(London Guardian) Women's Institute members wore joke eye patches, wigs and wooden legs to greet an old sea dog giving a talk on pirates.
They thought Colin Darch, 75, would regale them with tales of buccaneers such as Blackbeard and Captain Kidd.
But they got a sinking feeling when they realised the retired sea captain was there to tell of his 47-day ordeal at the hands of brutal Somali pirates.
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Stephanie George, of the 21-member Parkham WI in Devon, said: "We didn't know much about him but the notes said he was Captain Darch and he was talking about piracy.
"I thought he was from a local fundraising group who dress up as pirates to raise money for charity.
"Naturally everyone was aghast when we realised our mistake.