THEY are certainly a noisy lot at Sandford!

As part of the annual Sandford Wassail, people are invited to take along pots and pans, rattles, whistles, and other instruments or just shout for the noisy part of the proceedings, the frightening away of the evil spirits.

Frightening away evil spirits at Sandford Wassail. Video by Alan Quick

Well this year it proved to be the noisiest yet!

There was fire, firing shotguns, music, singing, cider, toast, a procession, dancing, pitchforks and much more - all part of Sandford Wassail, which was held on Saturday, January 20.

Sandford Wassail parade. Video by Alan Quick

The evening began with everyone gathering in Sandford Square from about 6.30pm and the arrival of the parade of Exeter Morris, the Brown Paper Bag Mummers and many others with lanterns and torches.

There was morris dancing in the square, the choosing of the Wassail Queen, and the singing of the Wassail song.

Last year Matilda Gill (5) of Crediton, was the Wassail Queen and this year it was Alice Sherlock of Chulmleigh who was crowned Wassail Queen.

Noisy at Sandford Wassail. Video by Alan Quick

Alice found a clove in her slice of apple cake which she was served while watching proceedings in the crowd.

The ceremony then continued with a parade to an apple tree in a field near the Millennium Green.

Then followed the blessing of the trees, the Queen then pouring cider around a tree and toast being placed in the branches.

People then took part in the noisy part, the frightening away of the evil spirits.

One person used a wooden spoon and a black Mid Devon District Council recycling box to make lots of noise!

During the Brown Paper Bag Theatre Company Mummers Play.

Pots and pans were bashed and guns fired into the trees.

The village event is held in association with Sandford Orchards, the local cider producing company.

In the cider-producing counties of the South West and South East of England, wassailing refers to a traditional ceremony that involves singing and drinking the health of trees in the hope that they might better thrive. The wassail in Sandford was revived in 2011.

The Brown Paper Bag Theatre Company staged a very funny mummer’s play after the proceedings.

About 200 people attended the event and it concluded with a bonfire.

Afterwards, The Lamb Inn served hot drinks and mulled cider and from 8.30pm, Wassail Traditional Folk Songs and others were sung in the Dowrich Room.

Wassailing is a pagan tradition dating back to medieval times and the word wassail comes from the Viking term “waes hail” for “good health”.

The bonfire just getting going at Sandford Wassail. Video by Alan Quick