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At the heart of English folk

Gold Badges 2018 celebrate excellence in folk culture

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has announced four new recipients of its highest award, the Gold Badge.

Gold Badges are presented for unique or outstanding contributions to folk music, dance or song, distinguished service to EFDSS and/or exceptional contributions to EFDSS’ work.


Gold Badges for 2018 will be awarded to:

  • Frankie Armstrong, one of the outstanding singers of the folk music revival in Britain.
  • John Bacon, morris dancer and organiser.
  • Antony Heywood, preserver, teacher and advocate of folk dance.
  • Vic Legg, ambassador of traveller traditions in singing and dance.

They join an illustrious list of Gold Badge holders including EFDSS founder and pioneering folk-song collector Cecil Sharp (1923), composer and collector Ralph Vaughan Williams (1943), performer/writer AL Lloyd (1975), Ewan MacColl (1987), Peggy Seeger (1987), EFDSS President Shirley Collins (2003) and Vice President Eliza Carthy (2007).

“All of this year’s recipients have played important roles in a wide range of interests across the folk arts. They have helped to inspire, to support and to inform generations of folk artists and enthusiasts, making significant contributions to traditional English folk arts. We are delighted to recognize them with these prestigious awards.” 

Lorna Aizlewood, Chair of the EFDSS Board

Find out more about the EFDSS Gold Badge

Frankie Armstrong is one of the outstanding singers of the folk music revival in Britain. She was a member of the Critics Group and has tackled traditional, newly composed and experimental material. She has made nine solo albums and featured on numerous other recordings. She has also written extensively, contributing chapters to 11 books alongside an autobiography. A key mover in the natural voice movement and the community choirs movement, she has developed singing workshops based on traditional styles. She has been a voice coach for theatrical groups, including at the National Theatre for 18 years.

John Bacon was the first male President of the Morris Federation and remains active in Ditchling Morris, of which he was a founder. He has served on the Board of EFDSS as well as being an advisor on all matters relating to buildings, in particular improving access to Cecil Sharp House. He was also a board member of SEFAN (South East Folk Arts Network) for many years, instigating and running the East Sussex Schools Dance Festival. He has been tireless in bringing the three Morris organisations and EFDSS closer together.

Antony Heywood has been active in traditional dance forms including morris and long sword, as well as English Country Dancing as a member of the Whirligigs Display team led by Marjorie Fennessy and of London Folk, which provided the core dancing at several Albert Hall Festivals. As a member of the Pat Shaw Legacy Group, he has edited and produced several books. He has taught English Country Dance in England, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany for over thirty years. His Dance Database contains more than 15,000 entries.

Vic Legg was born into the singing and step-dancing traveller tradition in Cornwall. In 1968 he co-founded Bodmin Folk Club, serving for many years as its chairman; Vic is still an active member and its de facto ambassador. He co-founded Trigg Morris Men in 1971, and in 1974 he was invited to join the Bodmin Wassailers. He was a member of the original recorded cast of Peter Bellamy’s ballad opera The Transports, and his solo recording I’ve Come To Sing A Song was released on CD in 2000.


National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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