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.”

Mayor reading his script

The Mayor’s Christmas Message

The Mayor’s message from the Knutsford Crib Service 2021

I am very pleased that this year we can hold this crib service in person, rather than having to record something for viewing on-line. Albeit a few issues with our technical support have meant a few last-minute improvisations.

 I would like to thank our clergy, Cheshire Brass, and the children of St Vincent’s Primary for the parts they will play in this afternoon’s event. But each of you has a role to play by join in the Carols – the words are on your sheets.

It has become a tradition that the Town Mayor gives a Christmas address as part of the service, and I do not intend to stop that now. But before I share with you my thoughts about Christmas 2021, I need to announce something that is happening for the first time this year, but which I very much hope will become a tradition. 

Once the crib has been blessed, after we have listened to the readings, carols, and prayers, instead of heading off into the night we are all invited to share a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine and engage in conversation with each other.

This invitation comes from the Knutsford Cateneans who want to say a big thank you to all those NHS personnel, carers and volunteers who gave so tireless for others during the months of the Pandemic. I will not explain who or what the Cateneans are, but it is thanks to this organisation’s generosity that we in Knutsford have a crib on display in public view.

Turning to the crib, I recognise some may consider having such an overtly Christian symbol displayed in public might be offensive to those of other faiths or none. But I have to say that I disagree with such negativity.

Firstly, however secular our society may have become, we have to recognise that same society was built over many centuries upon Christian principles which help form the foundations of our legal system, and which still prevail today.

Secondly many of those people who live in Britain today from other cultures, will include people from several other Christian-majority countries. Additionally, this scene depicts the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a child born into the Jewish faith and seen as a Prophet by Islam. While many of the tenets of faith and patterns of good living are shared by a panoply of other faiths too.

However, the main reason why I would challenge the view that it could cause offence, is because of the underlying message that sits behind the images presented to us and that is a profound message of Love and the power this has to enrich all our lives.

We see not just the natural love of a mother for her child, and the love of a man for his wife, though some may ask what kind of love possessed Joseph to take his heavily pregnant wife on such a perilous journey. But love is also shown in the kindness of the inn keeper who provided shelter for the desperate young family.

Then there is the love of the Shepherds, who we are told left the sheep they were charged with caring for (another form of love) to witness something they probably didn’t really understand but they knew was very important. If we consider the wisemen (or Magi) who we are told came to ‘adore’ (also an expression of love) the long-promised special child, they had read about and seen prophesised in the stars.

This shows in various guises the love of humans for each other and that’s before we consider the more miraculous and mystical aspects of the story, and the fundamentals of every Christian belief that this child is the Son of God – given as the Saviour of his creation; the World. A God who it is said so loved the World that he gave his only son as its redeemer.

So, whether you share my belief in what this crib represents or not, I challenge you not to recognise in this depiction of the nativity scene some aspect of the love, I have referred to, somehow evident in your own lives.

Were you not loved unconditionally as a small child? As an adult have you not known and shared love with another person like that between Mary and Joseph? Have you never experienced the kindness of strangers, if not the unquestioning love of the Shepherds or the adoration shown by the Magi?

Therefore, this Christmas I ask you to look at this crib, to consider the various forms of love depicted by these figures. Then, to recall a time when you were truly loved and to find a way this Christmastime of giving that love to someone else.

On Christmas Day I have been invited to join Knutsford Lions at the Welcome Café, where they will be providing a turkey dinner and company to some of the Town’s Senior Citizens, who would otherwise be alone.

This group of volunteers will be giving up a significant part of their day in a collective act of love; something the Knutsford Lions have been doing for many years; albeit adapting the delivery when circumstances required.

But before I step too readily on the toes of the various ministers of religion present, I’d like to express my love for this Town and for everyone who lives here, by wishing you all and those who you love a very Happy Christmas and a sincere hope that the New Year will bring you your own heart’s desire.

Happy Christmas.

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.

A man on an inflatable dinosaur with some children

Pumpkin Path a Spooky Success

Knutsford Pumpkin Path has been hailed a spooky success after it returned for its 9th year on Saturday 30th October!

The event returned to celebrate Halloween in Knutsford across King Street, Minshull Street and Regent Street. The night saw families and friends of all ages convene, many in elaborate and amazing costumes for a fun, safe and friendly Halloween festivity. At what has now become tradition visitors have to hunt out 11 special pumpkins carved with letters spelling ‘Pumpkin Path’ which were dotted along King Street and the surrounding roads. In addition to the eleven ‘hosts’ many shops and businesses stayed open late with truly spooktacular window displays and costumes to join in the fun.

Crowds were entertained with singing by Knutsford Beats  and dance performances from Fuschia School of Dance. Halloween themed character actors and exciting experiences in Wallwood were hosted by moviESCAPE escape rooms based in Stockport.

The event was supported by a range of businesses, organisations and voluntary groups including Mr Simms, Knutsford Hosts and Knutsford Lions. The event was also kindly supported by the Mere Day Nursery and Cheshire House Bar and Grill who sponsored the event and helped to make it possible.

Visitors to the path were asked to choose their favourite shop window and the winners were presented with their certificates the following week by the Mayor of Knutsford Cllr Stewart Malloy. The winner was Mr Simms and the three runners up with Highly Commended prizes were Gareth West, Giovannis and D13 Irish Bar. The competition was stiff but all three had stunning spooky displays.

