Video: Somerset Wassail ceremony at Rich's Farmhouse Cider
With the first snowflakes of the new year falling on Somerset, it might seem a touch early to be contemplating the next season's apple crop, but cider fans in Burnham and Highbridge are determined to ensure their local orchard gets off to the best start possible.
More than 300 people attended the Rotary Club of Burnham-on-Sea's charity Wassail on Saturday night, held at Rich's Farmhouse Cider.
Owner Jan Scott was delighted to announce that the event raised £2,500 for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.
She said: "Everyone has been very supportive in raising this sum, which for a wet and cold January night is fantastic."
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The Somerset Wassail ceremony is steeped in tradition. The Wassail Queen, 13-year-old Molly Scott, placed cider-soaked toast in the branches and poured a generous slug of cider on the Apple tree's roots to grant good health for the coming year's harvest.
The crowd sung the traditional verses with enthusiasm and were obviously experienced Wassailers.
Three gunmen fired a volley of shots through the branches to ward off any evil spirits before everyone hurried from the inclement conditions, for the cider-perfumed warmth of the marquee and entertainment from The Mangledwurzels and Bob Darch Road Show disco.
A cider sampler at the bar said: "I love coming to this Wassail, this is my sixth year. It's just so Somerset and Rich's Cider has certainly proved they can organise a cracking knees-up in a brewery!"
If you would like to raise money for the Air Ambulance, here are a few ideas on organising a Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance fund-raising event.
RICH'S FARMHOUSE CIDER CHARITY WASSAIL - IN PICTURES