Picture of Enid Leigh

Three Residents Share their Memories of World War II

Three Knutsford residents have shared their memories of Knutsford during the Second World War as part of the Town Council’s lottery oral history project and the council is seeking further people to come forward and share their memories as part of the project.

Tony Leadbeater, Enid Leigh and William Cowburn shared their memories on camera for the project which aims to create a documentary film detailing the history of Knutsford during the war. Each was interviewed by a volunteer from the community who has undertaken oral history training.

The need to take the battery for the wireless to be charged at a garage near the Conservative Club to enable the family to listen to the news was just one of the many recollections shared with the project as well as the sight of Lancaster bombers taking off and seeing paratroopers practising over Tatton Park.

“Watching the recordings and hearing the first hand memories of residents from this time is amazing” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green. “We are really keen to reach more of our residents who have memories of Knutsford during this period – if that’s you please do get in touch and if you know anyone around the age of 85+ please share this with them or let us know their details.”

The interviews are being filmed to create an engaging video to reach all generations and share the story of the town during the war with the final video set to include archive footage and photographs from the era.

If you or someone you know could be part of the project please contact Tor Rogers on 01565 653 929 or tor.rogers@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Knutsford Town Council Logo

Abigail Chetham awarded 2022 Millennium Bursary

Knutsford Town Council has awarded its 2022 Millennium Bursary to Liberal Arts student Abigail Chetham, who is studying at Durham University.

Abigail, who attended Knutsford Academy, is in her second year of the programme and is passionate about ancient near-eastern civilisations and religions; with plans to complete an excavation in Egypt over the summer. As well as excelling in her academic studies, Abigail has an array of different talents and interests, including Performing Arts, Dance, Music and Aerial Arts. Abigail is also an active member of her local Methodist Church and has a passion for volunteer work. Pre-covid, she took a volunteering trip to Kenya where she supported local communities in housing, education, and environmental projects.

Abigail intends to use the £565 bursary to support her travels to various museums and exhibits, to expand her research through purchasing a range of new literature, and to support her trip to Egypt this summer.

Abigail said, “I’m really excited to be able to take part in this excavation, which without the bursary would have certainly been less financially viable. The trip will not only help me for my dissertation and studies in general but will also provide me with real-world skills which will help me when it comes to trying to get a job later in life. The excavation is taking place at the ancient city of Sais, modern Sa el-Hagar, which was the capital of 26th Dynasty Egypt and is around halfway between modern Cairo and Alexandria, in the Nile Delta. The excavation is organised by the Egypt Exploration Society as well as Durham University, and I was chosen to take part by one of my professors. The bursary will be funding my travel expenses, as well as accommodation and sustenance for while I’m out there, for which I’m so grateful.”

Picture of Abigail Chetham
Abigail Chetham

The annual Millennium Bursary is awarded in partnership with the Knutsford Lions and supports a Knutsford student in their second year of University with the aim of supporting their final year project/dissertation.

The Knutsford Lions also gave a runner-up prize of £200 to Hope Philpott, who is studying History at the University of Oxford. Hope is an aspiring journalist and has written extensively for the Oxford student newspaper ‘Cherwell’, as well as being a Pembroke College Oxford Access Ambassador; where she helps young people from underrepresented backgrounds apply to Oxford.

Hope is planning on staying in Oxford over the summer to utilise the Bodleian and Weston library archives to aid her study.

Hope said, “I will absolutely use the money wisely and I’m greatly looking forward to staying in Oxford over the summer. I will continue to be an ambassador for diverse applications to Oxford and I’m still hoping to go into journalism!”

Students currently in their first year of university should look out for the 2023 Millennium Bursary opening for applications in the Autumn.

The bursary was awarded following an interview with the Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner and Knutsford Lions’ Lydia Kennedy.

Speaking of the award Lydia said “It was wonderful to speak with all the applicants this year, each of them bringing their own talents and plans for the future to the discussions. They would all have made great winners. We know that Abigail will bring her fantastic outlook with her for her planned excavation internship as well as in all her future studies as this year’s bursary student. The Lions were also delighted to be able to award a runners up prize to Hope to use for her ongoing research at Oxford. We wish them all the best of luck for their next year at university.”

Cllr Stewart Gardiner sat at a table in the Courthouse Hotel

Town Mayor to host a cabaret evening

Knutsford Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner is looking forward to his Spring Charity Cabaret which takes place on Saturday 2nd April at The Courthouse, Knutsford. The Mayor hopes that the Cabaret will be the biggest fundraising event of his mayoral year and promises to be a fun filled evening with performances from a variety of local and national entertainers.

The Spring Cabaret will raise funds to support the Mayor’s chosen charities – the Knutsford Royal British Legion and the Knutsford St Vincent De Paul Society.

