The People's Republic of Yorkshire: The Barwick-in-Elmet maypole will be back this year, because villagers have worked out how to erect it in accordance with recent bureaucratic health and safety regulations.
Residents at Barwick-in-Elmet had traditionally lowered and then raised the 86ft wooden pole with ropes, ladders and plenty of human effort.
It was last done this way in 1999 since when health and safety regulations have been made tougher.
These caused problems for villagers in 2002 -- when the triennial festival was last held -- and so they held the celebrations without the maypole ceremony.
But now they say they can meet the regulations and will first take down and then raise up the pole again, using a tractor and crane and manual labour.
Nigel Trotter, a qualified engineer, was confident the village could meet regulations and called a public meeting to galvanise support. Now chairman of the maypole committee, he said:Although the lifting techniques will be new to the ceremony, they are a logical development of the traditional techniques used over the past 50 years.
The maypole is traditionally lowered to ground at Easter and then raised again at Spring Bank Holiday (formerly Whitsuntide) which this year falls on Monday, May 30.
The festival will include all the usual traditional amusements, including a procession, maypole dancing and the crowning of a May Queen.
We're back in pole position... - Yorkshire Evening Post, 28th January 2005.