Wil Walker, Squire, Dolphin Morris Men writes
It is with sadness that we announce the passing of founder member and second Squire (1971-73), JB, who died suddenly on 6 May 2017, age 70. He was one of Dolphin's characters and, despite living in The Lake District for much of his latter life, he was always a Dolphin and frequently joined us to perform.
His introduction to Dolphin was during the first weeks of its existence in January 1968. Allegedly poached from an EFDSS social dance night next door (where, on his own admission, he had gone in search of “crumpet”!), he was persuaded to join the nascent side on meeting the guys after practice in the Dolphin pub in Nottingham (whence we took our name). By all accounts he took to the morris with great enthusiasm, Dolphin style under his squire-ship being described as “con brio” and “taking no prisoners”. As one of our side told me, “…if your hat blew off in a dance you'd be better to pick it up quickly or most likely it would get trodden on - there were some very mangled hats worn in those days!” In one famous incident, he “flattened with one blow a skinhead who was intruding into the set during a dance…and never broke step while doing it!”
He stopped dancing regularly with the side when work took him away from Nottingham in the mid-70s, but he always remained in touch. He joined other sides where he subsequently lived, including Banchory in Scotland and Furness when in Cumbria.
In the last 10 years or so he renewed active service with Dolphin as a regular attender at Ring Meetings and other weekend events, travelling down from Cumbria in one of his idiosyncratic sports cars. He was always excellent company on these jaunts and had a great fund of anecdotes of the different scrapes and amusing situations he got into in his wide-ranging life. His repertoire of humorous songs and recitations was the stuff of legend. We will miss him greatly.
14 Dolphins were privileged to be a part of the celebration of the life of John Baxter in Cumbria on May 18th 2017. Together with his wonderful family, and friends from so many walks of life, we enjoyed a day of celebration and joy for the life of a man who clearly contributed so much to the lives of all who were honoured to have known him. There were songs, there were poems, there were stories, there was beer and sunshine, there was laughter and fun. He would have been very proud.
In terms of the Morris, we performed one of his regular dittys (At the Rawstensall Annual Fair) at his formal celebration and a set of dances at the pub afterwards, including Shepherd's Hey (requested by his daughter Kathy) and The Whitehaven Volunteer, a Fieldtown skirmish dance done to this tune simply because it was always JB's preferred tune for this dance.
His repertoire of songs and monologues was vast and we will try to keep performing as many as we can in his honour.
You will be missed, JB, but definitely not forgotten!