All Saints Church who are always strongly supported by the local authorities, children from the village school, locals and well-wishers.