The Town Mayor wears a santa hat and mayoral chain in front of a group of local traders

It’s a wrap on town centre Christmas countdown

Counting down to Christmas this year was a special virtual advent calendar featuring an assortment of local independent businesses.

The shop local advent calendar was published daily on the Town Council’s social media with each video promoting what you can find in Knutsford Town Centre, from the latest children’s toys at Hal Whittaker to Georg Jensen champagne coolers from Serenity Designs. Each video aimed to put on display what shoppers can find in the shops on their doorstep and encourage people to think local first.

Speaking in the final video, released on Christmas Eve, Mayor of Knutsford Cllr Stewart Gardiner thanked the town for supporting local businesses He said “We have a fantastic group of independent traders here in Knutsford who give the town its character; thank you for supporting them through the pandemic, throughout 2021 and we all hope you continue to shop here in knutsford in 2022”

The campaign was one of a number of initiatives developed by outgoing Town Centre and Marketing Officer, Sandra Curties, as part of the Town Council’s commitment to supporting the town centre and local business. The council is currently recruiting for a new Town Centre and Marketing Officer, so if you have ideas you think could help drive footfall to Knutsford why not apply for the role.

Here’s the final video, view the rest on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Whips in plastic tubes in the foreground

800 whips planted on open spaces in December

Eight hundred whips were planted in Knutsford this month as part of the Town Council’s nature action plan which aims to improve Knutsford for wildlife and tackle climate change.

On Saturday 4th December volunteers from the Town Amongst Trees project planted 500 whips at two open spaces on Ashworth Park. The whips were planted in the borders of the sites and will develop into mixed native copses. The planting day coordinated by the council’s Planning and Facilities Officer, Bob Allen, who leads on the implementation of the plan. The volunteers spent hours in the rain getting the whips in the ground in National Tree Week and were supported by local residents supplying warming tea and fresh cake!

Bob Allen sorting whips
Planning and Facilities Officer Bob Allen

Later in the month Town Ranger Bob Garner planted a new native hedge of 300 whips around an open space on Manor Crescent. The new hedge at the green next to the 2nd Knutsford Scout Hut, will develop into a native hedgerow. Hedgerows provide shelter, nesting opportunities and food for birds and an assortment of invertebrates and once established the fence surrounding the green will be removed.

The whips were provided free of charge by the Woodland Trust and The Conservation Volunteers.

In early 2022 the Town Council will be planting a further 120 trees on open spaces across the town as part of its mission to greatly increase tree cover in the town and, with funding from Redrow, is supporting the creation of a community wildflower allotment.

“Since adopting our Nature Action Plan in 2020 we have created new wildflower meadows, planted hundreds of trees and in spring will see thousands of bulbs flower thanks to efforts from volunteers across the community” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green. “We’ve more work to do in 2022, but Knutsford is well on its way to being a great example of how towns can provide for wildlife across their open spaces”.

The Mayor stands with the winners of a competition

Christmas Window Competition Winners

Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner and Managing Director of Knutsford based Forum of Private Business, Ian Cass, toured the town centre to judge the efforts of local businesses in the annual Knutsford Christmas Window Competition.

Each year the standard of the Christmas Window displays continues to get higher and higher. All the town centre window displays were viewed as part of the competition and we had formal entries from a large range of retailers and businesses including; Detaljer, Diamond Nails, Savills, Cheshire Quality, Arthur Lee, The White Orchid, Dafferns, Mr Simms and Clare and Illingworth.

The overall winner was presented with a trophy and certificate with highly commended certificates going to the runners up.

This year the winner was Terence Paul with Holly Johnson in second place and Nicholas Austen’s display at 60 King Street taking 3rd place.  There was also a prize for the best dressed Charity Shop window, and this was won by Barnardo’s on Tatton Street. A new category for 2021 was ‘best small window’ and with the inaugural winner Kanoa Living on Princess Street

Cllr Stewart Gardiner said, “I was impressed at both the innovation and sense of style even more this year. Everybody should be really proud of the displays they created in making the town look even more festive. Picking the winner was really difficult and there were several shop fronts being in running for the top slot. Unfortunately, there could be only one winner – Terence Paul who used a  local street artist to create an impressive piece of ‘snow graffiti’ display this year.

