THIS summer Knutsford has attracted many visitors to the town to enjoy such events as the Lions Fair, the Beer Festival and the Knutsford Promenades, and visitors must have been impressed by the magnificent floral displays on show everywhere.
So many thanks to participating businesses as well as special thanks to Yvonne Bancroft and her band of volunteers at Knutsford in Bloom for their hard work in providing many of the displays which go make our town so attractive to both residents and visitors alike.
A STROLL around town with a difference greeted the hundreds of people who joined in Saturday’s Knutsford Promenade.
Caroline Sherwin guided the tour of Knutsford which told the stories behind just some of the town’s historic buildings with drama, dance and song bringing the past to life.
Meanwhile King Street was the focal point for those who simply enjoyed the opportunity to browse round the shops and eat and drink al fresco.
In Waterstones, David Briggs, the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, UNICEF ambassador Martin Bell, Flight Lieutenant Liam McGuire, Tony Want and Travis Hardy read poetry from the First World War.
After Martin Bell delivered his rousing Ode to Knutsford, Roberts Bakery Band treated the crowd to a selection of toe-tapping classics.
Knutsford Promenades creator and co-organiser Sarah Flannery said: “One of the reasons that Knutsford is a destination town is because of our vibrant heritage and culture and the Promenades lets us celebrate this in new ways,” she said.
“The weather – against all odds – was wonderful.
“So many people helped to either perform, read or add to the atmosphere by dressing up. I’d like to thank my co-organisers Julie Tempest and Robert Meadows.
“Caroline Sherwin not only led the Promenade but also helped select the WW1 poetry for the reading in Waterstones, Clare Pye of Tabey House shared her expert knowledge of Georgian history, the Lions helped to marshal, Geoff Holman gave a wonderful performance as The Gaoler, the dancers from SMB Dance entertained, and LiPA and ActorTribe’s students added to the story-telling and performance mix.
“Tony Davies and the Territorial Living History Group helped add authenticity to the elements we included that commemorated the centenary of the start of WW1 and the Knutsford men – we were really honoured that David Briggs, Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, Martin Bell, UNICEF ambassador and former BBC war reporter,Tony Want, Royal British Legion and Flt Lt Liam McGuire contributed to this.
“And after a finale that included the Mayor’s address, Martin Bell reading his specially-written Ode to Knutsford and the simply wonderful Roberts Bakery Band, it was a relief to change out of my very heavy – and very pink – Victorian-style outfit!”
Sarah Peak of the Cheese Yard said the promenade was a great event for the local community.
“The atmosphere on King Street by Cotton Shop Yard was vibrant with an outdoor eating and drinking area whilst people watched the entertainment,” she added.
Old Sessions House chef patron David Mooney entertained with a cooking masterclass based on rabbit and allotment vegetables.
“It was a joy to behold generations of people enjoying the street theatre of the Promenades,” David said.
“That it was staged by people who care about the past, but more importantly the future of our town shone through the whole event. Great scenes, great vibe, fabulous weather – the team from the Old Sessions House were so proud to contribute on a great Knutsford day!”
LORD Lieutenant David Briggs said the Knutsford Promenade was a special community event.
“With its focus on the Commemoration of the start of World War One, it really brought home how every street in the country was affected by the War,” he said.
“Amongst the residents of King Street ten people lost their lives.
“Standing in the middle of the street which has in many ways changed so little in the last 100 years and realising that this tragedy had happened to people in this one street somehow really brought the horror of the war to reality.”
Martin Bell said it was such a pleasure to return to Knutsford for the Promenades.
“Nowhere else does anything like it,” the former MP for Tatton said.
“It was a very nostalgic occasion for me. The band was terrific. And I had the honour of reciting.my ‘Ode to Knutsford’.”
Knutsford Town Mayor Clr Neil Forbes said the Promenade was ‘a wonderful blend of culture, history, entertainment, tribute and fun’.
“A Promenade alone would have been fun but it was the readings, tableaux and performances which made it so special and unique,” Clr Forbes said.
“Thanks go to the organisers, all those who have taken part and embraced the spirit of the Promenades both residents and businesses alike; and to all the performers for time spent practicing, rehearsing and planning for the event.”
GUSTO on King Street will be taking part in the Promenades on Saturday after having a little bit of help from youngsters at Poppies Day Nursery.
The restaurant is staging ‘Al Fresco’ outside dining as well as a poppy First World War floral display from fellow town business Knutsford Bloom.
Poppies day Nursery was asked to help the restaurant to make some poppies for the display.
Stef Meachin, business development manager, at the restaurant, said: “We are delighted that the children at Poppies Day Nursery, are helping to create some beautiful paintings to add to our World War One display ready for the Knutsford promenades.
“Gusto will have al fresco dining for this special occasion and the children’s paintings and names will be displayed on the front of the restaurant so that the children can point out there work.”
ORGANISERS have told the Guardian everything is in place for Saturday’s Knutsford Promenade.
“So much energy and enthusiasm has been poured into this event by so many,” said co-organiser Sarah Flannery.
“Now all we have left to do is keep our fingers crossed for great weather and a terrific turnout to help celebrate and commemorate the town’s heritage.
“We hope people will leave plenty of time before and after the Promenade to enjoy Knutsford’s fantastic eating and shopping experience as so many of the towns traders, bars, cafes and restaurants have made the effort to do something special for the Promenade.”
Dave Mooney, chef patron of the Old Sessions House, is one business backing the Promenade.
“As one of Knutsford’s longing serving business owners, I’m delighted to be able to help further the great events that take place in our lovely corner of Cheshire,” said Dave, who will be giving a cookery demonstration featuring local produce.
“Keeping the war theme, I’ll be cooking some fabulous Cheshire rabbit with allotment summer vegetables and I’m sure there will be room in the recipe for some of Tatton Ales stonking beer!
“I’m looking forward to catching up with many of the people I’ve met in my 40 year sojourn in Knutsford – it will be a blast.”
Adding a sweet touch to the Promenade are Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe who will be dressing up and handing out traditional British sweets to the crowds; and The Candy Workshop who are taking an American GI approach to the day with special sweet rations.
Andy Gough is bringing his 1942 Ford GPW Willy Jeep to the Promenade. It’s most recent appearance was in Normandy at the 70th anniversary of the D Day landings.
A group of residents from the Mount Pleasant nursing home in Allostock will be dressing in red, white and blue as they plan take part in the community singing during the finale.
“Many of the residents remember being in World War Two and have lots of memories, said the home’s events organiser Lucy Meggitt.
“It’s also very touching to know that most of their parents were involved with World War One. They also don’t make songs like they used to so we absolutely can’t wait to have a good sing song!”
The Knutsford Promenade begins at 4.30pm from the Royal George archway.
But the fun begins from 4pm as King Street is transformed into a giant street party.