Parkham WI dress up as pirates again with Captain Colin Darch

A NORTH Devon WI group, who shot to fame after embarrassingly dressing as pirates for a talk being given by a former Somali pirate hostage, have donned eye patches and cutlasses again to raise money for charity.

Members of Parkham WI became internet sensations in May after they dressed up as pirates for their monthly meeting in April for a talk they thought was about piracy.

What they hadn’t realised was that Captain Colin Darch, who was giving the talk, had been held hostage by Somali pirates in 2008.

Stephanie George, the treasurer for the WI group, suggested they dress up for the talk on pirates.

At the time she said: “I suggested we dress up as I suspected it was a general talk about piracy or something to do with the Appledore Pirates, the fundraising group.

“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.

“It was a bit different to our usual prettiest tin competition or the flower or the month. At our meeting this month we are having a baby picture competition.

“I don’t know who was scarier for Captain Darch – us dressed up as pirates or the real Somali pirates.”

Captain Darch said at the time: “Of course I didn’t take offence or mind. It was more like the Pirates of Penzance.

“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.”

Now the WI members and Captain Darch have met again for a photo shoot to produce four greetings cards and hope to use their fame to raise money for the RNLI.

Lynne Lane, the chairman of the group, said: “We were thinking of doing a calendar, but it is seasonal and we thought cards will sell for longer.

“We thought if we are going to do it we needed to do it properly so our outfits have got better than the first time. It has taken a lot of organisation.

“We still can’t believe it all happened.”

The Journal’s story on the Parkham WI Pirates was published online on May 2 and within a few hours the story had over 75,000 views.

The following day the story appeared in The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Sun, The Guardian, Metro, The Independent, Huffington Post, NBC News, CBS News and BBC World.

Since May the group has been offered theatre tickets in London, they have been contacted by the national WI group to be congratulated and they found out the story even reached people in Vietnam.

In total the original story on the Journal website has attracted 148,919 page views.


For the original story and to see video of the ladies in action, please click here for the original source.