The sole financial purpose for the existence of the Abram Pace Eggers is to provide the funding to enable the annual Abram Morris Dance to take place on the last Saturday in June. Of course, we really enjoy doing it otherwise we wouldn't have kept it up every Easter since 1984. Over that time there have been a few cast changes that have allowed the play to develop organically. Like my grandfather's hammer that's had two new handles and a new head since it was bought we're still using the same script that we started with two decades ago! And it's not just the ad-libs that have been absorbed into the play. Costumes, props and weaponry have all added to the current play. In 2003, our twentieth year, Hector appeared with a new sword that had built-in electronic sound effects. The Doctor (Dave Wynn) and I were propping up the bar before moving on to the next pub and were joking about the new sword with its Special Effects and that maybe we should introduce Stunt Men for the fight scenes and have personal dressers and make up artists. We even joked about having an Oscar style awards ceremony for best Actor, best Special Effects and so on. And so...
At the conclusion of the annual Morris Dance every year we have a meal in the Dover Lock pub, and after the meal it is customary for me to present those who have performed for 10 years with an engraved hip flask and those who have made it to 20 years with an engraved pocket watch. I also take the opportunity to thank everyone who has helped make the day a success including the Pace Eggers for raising the money. In 2003, on the occasion of our twentieth year, unknown to the rest of the team, and as a result of the jokes with Dave Wynn, I had organised a spoof awards ceremony called "The Golden Egg Awards". During the day, I had surreptitiously been handing out sealed envelopes to selected "presenters" with the nominations for various categories printed on them and containing the name of the winner on a card inside.
The categories included Best Make Up, Best Music, Best Costume, Best Special Effect, Best Performance in a Medical Drama and so on. By a strange coincidence every member of the cast won a category and was presented with a gold painted hard boiled egg in a glass, goblet shaped egg cup. The award for "Overacting" was presented by Eddie Cass who had supported both the Pace Eggers and the Morris Dancers for several years and had even been our "King" the previous year.
The awards were a great success, both as a bit of after dinner fun but also as a tangible way of thanking the Pace Eggers for their efforts. The awards were also appreciated by the recipients, who displayed them in their homes in a variety of appropriate locations!
The "Golden Eggs" had been intended to be a one-off for the twentieth year but twenty-one's a pretty significant year too. However, I doubted that another drawn out presentation of several awards would be as successful as the original joke, especially as a guest Morris team would join us for the first time and they would not be aware of the history. Also, the greater numbers at the evening meal meant that it would have to be held in a more informal setting rather than be a sit down "knife and fork" do.
Despite this, I still felt a small awards ceremony could be fitted in, partly as entertainment for our guests so a small golden Oscar style statuette was purchased which would be presented to the "Pace Egger of the Year". The nominations were based on anything we could make a joke of, such as one of the cast consistently failing to get his lines right, and the award was presented by the Squire of Kirtlington Morris. Unfortunately, the recipient of the award was unable to be present (in true awards ceremony fashion) and so the award was received on his behalf by another member of the cast who made an appropriately emotional acceptance speech.
Obviously we couldn't call it an Oscar, so in recognition of his continued support for the Abram team this prestigious award is known as the "Eddie" and will be awarded annually to the Pace Egger of the Year by Dr Eddie Cass (and now he's got the problem of deciding who gets it and why!)