Photo: Paul Avison

Willaston Christmas Traditions

Willaston Christmas Traditions

Carols on the Green

On 19th December 1967, the first Carols on the Green event was organised by the former Hadlow Green WI.

The Hadlow Green WI minutes on 5th July 1967 record that “Mr Williams [Hadlow Green WI choir master] had asked Mrs Neal [President] if the Choir could give a recital and also if some of the husbands could attend. It was decided to ask Mr Williams in December and offer him approximately half an hour.”  A personal diary records about the event: ‘It was a fine winter’s evening & the suggestion to gather outside Willaston Memorial Hall [where Hadlow Green WI met on the 1st Tuesday of every month] to sing Christmas Carols was much enjoyed by all.’

In 1968, it was reported that about 300 people had attended in not very good weather. (Hadlow Green WI minutes).

People remember that in the 1970’s, there were barrels with fires to stand around and tomato soup was served along with hot dogs and jacket potatoes.  The Salvation Army Band would accompany the carols.

For several years, the 1st Willaston Girl Guides set a nativity scene for Carols on the Green.  The press cutting below shows Sally Legg dressed as Mary on the donkey, which was led by Ruth Macdonald.  Their arrival was met by all the children singing ‘Away in a Manger’.

In 1995, a Hadlow Green WI press release stated that ‘”The Salvation Army Band, and also the Morris Dancers are joining us for Carols on the Green on 19th Dec at 7pm. Hot soup etc. will be available. This is an annual event we all look forward to, and we hope for a fine evening!”

2013 – The tradition was continued by Willastonhey WI when Hadlow Green WI ceased.

2017 – The 50th anniversary of Carols on the Green was celebrated, accompanied by members of the Birkenhead School Brass Band.

50th Anniversary of Carols on the Green - photo: Martin Eves
Carols on the Green, 17th December 2019

2020 – Sadly there was no Carols on the Green because of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Boxing Day: Hunt, Fancy Dress Football and Mersey Morris Men

The ‘Royal Rock Beagles’ would gather on the village Green on Boxing Day.

People would meet on the Green and either walk with the hounds or wander up to the Recreation Ground to watch fancy dress football.  The Royal Rock Beagles were founded in 1845 in Rock Ferry and for a long time was the oldest beagle pack in the UK.

Many thanks to Janet Leece for these photos of the Royal Rock Beagles on Boxing Day 1968

The Beagles meet on the Green on Boxing Day 1968
Setting off...
Following the Beagles across the fields

Mersey Morris Men

When the hunt ceased, the Mersey Morris Men began performing on the Green on Boxing Day.

Their first performance was in 1992 (although this may originally have been during Carols on the Green, rather than a separate Boxing Day performance) and has continued ever since. For an account of the performances by the Mersey Morris Men, click on the document below.

Santa In Willaston


White horse pulling Father Christmas on a sleigh on Neston Road

Photo: Yesterday’s East Wirral by Ian Boumphrey

Santa has visited Willaston for at least 60 years. Visits have been organised by local Rotary Clubs – initially Heswall Rotary then Neston Rotary and now Willaston and South Wirral Rotary.

People remember that they used to put their letter into Santa’s sack.

(Photo from Willaston and South Wirral Rotary Club Facebook page December 2021)

Since 2015, Friends of Hadlow Road Station have turned the signal box into Santa’s Grotto

For information on the lights on the tree on the village green and the annual switch on, click here.


Page updated on 28th November 2023

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