We’re ready for the Knutsford Promenades!

Soldier in Old Town HallThe final rehearsals have taken place, The Universal Soldier is in town, and a vast array of props, from banner flags to hobby horses, have been created by Knutsfordians ready for Saturday’s Knutsford Promenades.

The Knutsford Promenades starts at 3pm outside The Old Town Hall when Russell Kirk, creator of The Universal Soldier and a band of helpers, will bring the puppet to life. Accompanied by a wide range of Promenaders – some primary school children with the flotilla of small ships they created during special workshops, others riding their hobby horses; nurses and members of the Women’s League carrying cups of tea; and banner flag wavers – The Universal Soldier will launch the first event, a performance of ‘Texts from the Front’.

Taking place in St John’s Church, this original mini-opera is based on memories of local people on the theme of conflict and reconciliation transformed by children from Bexton, Egerton and Manor Park Primary Schools and created by Manchester Camerata.

From there the action moves along Princess Street, Silk Mill Street and Regent Street where the mini-dramas are performed interspersed with music and song from Knutsford Youth Orchestra, SMB Dance, The Tatton Singers, WAKS Lyrical and Spitting Feathers.

In the evening, the finale starts when The Universal Soldier ‘marches’ to Canute Place at 6.30pm. There will be a reprise of the afternoon’s entertainment as well as music from Roberts Bakery Band followed by the ‘Knutsford Reflects’ finale.

“We are delighted to be welcoming some very special guests to Knutsford on Saturday,” said Sarah Flannery, co-organiser.

“But above all we want the people of Knutsford to enjoy this community street festival which is free to all to attend, suitable for all ages, with 350 people taking part!”

Canute Place and Princess Street will be closed from 8am on Saturday to allow Event Buddha to set up two stages. The Silk Mill Street and Princess Street car parks will not be accessible but the Knutsford Scouts, by kind permission of Tatton Estate, will be running an overflow car park on the big Heath from 12.30pm.

“We hope businesses are ‘Proms ready’ and will be making the most of supporting the Promenades by dressing their premises, putting extra chairs and tables outside their premises, and generally offering visitors a very warm welcome,” said Sarah.


Knutsford Promenades, the build-up on Storify


The Arrival of The Universal Soldier – video by Studio@Knutsford


Welcome The Universal Soldier to Knutsford town centre

The scene outside the Old Town Hall during the Knutsford Promenades 2014.
The scene outside the Old Town Hall during the Knutsford Promenades 2014.

Join the Knutsford Promenades team on Friday 26 June at 2pm as we welcome The Universal Soldier to Knutsford town centre.

Fresh from his sojourn at Booths Park, the soldier will be transported to the Old Town Hall on Princess Street, Knutsford, where he will be greeted by students from the Knutsford Academy who will perform poems and songs.

Academy students, led by two of the school’s musicians, will draw Friday shoppers towards the Old Town Hall. They will play a selection of melodies.

Other students who have written poems called ‘The Soldier’ will be positioned along the top end of Princess Street and read out their poems.

For the finale, Knutsford Academy musicians will lead the singing of well-known numbers such as ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

The Universal Soldier will take up residence in the window of the Old Town Hall where he can see, and be seen, by Knutsfordians and visitors going about their business between then and the Knutsford Promenades on Saturday 4 July – do give him a wave if you are passing!


Universal Soldier has first class arrival into Knutsford ahead of Proms

Knutsford Guardian US arrivalTRAVELLERS on Monday’s Chester to Knutsford train got the first opportunity to meet The Universal Soldier, the leading man in this year’s Knutsford Promenades.

Created by renowned Chester artist Russell Kirk, the soldier remained under wraps before making the journey to his new home town of Knutsford.

He was greeted at Knutsford station by the ladies of Brook Street Chapel dressed as nurses and members of the Women’s League.

“We are taking part in the procession as part of the Knutsford Promenades and when we heard The Universal Soldier was coming to Knutsford on the train we thought we should welcome him with a cup of tea,” said Beulah Cornes.

“The Brook Street Chapel rooms were used as a place where soldiers on leave or recuperating could come for a cup of tea, something to eat, or play cards, so it was lovely to share a piece of our history in this way.”

The Universal Soldier will lead the Knutsford Promenades on Saturday, July 4 as master of ceremonies.

“It was great to see the Universal Soldier attracting such fantastic attention,” said Promenades co-organiser Sarah Flannery, who was among the group travelling on the train.

“He clearly enjoyed his journey from Chester to Knutsford and we are very grateful to Northern Rail and the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association for making his travel arrangements.

“Seeing the welcoming party at Knutsford station was fantastic – it was especially fitting that Brook Street Chapel who provided care for our soldiers during wartime were on hand today with a cup of tea for our soldier.”

The Universal Soldier is now, thanks to sponsors Bruntwood, resting at Booths Park One.

He will return to the town centre on Friday afternoon at 2pm before taking up residence in the Old Town. Hall, thanks to Tatton Estate Management, until the Knutsford Promenades on Saturday, July 4.

“We’d also like to thank Jake Nicol and Matt Stenhouse of Studio@Knutsford, part of the Knutsford Academy, who helped with our media coverage by videoing The Universal Soldier’s arrival at Knutsford – the results can be found on our YouTube channel,” said Julie Tempest, who handles the Knutsford Promenades PR and marketing.

Students from Knutsford Academy will celebrate his arrival at the Old Town Hall with poetry and song.

From Knutsford Guardian. Photo courtesy Knutsford Guardian


Next stop, Booths Park

IMG_2509.JPGAfter enjoying his cup of tea at Knutsford station, The Universal Soldier moved on to Booths Park One where he is enjoying the bustle of office life in the reception area.

He will stay there until Friday 26 June when he moves back into Knutsford town centre. His new abode will be in the window of the Old Town Hall on Princess Street where he can see, and be seen, by Knutsfordians and visitors going about their business between then and the Knutsford Promenades on Saturday 4 July – do give him a wave if you are passing!



The train now arriving at Knutsford………




The Universal Soldier’s journey continues from Chester to Knutsford




The Universal Soldier leaves his Chester ‘birthplace’

Created by artist  Russell Kirk in his Chester Studio, The Universal Soldier had to travel across Cheshire to reach Knutsford. Here’s the first part of the journey in pictures.



The Tatton Singers on Saturday 4 July

  Sopranos Altos Tenor Bass
1 Rosemary Beeson Christine Armstrong Paul Beswick Mike Howard
2 Anne Bithell Celia Elliott Tim Cain Bruce Marriott
3 Ann Cain Kathleen Gregory Bob Foster David McGarvey
4 Sue Elves Joy Jones Richard Gregory Tom McLean
5 Karen Foster Daphne Manning Peter Wainwright Tony Smith
6 Ailsa Keenan Carolyn Osborne Tony Wakefield James Wyllie
7 Lucy Kitcher Tanya Snelgrove Tony Wood David Walker
8 Susan Moore Sue Williams John Galligan Ian Philps
9 Nell Napier Pam Taylor   Michael Sellors
10 Bernice Philps Sue Trevelyn   Glyn Roberts
11 Jen Pound      
12 Phoebe Wainwright      
13 Hannah Gregory      
14 Sonja Gregory      
15 Jill Dobson      
16 Kirsty Thorpe