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Swanton Morley celebrates US connection

PUBLISHED: 12:40 08 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:17 07 July 2010

A village celebrated its historic links to one of the greatest US presidents with a sun-drenched American-themed carnival on Independence Day.

Swanton Morley was home to the ancestors of Abraham Lincoln before a branch of the family set sail for the New World and the village has been commemorating the 200th anniversary of the president's birth this year.

A village celebrated its historic links to one of the greatest US presidents with a sun-drenched American-themed carnival on Independence Day.

Swanton Morley was home to the ancestors of Abraham Lincoln before a branch of the family set sail for the New World and the village has been commemorating the 200th anniversary of the president's birth this year.

And with the date of the carnival fittingly falling on July 4, there were a host of American costumes on show as a colourful procession stretched from Bennett Road to the village hall in Saturday's glorious sunshine.

Community groups and sports clubs filled their floats with characters including the Statue of Liberty, astronauts, cowboys and frontier families - with plenty of iconic top hats and beards also being worn in honour of the 16th president of the United States.

Parish council chairman Roger Atterwill led the procession on horseback dressed as a Red Indian chief, astride a magnificent white steed named Friday.

“Just call me Sitting Bull,” he said. “We've got the American theme going and it is lovely to see so many people come out and support our village on such a wonderful day.”

The parade of floats included a truckload of cheerleaders from the Swanton Morley Entertainers surrounded by the stars and stripes with a backdrop of Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

Group member Mark Booth was one of the many Lincoln-impersonators on the procession. He said: “The outfit was put together this morning, but it feels pretty good. I would recite the Gettysburg Address on the way round if I could remember it.”

Swanton Morley Bowls Club members celebrated their 50th anniversary in the company of a costumed hero of their own in Sir Francis Drake, who famously refused to stop a bowls match before defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588.

t The Lincoln family links are equally strong with the village of Hingham, which will celebrate its Lincoln Festival this weekend with a battle re-enactment and parade by the American Civil War Society.

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