The Town Mayor adds the letters to the screening notice at the cinema

Over £300 raised at cinema night

The Mayor of Knutsford’s Charity Screening of Bridget Jones’s Diary was a fantastic success raising over £300 for the Mayor’s chosen charities, The Knutsford Branch of the Royal British Legion and The Knutsford Branch of The St Vincent de Paul Society.

The event, which took place on Wednesday 8th December, was hosted by the Curzon Knutsford and attended by 33 guests who were treated to an exclusive screening with wine and popcorn. The winners of the raffle prizes went home with goodies including an M&S Voucher, Wine, Chocolates and a Monet Bracelet.

Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner said “from the raucous laughter of the audience, I clearly picked a winner when choosing to host the screening of Bridget Jones’ Diary. The seasonal ending added to the atmosphere of the experience. Thank you to all that supported the evening. We are hoping to reprise the experience in the spring”.

The top of a statue of a saluting soldier

Memories of World War Two Wanted

Did you grow up in Knutsford during the second world war, or know someone who did? Your memories are needed for an exciting new project which aims to record the history of the Town in an engaging documentary film.

The Memories of World War II project will see trained oral history volunteers undertaking social history interviews with residents who lived or worked in Knutsford during the 1930s and 40s. A team of volunteers has already been trained and are ready to get interviewing.

The interviews will be filmed and used to create a 1-hour documentary film telling the story of Knutsford during the war alongside photos and archive footage. The film will be engaging with the aim of appealing to a wider range of viewers and introducing them to more of the town’s history.

The raw interviews will also form important historical records and be published as an online archive.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said “Your memories will possibly be the only place that parts of Knutsford’s history are kept and we want to get this on film for future generations. No matter how minor you may think your recollections are, they will help paint a picture of Knutsford during the war and we would be delighted to hear them.”

More information is available at www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/memories-project.

Those wishing to participate in the project can contact the Town Council on 01565 653 929, in person at the Council Offices or by email at enquiries@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

A fox shaped lantern against a black sky

Town lit up with Lantern Parade

Knutsford Lantern Parade returned for the first time since 2018 last Sunday, with a spectacular procession of lights in the town centre.

The biennial parade took place on Sunday 5th December, kicking off at 5pm on King Street. Scores of local people lined the streets to enjoy the parade which was led by City of Chester Brass Band and featured Travelling Light Circus LED performance troupe.

Local families had created handmade lanterns at free workshops provided by the Town Council in November and processed along the streets with their moon and stars themed lanterns, joining others in the community who had made lanterns and alongside large feature lanterns made by Handmade Parade. The parade was kindly supported by volunteers from Knutsford Hosts.

Alex Brown, Events Officer at Knutsford Town Council, said: “It was wonderful seeing so many people come along to enjoy the Lantern Parade and Crib Service on Sunday. The lanterns looked beautiful under the Christmas lights and the Crib Service was a wonderful start to the festive season.”

The Town Mayor’s Community Crib Service followed outside the Lost and Found, where the Mayor of Knutsford, Cllr Stewart Gardiner, was joined by Knutsford clergy to bless the town crib and welcome the festive season to Knutsford.

Children from St Vincent’s Primary School led in the singing of Christmas carols accompanied by City of Chester Brass Band. After the service the Knutsford Catenians warmed the community with mince pies and mulled wine.

Cllr Stewart Gardiner, Mayor of Knutsford, said: “It was lovely to see such a great turnout for the Lantern Parade and Crib Service on Sunday. Thanks to all those who helped make it such a lovely event. Particular thanks go to the children of St Vincent’s School for their beautiful singing.”

a man stands in a window holding a small santa

Hunt is on for Santa

Children are being urged to look out for Santa this Christmas, as he has been seen hiding in shop windows. Santa in the Shop is a new festive trail running throughout advent – from 1st to 24th December.

