Winter Newsletter 2019/20

APOLOGIES – there seems to be a wrong link from the mailchimp newsletter to the Music Box Archive which is proving tricky to fix. It should be fairly logical in finding this new page manually – we’re sure you’ll think it is worth finding!

Planning for 2020 and beyond

December saw not only a recharge and break for us here in the office over the Christmas and New Year but also, due to the quieter time of the year, gave us the opportunity for the computers to take a break. Over three weeks, each hard drive was taken away, cleaned, cleared, updated and re booted.  All of the little annoying quirks were ironed out and they are now back up and running at full speed (and a bit more!)

January was, as ever, the month of deadlines – local authority funding applications, the annual return for the Charity Commission and the production of the Annual Report from the previous financial year.  In due course, those of you who are All Singing, All Dancing Friends will receive the Annual Summary for you to cast your eyes over. 

Gordon Ruddock Bursary 2020-21

The Ruddock Bursary Scheme for the coming financial year was launched at the end of January and is open for young people up to the age of 25 who are living or studying in East Anglia and are involved in the Traditional Folk Arts/Music – be it as musicians, dancers, singers or storytellers.  If you know anyone who might be suitable please spread the word. One bursary is to assist with the costs of a place on the Burwell Bash – a week long summer school run in Cambridgeshire (27-31st July). Booking for this opened in February and places are filling fast. We are delighted be able to work with the organisers of this successful event. For an update on the first year’s bursary recipients, please check out the Ruddock Bursary page on our website.

EATMT Events in 2020

Stepdancing at Strumpshaw Tree Fair – July 18th and 19th 2020

Plans are well underway with Stepdancing co-ordinator Fiona Davies for this weekend in Norfolk. There’s a spotlight on Norfolk Stepdancing with Norfolk’s Hushwing – featuring Dulcimer, Fiddle and Piano – as the resident band on Saturday 18th July. The Trust’s annual Stepdance day, sponsored by the Instep Research Team, takes place on Sunday 19th July in the afternoon starting with a Stepdance Workshop run by Lou Beal and followed by the Competitions. More details will be added over the Spring months on the events page and the Stepdancing page.

September Song Day -Saturday 19th September 2020

Geoff Ling, singer

In between the winter month deadlines, we have secured our tutors for September Song day in Stowmarket on Saturday 19th September 2020 which will be held in Stowmarket.  This will be a day of three one and a half hour workshops each with a different theme and tutors, a lunchtime singaround session and a tutor concert in the evening. Nick Hart, Stef Conner and Lynne and John Ward are the tutors with John Grey and Libby Byne Grey from Hertfordshire Folk Association running the lunchtime session. The evening concert will feature all tutors – Nick as a solo artist, Stef will be joined by her Timeline Choir and Lynne and John Ward will be joined by Les Woodley thus appearing as The John Ward Trio. Tickets go on sale in May. The Events page will be updated over the Spring as we release more information.

EATMT around East Anglia in 2020

Mardles workshop event

EATMT will be having a stall at this Mardles run event on Saturday 25th April in Beccles. We’ll have our books and hire instruments with us – do come and say hello!

Once again, we’ll be in the Instrumental Area for this super weekend at Glemham Hall on August 21st, 22nd and 23rd.

Website News

The Music Box Archive

The Music Box Archive
Photo: M Wisdom

We are delighted to launch The Music Box Archive. Just before Christmas 2019, Suffolk musician Megan Wisdom approached EATMT regarding a field recording project of singers and songs sung in East Anglia. Megan started her recordings this month and will be starting with Suffolk. It is hoped that over time all East Anglian Counties will be added to this archive. For now, Megan will fit this project in around her time as a full time student on the Folk Degree course at Newcastle University. Her email linked to the Trust is and she will be accessing this as and when time permits but please feel free to make contact if you’re interested in getting involved – either as a singer or as a recorder for other counties within East Anglia.

Do take a look around the new pages on the website dedicated to the Music Box Archive. Megan’s first interviews are available online with Phil O’Dwyer and Roger Middleditch as her first interviewees. Megan has recorded an interview with singers as well as songs and added a photograph and short biography making it a very entertaining read and listen but it’s also an exciting bit of oral history making. We’re delighted with the look and sound of this and hope you are too!

