Rector's Letter - July 2001 

My Dear Friends,

 Astbury May Day in July?  Good heavens, whatever next!  But better in July than not at all.

 Every May Day is special.  That was obvious to us a couple of years ago, when within the first week of arriving in the Parish we were digging our glad rags out of their packing cases and mingling with the 2000 or so in the Rectory Garden.  The idea of not having a May Day is almost unthinkable, and yet this year we weren't far off.

 So God willing, May Day 2001 will have a specialness all of its own, not least because we are able to hold it at all!  When Foot and Mouth was at its height only a few weeks ago none of us were sure when restrictions would be lifted, nor what sort of countryside would be left behind in its wake.  And as a second wave of outbreaks has broken upon many parts of the UK over the last few weeks, anxiety levels have risen again.  The spectre of FMD refuses to go away and continues to haunt rural Britain.

 When I make my way up the steps to crown Jessica Lowis in just a few days time, all these thoughts will be at the back of my mind.   I hope it will be a parable for life in Britain's rural communities:  Life goes on.  It may not be the same, but it goes on.  Unbowed, we'll dance and sing and celebrate.

Hardly a month goes by without some former May Queen or attendant making contact with me, sending a letter or a photograph.  I'm even getting emails from them in Australia and Canada since we set up our web-site! (

This year, May Day isn't in May, but July will do, and hopefully the Sun will still shine. Despite the changes, some of our children's most powerful lifelong memories will be born: Our May Queen will be crowned, Swing Boats will be swung, and the May Pole adorned in its ribboned glory.  And perhaps years from now, they will contact some future Rector of Astbury and share their happy memories of a quite unique day… the Day when Astbury had May in July!

Jeff Cuttell,


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