Cllr Stewart Gardiner said: “Following the success of my autumn ball, I’m hoping to increase the funds that I will be able to share between my chosen charities. The Cabaret will be an opportunity for everyone to experience a variety of entertainment whilst enjoying dinner in the historic courthouse.  Please accept this as my invitation to each you all to come along and join what will hopefully be a highlight of this year’s social calendar.

Tickets are available for the night at £50 per person for a delicious 2-course meal, and all the evening’s entertainment.  To book your place you can contact the Civic Events Officer Michelle Bate as soon as possible before 7th March on 01565 653929 or email michelle.bate@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Raffle tickets are also now on sale for the Mayor’s Prize Draw at £2 each with a range of great prizes up for grabs. The raffle will be drawn at the Ball but anyone can purchase tickets by contacting Michelle or visiting the Council Offices.

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

Knutsford Music Festival 2022 Artists Announced

Knutsford Music Festival returns with a bang this year with an exciting line up set to take stage across a weekend of musical entertainment.

The three-day festival will take place from 10th to 12th June, with a variety of events across the weekend coordinated by Knutsford Town Council.

Festival organisers at the Town Council have teamed up with BBC Radio’s Mark Radcliffe to once again bring a line-up of incredible folk music to the festival, with events split this year across Knutsford Little Theatre and St John’s Church.

Folk sensation Kate Rusby will headline the Saturday night folk event at St John’s Church with support from Catherine and Ciara McGoldrick.

Friday night will see critically acclaimed duo Zervas and Pepper will headline at the Little Theatre joined by local favourites Fine Lines who will support alongside singer-songwriter and producer Tim Prottey-Jones.

Sunday’s line-up promises just as much with a headline performance from the lively eight-piece Hope & Social who will be joined for support by local singer-songwriter Chris Tavener, who combines jangly-guitar rock and a biting sense of humour.

Also returning in 2022 is Friday Night Blues, taking place in the beautiful Brook Street Chapel Hall on Friday 10th June and headlined this by Mat Walklate who returns followinga  sell out performance in 2018; this year he is joined by duo partner Alex Haynes, with support from local folk stomping duo Two Hats Blues Band.

All ages can enjoy outdoor fun on Saturday 11th June, as the festival brings music back to the Moor. The free event, which runs from 12-4pm, features live acoustic music from incredible local talent, as well as activities for all ages including a children’s music themed craft workshop, African drumming for all ages and more activities and refreshments provided by local vendors.

Taking place on the Sunday at a venue to be confirmed is A Brief History of Music, a fun 90-minute tour of western musical history starting in the middle ages which combines the vigour of the medieval period, the musical intricacy of the Renaissance, the grandeur of the Baroque and the pomp and bombast of Victoriana!

Tickets for all headline events will go on sale on 1st March at 12.00pm via www.knutsfordmusicfestival.com – tickets are limited so don’t miss out.

Join the festival’s mailing list via website to receive up to date news and announcements including notification of ticket sales opening. For any info relating to the festival please email info@knutsfordmusicfestival.com or call 01565 653 929.

Businesses in Knutsford Nominated as Most Loved

Local businesses from across Knutsford have been nominated as most loved as part of national ‘Love Local Day’. The annual event which began in 2019, takes place on February 14th and recognises the UK’s most loved local businesses. 

Businesses from Knutsford which were nominated include Blossom Boutique, Dexter and Jones, Hal Whittaker Toy Shop, Kanoa Living, Neki Café, Real Fruit Creamery, Tatton Perk, Woods Butchers and Morgan Edwards.

Adam Keppel-Green, Town Clerk at Knutsford Town Council, said “Our local businesses all add so much to the town, so it is great to see people have taken the time to nominate them as part of this national campaign.“

Thousands of nominations have poured in from across the UK over the last few weeks from over 200 towns and cities. Nominations for Love Local Day have highlighted the friendliness, helpfulness and exceptional service that local businesses have provided during the most challenging times for local communities, high streets, markets, towns and city centres.

Princess Street’s Kanoa Living was recognised as one of the top 20 most loved businesses across the UK.

Dr Jackie Mulligan, Founder of ShopAppy – the organisation behind the UKs Love Local Day campaign explains “Love Local Day has provided a great outpouring of love for these Great British businesses at a time when it is good to give them a boost of morale and spend. The last months have provided a perfect storm for our high streets, but we know there is tremendous love for local businesses in our communities. Many of these businesses provide conversation, a safe space, expertise and great products and services on our doorstep and have adapted so much to keep us safe over the last two tumultuous years. The day celebrates all that these businesses do for our communities”

A group of people including the mayor gather around a tree that is being planted

Mayor plants tree for Platinum Jubilee

The 70th anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was marked in Knutsford on Sunday 5th February with the Town Mayor and councillors planting a commemorative tree at the Council Offices.

Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner was joined by councillors and residents at a small ceremony on the day marking 70 years since HM The Queen took the throne. This marked the first act ahead of the official celebrations in June.

The council chose a Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ tree to celebrate the occasion. The tree will blossom with clear pale primrose yellow, fragrant cup-shaped flowers between April and May each year – covering the period of HM The Queen’s birthday.