Alex Brown, Events Officer at Knutsford Town Council, said: “We were thrilled to see so many happy faces at the weekend enjoying our Pumpkin Path. It was so exciting to bring this event back in full this year to celebrate Halloween in true Knutsford style. The costumes were fantastic as always and the atmosphere of the event was brilliant. Huge thanks to our amazing local businesses who continue to get stuck in with our events and make the town so vibrant and full of life. Here’s to next year!”

A man holds the RBL standard

Remembrance Sunday Services 2021

Knutsford Town Council and the Knutsford Branch of the Royal British Legion invite the community to join the services of remembrance on Sunday 14th November.

The programme for the day is as follows:

0845 – Parade assembles at King St Car Park, WA16 6DX

0900 – Parade from King St Car Park to St John’s Church

0930 – Remembrance Service at St John’s Church

1030 – Procession to Centennial War Memorial

1045 – Remembrance service and wreath laying at Centennial War Memorial, WA16 0PG

1145 – Remembrance service at the Crosstown War Memorial

1230 – Remembrance service at the War Memorial Cottage Hospital, Northwich Road

1300 – Remembrance service at the Parachute Regiment Memorial, Tatton Park

1345 – Refreshments at Council Offices, WA16 6TA

This year the parade departs from King Street car park (rather than Drury Lane) and parades to St John’s Church. The parade will not reassemble and instead the congregation will be led from the church to the Centennial War Memorial for the main service.

The whole community is welcome to join any or all parts of the day. The principal wreath laying will take place at the Centennial War Memorial and organisations wishing to lay a wreath are requested to advise Michelle Bate, Civic Events Officer, in advance by emailing michelle.bate@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

A group of people in black tie with the Town Mayor front centre

Mayor’s Autumn Ball raises £3,000

On Saturday 9th October the Mayor of Knutsford welcomed over 100 guests to his Charity Ball at The Mere Golf Resort and Spa.  The evening was a fantastic success and a combination of sponsorship, tickets sales, prize balloons, silent auction, and raffle ticket sales has raised over £3,000 for the Mayor’s local charities: The Knutsford and District Branch of The Royal British Legion and the Knutsford Branch of The St Vincent De Paul Society.

Guests were welcomed by the RAF Air Cadet band playing on their arrival, before a red carpet entrance where they were greeted by The Mayor and his consort, Mr Simon Hutchence.

Local business owner, Tessa Carrol provided the photography for the evening and DJ Steve Lewis from ICE Entertainment made sure everyone had a great time on the dancefloor. Guests were also entertained by the fantastic Funtime Frankies band who gave everyone the opportunity to dance , which for some, was the first time back on the dancefloor in a long time.

Prize vouchers were found hidden in balloons, each one containing a voucher for a fabulous prize donated by local businesses and residents including gifts from Evuna, The Bears Paw, AutoDen Knutsford, Roberta Beauty, Curzon Cinema, Cranford Café, Pizza Express Knutsford, Diamond Nails, Fryers Roses, Kanoa Living, Sandra Gardiner, PR Jones Jewellers and Hal Whittaker. The sound of balloons popping filled the reception space and started the party atmosphere.

The Raffle proved popular and prizes included donations from The Mere, Elite Health, Gusto Knutsford, Sarah Jane King Photography, Woods Butchers, Courtyard Coffee House, Tree Tops Holistics and Beauty, Cheshire House, Olivia Hunter, and Mid Cheshire Rail Partnership. 

A game of Heads or Tails in between courses made for a fun 5 minutes of fundraising with the winning guest winning a voucher from White Orchid Floral Boutique.

The Live and Silent Auctions raised a great amount of money and there was a bidding war between guest to win prizes donated by King and Allen, Cheshire Quality, Pulse of Perfumery, The Lambing Shed, Lloyd Hall Bespoke Tailors, Andrew Collier Photography and Wendy Diddams Optometrist.

Tables were decorated by Knutsford Bloom and were sponsored by Apus Peak, Packaging Automation Ltd, Pete the Pilot, Sheldons Dairy, Cheshire Quality and Elite Health who each gave incredible support.

Michelle Bate, Civic Events Officer said: “The ball has been a great fundraising success raising an impressive £3,000 after what has been a tremendously difficult year for many. We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of all the local shops, restaurants and businesses who have so generously supported and donated products and vouchers for the event.  Thank you to all who attended on the night for helping to make the evening fantastic!”

Knutsford Big Bulb Plan 11th-24th October 2021

The Knutsford Big Bulb Plant

Knutsford Town Council has launched the Knutsford Big Bulb Plant a fortnight of bulb planting events taking place across the Town. The fortnight runs form 11th October to 24th October and residents are encouraged to apply to host an event in their neighbourhood.

Part of the Knutsford Nature Action Plan, the Big Bulb Plant aims to increase the number of spring flowering bulbs across the whole town. The Town Council will provide event hosts with a selection of bulbs suitable for the area they are planting along with some printed flyers to promote the event to their neighbours.

The council has ordered a selection of bulbs including snowdrops, crocus, winter aconite, daffodil, wild garlic, bluebell and tulip which together provide colour between January through to May and, importantly, provide pollinators with an early food source.

“The Big Bulb Plant puts residents in charge of where bulbs are planted in the town” said Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Green who will be leading an event on his street at Manor Crescent. “We are inviting residents to apply to host an event on a green space near them – we’ll provide the bulbs and help promote the bulb planting and together the town will bloom beautifully in Spring 2022”.

Events already planned for the fortnight include bulb planting on Manor Crescent, Ashworth Park and Shaw Drive.

To view events taking place in your neighbourhood or to schedule your bulb planting event visit www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/big-bulb-plant.