The Bagman’s Awards

Steve Guest

When Thelwall Morris Men were spending a week-end away at Thaxted, Essex, some years ago, Jeff Dodwell dreamt that he had been sick. Jim Berry, sleeping next to Jeff, woke the next morning to find the bottom of his sleeping bag stained with something unspeakable. For his nocturnal discharges, Jeff was awarded the Slippery Gullet by the Bagman. The subsequent history of Jim's sleeping bag has gone unrecorded.

The Bagman’s Awards were instigated by Ernie Whalley sometime in the mid 70s. They have been added to (and subtracted from) over the years and currently there are four main awards given out at the AGM by the Bagman; together with others awarded from time to time as and when the achievements of the members of the team merit them.

The Bagman’s Medal
This is the only award which is made with a degree of seriousness. It is a medallion with ribbon in the team's colours and is awarded to a member of the team who is felt by the Bagman to have made a distinguished contribution to the team during the past year. It has been awarded for such things as organising a Day of Dance or for finding the team a new practice venue when we were evicted from our previous abode. '

The Slippery Ferret
Comprising a handsomely framed sketch of a downtrodden little man being put upon by his domineering spouse and carrying the caption "And when you've finished that you can shampoo the ferret", this trophy is awarded for the most feeble excuse given for not turning out to dance. It was once awarded to someone who couldn't dance because he had to go shopping - an excuse felt to be lacking in substance somewhat as we were dancing outside Warrington Market. It was most unfairly awarded (but fairness has never been a criterion in making the awards) to one poor member of the side who failed to turn out on a single occasion one year. The fact that the recipient was working in Burton on Trent for the entire year was not thought to be a good enough reason.

The Silver Shoes
That this award has on numerous occasions been made to the Foreman on behalf of the whole side is perhaps a sad, but accurate, reflection on our mastery of the Terpsichorean arts; for this award is to mark a particularly poor piece of dancing by a member of the team who should know better. Falling over is always a good way to force yourself into contention for this but the Bagman often looks for something a little more distinctive, such as losing sticks or significant items of clothing during the dance. Our musician once received it for his acute amnesia on one particular occasion. This award started out as two of Ernie's shoes (both left feet) painted silver but is now a fine pottery model of two left shoes painted silver and created by Geoff Bibby.

The Dull Bugger
Another magnificent clay sculpture created by Geoff Bibby, forming the words "Dull Bugger", mounted on a wooden plinth, the recipient of this award is the envy of his peer group for the ensuing year. It's hard to define what this is awarded for except to say that it's for doing something particularly "dull". The most recent recipient, for example, was awarded the trophy for going to play the guitar and earning £85 in preference to paying out £20 for a bus ride round Derbyshire and getting soaked dancing to no-one on a cold day in September.

Other awards made on an occasional basis include The Slippery Gullet (those of you who recall the first paragraph will no doubt have worked out how to qualify for this one - good taste precludes a more detailed exposition), which comprises a steel surgical dish of dubious origin. There is also The Mounted Swede, which is a swede mounted on a bit of wood. Not awarded since John "Groper" Pickston left the side. The thought that this might be read by a mixed audience dictates a certain discretion over explaining this one. Suffice it to say that the awards name and the reason for it relate to John’s sedulous pursuit of the pleasures of the flesh at an international folk dance festival.

The reader may feel that all this has somewhat tenuous links to the Morris and is the product of a group of people who have not progressed beyond schoolboy humour. If so, I can only commend the reader for his or her perspicacity. Whatever - I’m off to ponder tactics required to secure the re-award of the Mounted Swede.

The Bagman's Medal
Roll of Honour

1975

Steve Burgess

1986

Gordon Gilmore

1997

Geoff Bibby

2008

Del Britch

1976

Ian Goodier

1987

Geoff Bibby

1998

Andrew White

2009

Sam "Henry" Addison

1977

John “Grog” Gregson

1988

Jim Berry

1999

Derek Bradburne

2010

Steve Guest

1978

Gordon Gilmore

1989

Kevin Farrell

2000

Andrew White

2011

Sam "Henry" Addison

1979

Geoff Bibby

1990

Alan Poole

2001

Ned Bibby

2012

Sam "Henry" Addison

1980

Rob Pracy

1991

Andrew White

2002

Geoff Bibby

2013

Sam "Henry" Addison

1981

Chris Maple

1992

Geoff Bibby

2003

Steve Guest

1982

Steve Burgess

1993

Kevin Farrell

2004

Andrew White

1983

Gordon Gilmore

1994

Derek Bradburne

2005

Geoff Bibby

1984

Steve Guest

1995

Kevin Farrell

2006

Rob Pracy

1985

Peter "Jasper" Robinson

1996

Andrew White

2007

Andrew White

Other award winners during the time of the Thelwall web site.

Go to Thelwall Morris Men 25th Anniversary Home Page


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Last updated 08 October 2013