This year’s Bridport Wassail celebrations are just around the corner.

Bridport Community Orchard Group is presenting this year’s festivities at St Mary’s Field Orchard, just off South Street on Sunday, January 14 from 2pm.

The tradition of Wassailing is a custom performed by the cider producers of the west of England and refers to drinking and singing the health of trees in the hope they may better thrive.

The purpose is to awake the cider apple trees and scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the autumn.

A spokesperson for the event said: “The Wassail will see the crowning of a Wassail King and Queen, blessing the trees with bread and cider and making some noise.

“Bring a drum, trumpet, pan lids or anything noisy to ward off any bad spirits.”

“The wassailing will be led by Martin Maudsley supported by Wyld Morris and others.

“Cider will be on sale and cash donations are suggested for delicious hot apple juice from last summer’s crop. There will also be other hot drinks and some tasty bakes of course.

“Come and enjoy seeing old friends and make some new ones at the wonderful Community Orchard.”

Alison Todd, a committee member at the Orchard who helps run the event added: "It one of the shorter events we do - about an hour and a half.

"We do it to scare away the bad spirits from the orchard to have a good crop and it was traditionally done by cidermakers.

"We do hot spiced apple juice and apple juice and just have a merry time.

"The tradition is they have bread soaked in cider and it is put on the trees, and we get all the kids together to bless the trees.

"We get lots of families come along. Last year it was raining but we had 200 people it is a lot of family fun - I would expect similar numbers this year.

"We also run other community events. We have one in May which is called May Fest to celebrate the spring, which has more activities for children."

The orchard will also be holding its annual general meeting on January 24 at Mountfield House from 7pm