Arrgh! U.K. women's group sorry about pirate costume blunder

Ladies of the Parkham Women's Institute in North Devon, England, pose with sea captain and writer Capt. Colin Darch. The Parkham WI had misinterpreted the context of the event and dressed up in eye patches and bandanas before learning Darch was coming to talk about his time held hostage by real Somali Pirates SWNS

A women's institute in a small English village says they arrrrr really embarrassed after members dressed up in eye patches and bandanas for a talk by a former sea captain who was held hostage by Somali pirates for several weeks.

According to the local North Devon Journal, the ladies of Parkham Women's Institute (WI) said they thought they were going to be given a talk about piracy on April 11 and decided to wear costumes in the spirit of the topic. It wasn't until Captain Colin Darch arrived, however, that they realized their mistake.

"The speaker at the April meeting was Captain Colin Darch, who talked about piracy," reads the report on the meeting. "Embarrassingly the WI all dressed as pirates for the evening not realising that Captain Darch was going to be talking about his experience of being held hostage by Somalia Pirates rather than piracy in general."

"However once this had been gotten over everyone sat down to listen to Captain Darch's story and what a story it was," the report continued.

Parkham WI is used to hosting lighter events, like baby picture competitions and flower of the month, the North Devon Journal reports. Treasurer Stephanie George, 54, told the paper the costumes were her idea.

When she realized her misinterpretation, she said she felt awful.

Darch found the entire thing rather amusing and didn't take offense. As the picture above shows, he was a very good sport.

"They were lovely ladies. They made me judge who was the best dressed, which was a difficult choice," he told the paper. "In the end I decided to choose the one with who had a fluffy parrot on her shoulder. Of course there weren't any parrots near the real pirates."

George said she thought Darch's harrowing tale was fascinating. "I don't know who was scarier for Captain Darch -- us dressed up as pirates or the real Somali pirates."

Darch was in town to publicize his book, "Capture By Somali Pirates & Other Events at Sea 1954-2010."

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