Misjudged dress: Ahoy there WI mateys, tha’s no olde time pirate


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The Independent Online

Members of a Women’s Institute who thought it would be fun to dress up as pirates for a meeting were left feeling embarrassed when their light-hearted gesture went wrong.

Women from the Parkham WI in North Devon dug out bandanas and eye patches, and even accessorised their outfits with plastic cutlasses, to greet guest speaker Colin Darch.

Unfortunately, it soon transpired that Mr Darch was in fact a sailor who was kidnapped by Somali pirates in 2008 and held hostage for 47 days.

“There he was delivering this harrowing story about how he was held hostage and feared for his life, and we were all sitting there dressed as Captain Hook,” Stephanie George, the group’s treasurer, told the North Devon Journal. “It was a bit different to our usual prettiest tin competition or the flower or the month.”

Mr Darch, however, wasn’t upset by the mix-up.

“Of course I didn’t take offence or mind. It was more like the Pirates of Penzance,” he told the North Devon Journal. “They were lovely ladies. They made me judge who was the best dressed, which was a difficult choice. In the end, I decided to choose the one who had a fluffy parrot on her shoulder. Of course, there weren’t any parrots near the real pirates.”