The national celebrations of the jubilee take place over a four-day bank holiday weekend from 2nd to 5th June. The Town Council is organising a beacon lighting as part of beacon lighting across the nation on Thursday 2nd June whilst Knutsford Lions will be hosting a Jubilee Fair on the Heath on Friday 3rd June.

The 2012 Diamond Jubilee saw a specially commissioned arch installed at the Library Gardens and for the Platinum Jubilee the council is discussing holding a competition for children to design a new piece of public art. The Town Mayor will also be offering to plant a jubilee tree at each school in Knutsford ahead of the half term break.

Group of volunteers at the tree planting

600 trees breathe new life into Dogwood

Over 600 trees were planted by volunteers on Saturday 29th January as part of Knutsford Town Council’s Nature Action Plan.

With support from The Tatton Group, the Town Council organised a planting day beginning at the entrance to Dogwood which leads from the Moor to Tatton Park. The new trees will bolster the existing mature trees and eventually replace those that are lost naturally. 

Adopted in March 2020, the Nature Action Plan sets out the council’s commitment to improve Knutsford’s biodiversity and natural habitats and supports the council’s efforts to tackle climate change. Planting trees across the town is a key aspect of the plan, which not only increase the biodiversity value of local areas but capture carbon from the atmosphere.

The whips (very young saplings), which were provided by the Woodland Trust and The Conservation Volunteers, were planted by a team which included volunteers, students from Knutsford Academy and town councillors. Within a few hours hundreds of trees had been planted which will eventually grow into larger specimens and will capture tonnes of carbon through their lives.

Bob Allen, The Planning and Facilities Officer at Knutsford Town Council, said: “It was excellent to see support from the community and everyone that came made huge efforts to endure the wind and the rain to make a positive difference to the town for years to come. Trees are an important source of oxygen for us all and we want to encourage tree planting wherever possible!”

The Town Council is now preparing its second phase of standard (1.5m-2m) tree planting on open spaces across the town.

To find out more about tree planting or the Nature Action Plan you can visit www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/natureactionplan

Peter Murray from POP with childrenat Knutsford Bunny Hop 2019

Bunny Hop Bouncing Back for ’22

The Knutsford Bunny Hop will be bouncing back to the Town Centre this Easter Saturday.

The event had a forced two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic but will return for the first time since 2019 on Saturday 16th April.

The family event features an easter themed trail where the objective is to find bunnies hidden across the town centre each of which have a letter pinned to them. Find all the letters which together spell a hidden phrase! You can then submit your completed entry form into the Bunny Hop postbox outside of Mr Simms Sweet Shop on King Street. You will also be able to enjoy other festivities on the day such as face painting and competitions.

The event is very kindly sponsored by Mere Day Nursery, who have supported the event for a number of years. Mere Day nursery is located on Chester Road just outside Knutsford in Mere where children can enjoy the baby room, toddler room or pre-school room and an outdoor space including trees, woodlands and regular access to acres of fields where the play opportunities are endless. 

Alex Brown, Events Officer at Knutsford Town Council, said: “We are thrilled to bring this event back after it has not been possible the last couple of years due to lockdown restrictions. It will be fantastic to celebrate Easter again with our community and we hope everyone comes out to enjoy the event!”

You will find lots of town centre businesses with ‘Bunny Hop Friendly Shop’ posters in their windows, which means the business are involved in the event by offering promotions or giveaways.

Keep up to date with event announcements and news by following Knutsford Bunny Hop on Facebook and Twitter, and by joining the official event on Facebook.

Enquiries related to this event can be sent to alex.brown@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or you can call 01565 653 929.

The Mayor and the Manager of the Angel

Mayor to host Pub Quiz

The Mayor of Knutsford is inviting residents to his fun pub quiz on February 23rd at The Angel on King Street. After 2 years of hosting Zoom quizzes, Cllr Gardiner will be the first Mayor since 2019 that has been able to hold the annual event in person and is encouraging all who are able to come along.

Cllr Gardiner is keen to welcome as many people as possible to get involved and especially those who were unable to celebrate Christmas with their colleagues. The Quiz presents the perfect opportunity for postponed get together while raising some much-needed funds for the Royal British Legion and St Vincent de Paul Society.

Cllr Gardiner said: “ Are you an ace at The Chase, sharper than a celebrity on pointless or quicker on the buzzer than a student on University Challenge? Then why not put your brain to the test and bring a team along to the Annual Town Mayor’s Quiz and see if you can outsmart this year’s quiz master?!’

The quiz, which has been written by the Mayor’s Consort, Simon Hutchence, will take place at 7.30pm. Teams are £10 for a team of 4 which supports the mayor’s chosen charities.  Extra participants can pay £2.50 per person, but teams will be capped at six people.

To register your team contact Michelle Bate on Michelle.Bate@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk with the details of your team – including a team name and the names of all participants.

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.