DONALD Chump, armed with a gun and a frying pan, went head-to-head with King Alfred in a battle of wits, cunning and utter nonsense.

The blond bombshell from across the pond was guest of honour in this year's Wantage Mummers Play as it toured the south of Oxfordshire on Monday.

The anonymous band of anarchist actors, who are rumoured to have very close ties to Icknield Way Morris Men, brought their pantomime pastiche to Faringdon, Wantage, and – in a very special performance – the village of Childrey in between.

The masked men, who this year celebrate their 40th anniversary together, have always visited the two towns and the village, but this year their stop at Childrey was thrown into doubt after the village pub The Hatchet closed its doors.

Villagers worried that, without somewhere to quench their mighty thirst after the bizarre battle, the Mummers might think twice about visiting.

So, to lure the ludicrous lot back to Childrey once more, villagers put on a pop-up pub at their village hall, complete with barrels of beer and sacks of snacks, which seemed enough to entice the players.

The bizarre tradition, which traces its roots back to the early 18th century, is somewhere between a panto and Morris dancing.

It always features a cast of unusual characters including Napoleon, King Alfred and 'Old Father Beelzebub' and includes an imaginary battle between King Alfred and Napoleon, after which each of them has to be healed first by a real doctor then a quack.

Performances always end with a satirical poem looking back over the topical events of the year which, in 2016, did not require too much imagination.

The Wantage Mummers always collect donations for charity and over the years have raised more than £19,000 for good causes.

The hugely popular show always attracts crowds of hundreds on Boxing Day as it tours around Faringdon, Wantage and Childrey.

To mark their 40th anniversary they have published a book entitled 'In Comes I – Forty Years of the Wantage Mummers' which they are selling to raise money for charity.

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