Council gives £25,000 boost to community culture and arts group

(Back row, from left) Bexton Primary School headteacher Paul Dolan, Knutsord Promenades organisers Julie Tempest and Robert Meadows, Cheshire East Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones, Promenades originator Sarah Flannery and Tatton MP Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, alongside some Year 4 pupils (front) at Bexton Primary
(Back row, from left) Bexton Primary School headteacher Paul Dolan, Knutsord Promenades organisers Julie Tempest and Robert Meadows, Cheshire East Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones, Promenades originator Sarah Flannery and Tatton MP Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, alongside some Year 4 pupils (front) at Bexton Primary

Cheshire East Council has given a £25,000 boost to a local group which organises a key community arts and cultural event in Knutsford.

Councillor Leader Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, presented the cheque to the organisers of Knutsford Promenades during a visit to Bexton Primary School – and was joined by Chancellor of the Exchequer and local Tatton MP George Osborne.

Knutsford Promenades has now become a major arts and cultural event benefitting the town in many ways.

Presenting the cheque for £25,000, Cllr Jones said: “I was very pleased to visit the school to present this cheque.

“The Promenades in Knutsford provide a fantastic opportunity for people to enjoy our local culture and it is absolutely right that Cheshire East should be supporting local communities in this way. It’s their money and that is what it should go on.”

George Osborne said: “It is absolutely brilliant that Cheshire East has been able to find the money to support the Knutsford Promenades.

“It is a testament to the fact that Michael Jones and the Council run a tight ship and they use taxpayers’ money really well and they have been able to find, from their surplus, money to support great local projects like Knutsford Promenades.

“I took my kids to see it a couple of years ago and it is fantastic. It brings to life the history of the town and some of the great characters who have lived in Knutsford and in Cheshire. Organiser Sarah Flannery has done a brilliant job in bringing it all together.

“This grant funding will help to make sure we have a great show next year.”

Knutsford Promenades originator and organiser Sarah Flannery said: “As one of the project managers for the coming year, it is really going to transform the next year production.

“We’ve run the Knutsford Promenades for the last two years and this funding is going to enable us to respond to some of the overwhelmingly-positive feedback where, for example, people have asked for staged events in particular locations or particular sites, better sound systems for performers, better props and large-scale puppetry and the like.

“With this funding we are going to be able to look at not just the number of people involved and the originality of the performance pieces but also the quality of the performance pieces themselves, to end up with an event that should be fantastically entertaining and thought provoking for the residents and visitors to Knutsford.

“We are really grateful to Cheshire East Council and, of course, George Osborne and many, many other people who have supported the whole promenades journey, because the thing that is different about the promenades is that this is an event which is rooted in the history, heritage and memories of local people.

“We bring local stories to life using local people and all of the local arts and organisations and heritage organisations and, of course, the other advantage for the funding for next year is that we are going to be able to have professional performers and arts practitioners imparting their skills to improve the performance skills of the whole Knutsford Promenades company.”

Promenades organiser Robert Meadows added: “It was great to be there with some pupils from Bexton Primary School for this presentation, as it recognised that they are part of the network of young people from local schools and arts organisations that will be getting involved in devising and performing as part of Knutsford Promenades 2015.”


War stories invited to help inspire Knutsford Promenades 2015

Memory cafe posterPREPARATIONS for Knutsford Promenades 2015 are currently underway and organisers are seeking war-stories – old and new – to serve as its inspiration.

The theme for next year’s event is ‘Texts from the Front’ and organisers are keen for current and former members of the Armed Forces and Peace Keeping Corps to share their stories of serving from 1960s onwards.

For anyone who is interested in sharing their story, the promenades team will be running a ‘drop in’ cafe at the Knutsford Library on Thursday October 23 from 4pm to 7pm.

Promenades co-organiser Julie Tempest said: “Whilst the focus has been on collecting memories relating to World War One and World War Two, which will form a part of next year’s promenades, we are keen to collect more recent stories to create and inspire the performances which will comprise the 2015 event.

“We are looking for servicemen and servicewomen who served, for instance, during the Falklands War, the Gulf War, or were in the Army during the conflict in Northern Ireland; people who have worked in peace-keeping abroad, such as Cyprus; and people who have lived in an area affected by wars and military conflict; to share their stories with us.”

Val Dawson
Val Dawson

One Knutsford resident who is happy to share her stories of life as an Army wife in Germany in the 1960s is Val Dawson.

“We were an Army family from 1962 to the mid 1980s and both my sons were born in British Military Hospitals in Germany,” said Val.

“In 1968 we travelled through Germany to Berlin in the sealed military train with armed guards, which was daunting but quite exciting. Visiting Checkpoint Charlie and seeing the Berlin Wall was very emotional.

“Being stationed abroad at that time was very different – there was no internet so we’d have to write letters, and if we wanted to make a phone call we had to book a time.”

Val will be sharing more of her memories of that time, including her 1975 visit to Berlin when Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess had been moved to the British Military Hospital, where she and her family were visiting military personnel, at the drop in cafe later this month.

For more information about the drop in cafe, or to sign up for newsletters in the build up to the main event on July 4 2015, visit

From Knutsford Guardian


Join our Texts from the Front event!

Knutsford actor Geoff Holman in character at KP2014
Knutsford actor Geoff Holman in character at KP2014

Calling all actors, musicians, dancers, stage managers, set builders! Organisers would like to meet you to discuss how you can get involved in the Knutsford Promenades 2015.

The Promenades return to Knutsford on Saturday 4 July 2015 with the theme ‘Texts From The Front’.

There will be events in specific locations, some using large scale props, and an impressive finale. ‘Texts From the Front’ will use the memories of Knutsford people who have direct experience of conflict – and reconciliation – through involvement in the Armed Forces or through serving as a peace keeper abroad.

These memories will combined with local myths and historical research and performed through a variety of forms including music, song, dance, and large scale puppetry, bringing these local stories to life.

“We already have the support of local schools and arts organisations but need many more people from Knutsford to join our cast,” said Proms organiser Sarah Flannery. “We have an introduction evening on Tuesday 7 October at 6pm so get in touch for an invitation!”