Approximately fifty villagers turned up to sing carols under the Christmas Tree, an event organised jointly by Cocking Parish Council and the Parish Church of St. Catherine of Siena, Cocking.
Despite the cool conditions, or perhaps in an attempt to warm themselves, they rendered eleven favourite carols (including the Sussex Carol
) with gusto. The tree that accompanied them was donated by the Cowdray Estate and the electricity for the lights came from Chris & Ginny Budd's nearby cottage via a cable slung between the nearby chestnut trees.
Halfway through the programme, a small cast of players appeared to perform a Revival
of the Cocking Mummer's Play
, probably the first time the work has been performed since 1906. The audience was delighted by the traditional text, embellished by a few modern additions that would not have been out of place in a pantomime. There was the early appearance of a convincing Father Christmas; Mince Pie and St. George fought a terrifying sword fight and the fallen Mince Pie was miraculously revived (that's Revival No. 2) by a cure prescribed by a mysterious Doctor wearing a Tom Baker scarf. Finally Saucy Jack relieved the audience of their hard earned cash in aid of the Chestnut Tree House Children's Hospice
at Poling, the only children's hospice in Sussex.
Before, during and after the carols, warm mince pies were on offer, whilst Revival No. 3 involved the singing throng. It came in polystyrene cups and the medicine this time was an ample dose of delicious and warming mulled wine.
Cocking Mummer's Play
Cast in Order of Appearance
Father Christmas David Imlach
Mince Pie Suzy Callow
St. George Chris Budd
Doctor Darron Carver
Saucy Jack Steve Redshaw (who also played the accordion)