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Bog snorkelling puts its stamp on people’s post

Mid Wales | Mid Wales entertainment | Published:

A set of special stamps celebrating the UK’s curious customs and festivals – including Llanwrtyd Wells’ bog snorkelling event - has been issued.

The Royal Mail has revealed eight colourful and engaging illustrations, depicting and capturing the spirit of well-known, and some not so well-known, annual customs that take place around the UK.

Many of these customs involve dancing, singing, dressing up and – literally – playing with fire.

The complete set of stamps celebrating the UK's curious customs and festivals

The curious customs depicted on the stamps are bog snorkelling in Llanwrtyd Wells, the Horn Dance in Abbot’s Bromley in Staffordshire, burning the clocks in Brighton, ‘Obby ‘Oss in Padstow, the World Gurning Championship in Egremont, Up Helly Aa in Lerwick, cheese Rolling, at Cooper’s Hill, Brockworth, Halloween at Derry/Londonderry.

Bog snorkelling at Llanwrtyd Wells was first held in 1976. The event involves contestants going across and back through a water-filled trench in a peat bog, with the fastest being the winner. Competitors from all over the world travel to take part. Snorkels are essential as participants must remain submerged and only use flippers to propel themselves.

A competitor in the World Bog Snorkelling Championships

The 34th annual World Bog Snorkelling Championships are to be held on Sunday, August 25, 2019.

Director of Green Events at Llanwrtyd Wells, Bob Greenough, said: “They are pretty impressive. I knew about it over a year ago but I was sworn to secrecy and then I forgot when they were coming out.

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“We are pleased to have some recognition and free publicity – its another way of getting our message out and hopefully people will see the stamp, think what on earth is that, and find out more about the bog snorkelling.”

Philip Parker, Royal Mail, said: “Communities throughout the UK have been coming together for centuries to share distinctive traditions and mark key dates of the year. These customs continue to evolve, and our new stamps celebrate their diversity and the communities that maintain them.”

To accompany the stamp issue, Royal Mail commissioned a poem by performance poet, Matt Harvey. Entitled Customs and Exercise, the poem celebrates and commemorates the eight UK customs featured on the stamps.

Customs and Exercise by Matt Harvey

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No matter what the custom is

We’re accomplices, not customers.

Magnificent participants in quirky endeavour

In curious costumes in inclement weather.

We’re guisers, we’re teasers, we’re chasers of cheeses

Boat-builders, clock burners, we’re vampires, we’re gurners.

We’re match-striking Vikings, we’re antler-lockers

‘Obby ‘Oss swoopers, Elfan safety snook-cockers.

We’re Cheerleaders, chortlers, we’re snorkelers, bog-sodden

We’re Ghouls in cagoules, fools ancient and modern.

It’s a dance with the past, it’s a craic, it’s a laugh.

Connection in every direction, belonging.

We might get a pint and an off-colour song in.

But what can get lost in the mist and missed in the fuss

Is that at the heart of all these customs

Is us.

The stamps are available from royalmail.com/curiouscustoms, by phone on 03457 641 641 and in 7,000 Post Offices throughout the UK.

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