Morris man arrives in Norwich after 120-mile dance
PUBLISHED: 06:45 23 February 2011
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011
A Morris man danced his way into Norwich city centre last night after completing a 120-mile journey from London in just eight days.
Tom Clare, 33, Morris danced all the way from Mansion House in central London to the Coachmakers Arms pub in St Stephens after hearing about the story of Will Kemp, who took the same route in 1600.
He completed the feat a day earlier than planned, raising money for community projects and awareness of the tradition of Morris dancing.
Mr Clare was met by local Morris dancers the Kemp’s Men of Norwich, who played music and danced the final stretch into the city centre.
“I have danced every step of the way from London”, said Mr Clare.
“It has been amazing. When I was on the main road everybody was beaping their horns. It spurred us on. The more people that beaped their horns, the more we were spurred on.”
He arrived in the city around 5.30pm yesterday.
“It has definitely raised the profile of Morris dancing”, he said. “Although it is hard to pinpoint exactly how much. We’ve had young kids coming up and asking ‘who are you and what are you doing?’”
He said that they had also had Poles and Lithuanians asking what he was doing.
“When I started Morris dancing four years ago someone told me the story of Will Kemp and I thought that was the crazy sort of thing I would do,” he said.
Mr Clare added: “We want to raise the profile of Morris dancing and raise the awareness of community gardens and community projects.
“We want to start a community garden in Brackley in Northamptonshire so we want to learn about other projects and how they engage people of all ages.”
Peter Mayne, squire of the Kemp’s Men of Norwich said: “I has been a couple of years since the last person did it, but to do it in eight days, it’s amazing.
“We are named after William Kemp who did it, but he took a couple of weeks as he stopped at pubs and did lost of carousing with young women.
“Tom is a young guy and that is fantastic. It shows that Morris men are not old chaps of a certain age and that young people can do it.”
For more information about Mr Clare’s Morris dancing challenge, go to www.lifestreamfreqs.org