Reporter: Stuart Littleford
Saddleworth Morris Men are asking kind-hearted businesses to take up advertising space in the Rushcart programme so that the money raised can go towards Cart repairs and traffic management costs.
The body of the Cart was built in 2004, with the wheels from the previous one kept in service but heavily rebuilt in 2010. Due to their use since the first Rushcart, the wooden rims are now being replaced by third generation wheelwright Phill Gregson, based near Southport.
Donations from businesses will make sure the historic Rushcart event takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend (26 and 27 August) for a 43rd time. It is the largest ‘Rushcart’ occasion of its kind still in existence.
This year’s ‘jockey’ will be Simon Williams, who joined the boys side as a five year old in 1975, which existed alongside the men’s team until both merged in 1992. He then left in 1986 at the age of 16 and rejoined the side in 2011.
He will unveil the homemade banner on the front of the Cart on the Saturday morning, the theme of which remains a secret until then to the entire team.
Approximately 120 Morris Men from sides across the UK will pull the Rushcart, and Simon, from 10.30am through Uppermill, Greenfield, Dobcross and Delph on Saturday, dancing in each village to hundreds of onlookers.
They will then set off from Uppermill on Sunday morning at approximately 10am for the short journey up Church Road to St Chad’s Church, dancing outside the Church Inn and Cross Keys pubs.
David Biggs, Squire of Saddleworth Morris Men told Saddleworth news: “The Cart is in need of vital repairs to sure up its wheels and keep us moving through the villages.
“We’re about to start cutting rushes with permission from the National Trust on the tops around Saddleworth and secure approximately three tonnes of them on the ‘Cart, so it goes through a lot when combined with the miles that it covers!
“We’d be eternally grateful if businesses would like to contribute towards them and the traffic management costs so that we can put on this historic event for the people of Saddleworth and those from further afield, which always helps the local economy.
“We’re asking for £100 for a full-page advert in our programme which is sold over the weekend and a minimum of £50 to become a patron in exchange for an acknowledgement in the programme, and a mention on our website.”