Finally, this is what Denis Smith has to say.
I first met Colin ( or rather, he met me) in the mid nineteen-fifties, soon after the formation, in 1953, of the Westminster Morris Men.
I was playing, in Chelmsford, for a Playford dance and during the interval Colin invited me to be musician to Westminster Morris and I learnt my trade during a week dancing across the Cotswolds , with team and music practices each morning in Inn yards, terminating in a week at the EFDSS festival at Stratford on Avon. I shall always be grateful to Colin for bringing me into the Morris.
Colin’s contribution to the development of the team over the years was both important and distinctive. He served the team, at various times, as Squire, Bagman and latterly as Foreman. In this role he maintained meticulous standards of performance with a real sense of handing on a tradition to the next generation. He was important in the period when Westminster were studying the Longborough tradition, and played a significant role in devising new dances, albeit a group activity, in that traditional style.
But in some ways I believe Colin’s main contribution to the Westminster performance lay in his sense of street theatre. He had an almost surreal way of involving the audience in our dancing, telling them how we found the Unicorn in the depths of Epping Forest, and how we ‘discovered’ the dance notation and the music of Yardley’s Princess Royal in the rafters of a roof in Thaxted. And the public were delighted. To whip the public into continued interest he would, at the end of the dance ask them, ‘Did you enjoy that?’ – and would not start the next dance until he had received the appropriate reply. He had that real sense of magic in the Morris. The Morris needs an audience and Colin certainly made them an important part of the show.
Both Colin, and the team, were honoured when he was elected Squire of the Morris Ring for the period 1972-74. During those two years he travelled many miles in attending Ring Meetings and club Ales. This period brought Westminster many new friends.
Westminster has some very special connections with other teams, notably Thaxted, Headington and Moulton in Northamptonshire where Colin met Anne at a weekend festival.
This year we celebrate our 50th. anniversary and it is particularly poignant that Colin will not be there. He leaves an enormous gap in the morris and we shall miss him more than mere words can say.