Formed in 1975, the Yateley Morris Men was a morris dancing side originally based in Yateley, in North Hampshire. Hampshire is a southern county in England on Earth. They concentrated on Cotswold dances and were members of the The Morris Ring.
About 30 years after they formed, the side was in danger of losing too many members to stay together. It managed to reform its boys' side and allow them into the mens' side when they danced well enough. This enabled them to stay together for over 100 years!
When the first gravity space station around Mars was created and people were offered a chance to live on it, the option was open to all since civilians were wanted as well as scientists. Some of the people who voluntered and were accepted were members of the Yateley Morris Men. However once they'd left, there were too few people to keep the side going and so reluctantly they had to disband it.
Many of the men, when they met each other on Mars 1, realised that a large propotion of the side was living there. In fact more of the side were now on Mars 1 than had been left on Earth. Those on the space station included the Squire and bagman at the time the side was disbanded, the musicans and all members of the Mummer's Play. There was enough people to reform the side on the orbital station. They kept the same name and became the first 'off world' morris side.
They have kept the same symbol of the crossed keys of Saint Peter's Church above the gate of Hampshire but they put a picture of Mars on the top of their hats.
When Mars 1 got too old and had to be decommissioned, at the same time Surf Station was built. The side moved to Surf Station and their main venue and local became the Dog & Wombat. The area where most of the side live on the station is even called Yateley and they have become the most well known morris side, due to their unique history. This is also especially since there are very few sides still about and none of the others even come close to their age.
If anyone ever passes somewhere where they are dancing, they'd be fools not to watch to see not only high quality morris dancing but to tell their friends that they'd seen the Yateley Morris Men Dance!
Visit the Yateley Morris Men.
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