It is with great sadness that the death of Rollo Geoffrey Woods, who died on 29th January 2018 at the age of 92 was announced. A thanksgiving service was held in Swanage URC on 9th February and a further celebratory event on 7th April 2018.
Much of his life was devoted to the folk arts. His grandparents were keen revivalist folk singers and his mother introduced him to English Country Dancing in 1937. He was Squire of the Cambridge Morris Men and played with William Kimber, Scan Tester, Stephen Baldwin and Bob Cann. He also contributed much of the music for Lionel Bacon's seminal "Handbook of Morris Dancing", known to all as the Black Book. He played for ceilidhs for over 60 years. He founded the first ceilidh band in Hampshire, the Black Glove Band, ran the Greenwood Tree in Swanage for 20 years and his last band, Maiden Oak, is still going today.
Rollo started researching West Gallery Music in 1972 after a chance discovery of manuscripts in Widdicombe in the Moor in Devon and it gradually became a consuming passion. He founded the Madding Crowd in 1975, The Purbeck Village Quire in 1989 and was a founder member of the West Gallery Music Association in 1990. He published several books on the subject. In 2015 he was awarded the gold badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society for a lifetime of work promoting the folk arts.
Many members of WCCP would remember Rollo from his attendance at the Kilve Residential Weekends, where he was an active member for many years.
(Extract from Obituary by Owen Woods published in ICA Concertina World - March 2018)