THE recent Wassail on Headless Cross Green went with a bang, with more than 100 people beating drums, saucepans and biscuit tins to wish good health to the fruit trees.

Taking part in the community orchard event was Arrow Valley Brass Band, Bromsgrove's Town Crier Kevin Ward, the mayor Alan Mason and dozens of famillies.

They were joined by folklorists Karen and Colin Cater who have been visiting Wassails across the country, researching for their forthcoming Wassailing book.

Mr Cater said: "This is only their second ever Wassail, yet the Headless Cross folks really know how to put on a traditional event.

“If I'm still walking this earth in 10 years time, I'd like to return to Redditch and see their community orchard in maturity."

The event began with Mr Ward asking permission from the mayor Alan Mason, to 'cry' in the boundaries of Redditch. Noisy revellers then formed a procession to Headless Cross Green where they gathered under the oldest apple tree.

A ceremony followed, wishing good health to the trees, although the threat of an axe was made to the oldest apple tree to produce apples this year or be chopped down.

Wassail Queen Elinor Braithwaite draped cider soaked toast in the boughs of the tree and 40 pints of warm spiced Wassail cider was shared.

Arrow Valley Brass Band played a number of songs, including accompanying the revellers with Juice-Alem, an apple related song.

The next event planned for the community orchard is a May Fayre on May Bank Holiday Monday.

Work days on the green are held on the second Saturday of the month. See for more details.