The Santa in the Shop trail is brand new for 2021, with families encouraged to find a Santa (along with a festive message or Christmas Cracker joke) hidden in twelve of Knutsford shop’s Christmas windows.  Entry forms can be picked up from Knutsford Library, Market Hall, Council Offices, and selected shops. When completed, the form can be dropped off at Santa’s special post box in Little Waitrose. All correctly completed forms will be entered into a prize draw with the winners announced in early January.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre and Marketing Officer at Knutsford Town Council said: “This is a sweet and easy trail for Christmas, a great way of exploring our beautiful town and enjoying the Christmas lights and festive windows.  We hope families enjoy spotting our little Santas!”

If visiting the town centre by car do not forget there is free parking on Saturday 4th December 11th December and 18th December from 10 am in Silk Mill, King and Princess Street car parks.

Crowd in Canute Place at Christmas Light Switch On

Saturday Christmas Market Cancelled due to high Winds

Due to the yellow weather warning, and gusts of up to 50mph being forecast on Saturday (27th) we have had to cancel the Saturday of Knutsford Christmas Market along with the entertainment in Canute Place and the Santa Parade.

The Sunday of the Christmas Market is unaffected and will take place as planned where we will have over 100 fantastic local traders as the perfect place to start your Christmas shopping.

Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner, will now switch on the Christmas Lights at 4pm on Sunday by Crib outside Lost and Found.

Cancelling any event is always hugely disappointing for us, our traders and all those who were planning to attend. Unfortunately the forecast winds make it impossible to safely hold the market and other parts of the event as planned. Fortunately the winds are expected to ease by midnight on Saturday allowing the Sunday market to go ahead on what is forecast to be a cold but dry and sunny day.

The Town Mayor adds the letters to the screening notice at the cinema

Charity Screening of Bridget Jones’s Diary

The Mayor of Knutsford is inviting you to join him for special screening of the 2001 ‘hilarious blockbuster’ Bridget Jones’s Diary hosted by The Curzon.

The evening will help raise funds for his chosen charities, the Knutsford branches of the Royal British Legion and St Vincent de Paul Society and takes place from 6pm on Wednesday 8th December.

“This iconic film has something for everyone; laughter and tears with a sprinkling of seasonal festiveness” said Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner.

 “Even if you’ve seen it before its worth another viewing and on this occasion you can enjoy the film after a glass of wine and help me raise money for my chosen local charities, so bring your friends and enjoy a pre-Christmas a mid-week night out and in the name of a good cause”

Tickets are £15 which includes a glass of wine on arrival, popcorn and one entry into the raffle where a selection of great prizes can be won. To secure your tickets contact Michelle Bate, Civic Events Officer on 01565 653929 or email michelle.bate@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Any businesses wishing to make a prize donation for the raffle can contact Michelle on the details above.

A lady holds out two handfuls of shopping bags

Knutsford Shopping Bags on Sale

Following the warm reception of Knutsford’s Welcome Back Pack in the summer, Knutsford Town Council has launched the Knutsford Shopping Bag just in time for the Christmas shopping season

The bag is designed by local agency Boxed Red Marketing and retails at £3.50.  It is available to purchase from The Tea Room, Cheshire Quality, Hal Whittaker, Mr Simms and at the Knutsford Town Council Offices.  The bag design is colourful and includes many of the things people associate with Knutsford such as May Day and Penny Farthings.

Sandra Curties, Knutsford Town Council’s Town Centre and Marketing Officer said, “We are delighted to offer these bags for sale and are looking forward to spotting them around the town in the coming months.  You could buy the bag alongside a Knutsford Voucher and give a complete gift of Knutsford this year!”

Harriet Henry, owner of The Tea Room said, “We love these bags and are looking forward to selling them alongside a cup of tea and a slice of cake!”

Profits made by the Town Council in selling the bags are being reinvested in town centre footfall initiatives.

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