Pirates put on a show for open day

DAY OUT Captain Jack Sparrow with Louise Reevell, her husband and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell, club commodore Tony Foster and Heather Bearpark. (d710d319)
DAY OUT Captain Jack Sparrow with Louise Reevell, her husband and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell, club commodore Tony Foster and Heather Bearpark. (d710d319)

Pirates put on a dazzling display of family-friendly fun at a boat club open day.

South Pennine Boat Club in Battyeford opened its doors to the public on Saturday.

Its pirate-themed open day included a best dressed pirate competition for children, a pirate ship bouncy castle and a special guest appearance by Captain Jack Sparrow look-alike Matty Parkinson.

But the main attraction was undoubtedly the Handspike Dance, which got its world premiere at the boat club in Wood Lane on Saturday.

The dance was choreographed by boat club members who performed it while dressed in traditional pirate costume. It combines morris dancing, country dancing and break-dancing, and dancers carry handspikes – the tool used to work the paddles on locks along the Calder and Hebble Canal.

Troupe leader and club commodore Tony Foster: “None of us are natural dancers but at practice sessions, fellow club members have been stunned by our double overs, push-me-pull-yous and circle-outs.

“Although the handspike is fairly heavy and primitive as a lock tool, it has proved its worth as a finely tuned dance implement.”

Other activities included boat trips along the canal, live music, a duck race, craft stalls and a real ale bar.