Musicians Profiles

With thanks to Musician, Friend and Supporter Sue Carlton, George Craske and Frank Ward have been added to the Musician Profile pages on the website. There are also two sound clips of George playing recorded by Ann-Marie Hulme and Peter Clifton in 1977 which you might not have heard before.

We would like to try to include more influential and respected musicians from across the region so if anyone feels they might be interested in contributing to an article on this page, please do contact the Trust –

Vaughan Williams in the East

Musician, Friend and Supporter Alan Helsdon has conducted much research into Ralph Vaughan Williams’s collecting in Norfolk and Alan has kindly adapted a recent article written for the Journal of Norfolk Wherry Trust for the Trust’s website page RVW in the East. You can read his article here.

Pat Pickles’ Jig Doll Archive

The Trust homes much of Pat Pickles’ Jig Doll Archive a large amount of which was used for the publication “The Brightest of Entertainers”. This February, one of the Trust’s Friends has started the mammoth task of archiving, referencing, indexing and digitising Pat Pickles’ collection which she gave to the Trust several years ago. It is being digitised with a view to being accessible online via the Trust website once this first stage is completed.

Project work for 2020

Molly dance and archive project

Behind the scenes the Trust is working closely with Cambridgeshire folk educators Nicky Stockman and Gordon Philips on a project about Molly Dancing. We hope to have updates on this by late spring.

Stepdancing in Schools

We’re still looking to secure some funding over the spring to take Stepdancing into schools this summer. We hope to have some news in the coming months regarding this.

Jig Dolls in Stowmarket and beyond…

Thanks to Stowmarket Town Council, we have been awarded a pot of money from their Community Awards fund to add more Jig Dolls to the Trust’s collection which goes out and about across the region. We are also able to provide a training session for local volunteers to take these dolls into initially care homes within the town of Stowmarket but we’re hoping to extend this in other Community areas within the town such as Stowmarket Library.

We’re delighted to be teaming up with Stowupland High School who are keen to get involved – a test doll has been made already and, with a few tweaks, we hope to have several made by the DT department and pupils which can be used, not only in care homes, but also on one of the school’s Activity days in the summer term.

Jig Dolls in East Suffolk

Pictures from the Seagull Theatre and from the performance at Oulton Park Care Centre in Lowestoft and with a visiting group of school children from Woods Loke primary school.

Ancestors is a local project involving a collaboration with the Suffolk Record Office and Voice cLoud, the Trust’s jig dolls were used in care homes and at the Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft during January. Stephen Amer of Voice cLoud writes:

In early 2019, The Voice cLoud launched a Suffolk-wide project on behalf of Suffolk Archives which gave people the opportunity to use the resources and collections of Suffolk record offices – the three record offices based around Suffolk – to research their family and local history.

The group based in Lowestoft made discoveries about their relatives’ lives which led them to Lowestoft’s workhouse; the town’s long-lost Beach Village and, further afield, to Dunwich and even Canada!

The Voice cLoud took the findings and research of this group to create a unique piece of theatre which used professional actors to represent these real Lowestoft characters from the past century, paired with amateur musicians (including members of the research group) and embellished by singers from the Voice cLoud’s other community music projects.

The show, called ‘Ancestors’, brought to life the fascinating and tragic lives of the relatives and people the group found out about and incorporated traditional Suffolk folk music, songs written for the production, step dancing and even jig dolls which were loaned to the production by the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust.

The show was performed at a range of community venues in and around Lowestoft during January, including at The Seagull Theatre in Pakefield, two care homes, to school children and at a museum and a coffee shop.

For more information about the show, visit

2021 Events

Workshops March 2021

One of Adrian Hilton’s melodeons bequested to the Trust

In December, Trust administrator Alex and voluntary Event administrator Shirley Harry visited a potential new venue in Cambridgeshire for a day of workshops in the Spring of 2021. We are delighted to have Steve Dumpleton once again on board as voluntary Artistic Director for a day of workshops. We are hoping to provide workshops for melodeons, concertinas, piano accordions and a band workshop for multiple instruments. We are busy looking at the budgets for this but a provisional date of Saturday 27th March 2021 has been pencilled in our diaries and a suitable venue has “saved the date” for us too. Bear with us while we try and make this a firm fixture in the 2021 diary.

