Traditional jig dolls gather in Norfolk during weekend celebrating folk singer Harry Cox

Woodworker Barry Mobbs with two of his jig dolls, Dick and Daisy. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Woodworker Barry Mobbs with two of his jig dolls, Dick and Daisy. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Jig dolls from all over Norfolk and beyond are being dusted off and polished for a unique event this weekend.

The first Norfolk Jig Doll Convention is being held in Catfield on Sunday as part of a three-day folk festival to commemorate traditional singer Harry Cox.

Farmworker Harry (1885-1971) was born at Pennygate, Barton Turf, but lived most of his married life at Catfield.

Harry's granddaughter, Jenny Barker of Thorpe St Andrew, will attend the festival and Harry's own jig doll, un-named and now in the care of Norwich folk singer Sheila Park, is due to be there on Sunday.

Jig dolls, carved from wood with moveable limbs, are usually about 10 inches high and are used to 'dance' on flat boards in time to lively folk tunes played on fiddles, squeezeboxes, hammered dulcimers and other traditional instruments.


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As well as jig dolls from Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, there will also be one on loan from the Norfolk Museums Service collection at Strangers' Hall, Norwich.

That jig doll was part of a large collection of toys from the early part of the last century and recently donated by the Cabbell Manners family of Cromer Hall.

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As well as a talk and jig doll demonstration by Stalham woodturner Barry Mobbs, the Sunday morning convention will include prizes for the best-dressed doll, the doll performing best stunts and the doll most like its owner.

Festival headliner tomorrow at The Atrium, North Walsham, and at Catfield Village Hall on Saturday afternoon with his Victorian Farmers' Year in Song show will be 'squeezebox maestro' John Kirkpatrick (Albion Country Band, Steeleye Span and Brass Monkey).

Other weekend attractions include talks, archive folk films, concerts and singarounds.

Full details at www.artsnorthnorfolk.org or from brian.gaudet@btinternet.com

Tickets for all Harry Fest events will be on sale at The Atrium on Friday, and at Catfield Village Hall on Saturday.

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