Traditional Music Day September 4th 2021

Photo C Gill

We are delighted to announce we have been successful in being awarded some funding from The Alfred Williams Charitable Trust. This local Charitable Trust supports local causes involved with heritage, music, education, community and social causes and so we’re honoured to have been allocated some money to help with the running of this event for next year.

Voluntary Artistic Co-ordinator Alan Bearman is busy planning EATMT’s 2021 Traditional Music Day which will take place around Stowmarket town centre on Saturday 4th September 2021. He’s keen to hear your views. We know it is a much missed event and people are keen to see it back on the timetable of Trust events. Here at the Trust, we are keen to be looking forward, so what developments would you like to see? For example, should it be more regionally inclusive? What additional things would you like to see? If you feel you have something constructive to add at this stage of the planning, then Alan would like to hear from you by email:

Even though we are not able to use the same site as in previous years, we are able to keep the event running in Stowmarket – right in the heart of East Anglia – easily accessible by road, train or even air!

In other news…

Antiques Road Trip – Laxfield Royal Oak

Our second TV programme – this time covering Stepdancing – was aired on Tuesday 4th February at 4.30pm on BBC1.  Here is the link to watch again if you missed it:    It featured Fiona Davies, Lennie Whiting, Stephen Matthews, David Mitchell, Lou Beal and James Abbott – plus the next generation of keen young dancers, Nuala and Bean.

Trip to EFDSS – Cecil Sharp House and the RVW Memorial Library

In early February, we were very grateful for the warm welcome and time given to us by acting Director of Library and Archives Malcolm Barr Hamilton for a meeting about collections and archiving.

Inventory and stocktaking

Yet another volunteer, Ian Trouse – sometimes Event photographer/film maker for the Trust and also MEAL Museum volunteer – has been busy devising an inventory system so we can start making a list of what exactly we have in the offices here at Trust HQ. Overseen by our Trusty Trustee Miriam Stead, this is a job not for the faint hearted! The aim is to digitise relevant items and add them to the website.

Book sales and Instrument Hire

Book sales have seen a surge since the beginning of the new year and we find ourselves popping to the Post Office on a weekly basis with new orders from new faces. This month some have been New Zealand and America bound. You can check out these products in our online shop.

The Maypole is reserved for a hire in May but Maypoles aren’t just for May so if you’re involved in a village fete or community summer event, do bear us in mind to add something “Traditional” to your event.

We have a good number of D/G melodeons out on hire plus one of the Dulcimers. We also have C row melodeons available as well as anglo concertinas. At £10 per month for rental, it’s a great way to have a go at something new without committing to purchasing an instrument. This week one D/G melodeon has been hired out to a very keen young gentleman, aged 9 who has been learning on a child’s melodeon under the watchful eye of the master Tony Hall. On Tony’s advice, his student has decided to get his fingers working on the real McCoy and grand dad Pete has treated him to several months worth of hire. A beautiful tune played by Tony at the Blaxhall Ship in 2016 recorded and uploaded by Gavin Atkin can be seen here. Thanks to Gavin and Tony for permission to use.


As ever, we are extremely grateful to our supporters who have taken out a Friends’ membership with EATMT. This is an annual subscription of £15 and since its existence has been a vital part of our income. In addition, we are able to claim back Gift Aid through this scheme. Your support is invaluable and is very much appreciated. If you’re not yet a Friend or if you are a lapsed Friend, please do consider joining. You will benefit from cheaper event tickets and early bird booking as well as knowing that your contribution to the Trust helps keep traditions alive. Find our Friends membership form here.

We have recently signed up for Recycle4charity.  If you would like some envelopes for you to send your used inkjet cartridges away in order to raise extra funds for EATMT, please get in touch and we’ll send some in the post to you.  We can take your laser cartridges too – if you’re interested, do get in touch.

As ever, the final words are of thanks to the Friends, supporters, volunteers who help keep the Trust and staff in buoyant mood.
Not all mentioned in this newsletter, but you know who you are!