NALC Star Council Awards 2021 Finalist Graphic

Town Clerk in running for Clerk of the Year Award

Knutsford’s Town Clerk has been shortlisted for a national award.

Adam Keppel-Green, who celebrates nine years with the Town Council this month, is one of five in the running for the Clerk of the Year award in the NALC Star Council Awards which aim to recognise the role of town and parish councils and the contribution they make to their communities.

Adam, who joined the council in September 2012 as Deputy Town Clerk and became Town Clerk in April 2014 is also clerk to Gawsworth Parish Council, a Director of the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC), board member of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils and Training Officer for the Cheshire Branch of the SLCC.

Speaking on the announcement of the shortlist, Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner said “As Town Mayor I am very pleased that Adam has been nominated for this award and wish him well in the final.

“I am very conscious that he works tirelessly not just in his official capacity as Town Clerk but in supporting several of the volunteer organisations within the Town in their efforts too. Adam has been the inspiration behind many of the initiatives the Town Council has undertaken in recent years and the people of Knutsford should be pleased that he is our Town Clerk.”

“It is an honour to be shortlisted for this award amongst four other great clerks” Adam said. “The job of Town Clerk is extremely rewarding, and I am proud to work for a proactive and positive council; if I am fortunate enough to win, it would be as much an award for the council as it would for me personally.”

The winner of the award will be announced at an online ceremony in October.

Text reads "discover what's on your doorstep, saturday 11th September", four graphic show a litterpicker, cyclist, artist and footballer.

New event to connect residents with clubs and societies

Over 50 groups will be on display as part of Knutsford’s first community freshers fair which takes place on Saturday 11th September from 1pm to 3pm.

Inspired by the idea of a university freshers fair, ReFresh Knutsford is being organised by Knutsford Town Council to help connect residents with the various organisations, clubs and societies which operate in Knutsford.

Spread across two venues, Knutsford Methodist Church and St John’s Church, ReFresh Knutsford provides an opportunity for residents to discover what is on their doorstep and meet groups – whether they are looking for a new book group, want to try yoga or have time to give to support a voluntary organisation.

“Being involved in an organisation or regular activity strongly contributes to a person’s wellbeing and a strong voluntary sector makes a strong town so this event aims to connect people and make it easier to know what is available in Knutsford” Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said.

“Whether its knitting or snooker, gardening or Latin or just something social there are so many groups providing opportunities in the town”

Organisations wishing to grab a last-minute table at no cost can contact Alex Brown on 01565 653929 or alex.brown@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Town Mayor presents cheque to Knutsford GROW

Grant helps Knutsford GROW grow!

A Knutsford charity which delivers gardening services to those unable to tend their own gardens whilst providing voluntary opportunities for one of the most deprived areas of Knutsford has received a funding boost thanks to Knutsford Town Council.

Knutsford GROW was awarded a grant worth £2,540 through the Town Council’s Large Grant Scheme which offers community groups an opportunity to apply for grants of any value above £1,500.

The charity was awarded a grant package which included funding for rebranding, a new website and uniforms and a gift of new battery powered gardening tools to replace old petrol-powered ones.

The rebrand will allow the charity, which has been operating for 22 years, to relaunch itself to increase volunteer numbers and tend a greater number of gardens.

Knutsford GROW’s work supporting those unable to tend their own gardens helps reduce social isolation and stigmatism, ensures they have safe access to their gardens for healthy fresh air and it stops them having a front garden that could otherwise act as a signpost for doorstep crime.

But their double-sided approach means even more people gain from the charity’s work as Knutsford GROW caters for volunteers with mental health issues and learning difficulties providing them with confidence, increasing their skills and delivering proven benefits from involvement in horticulture.

Karen Williams, volunteer coordinator at Knutsford GROW said “The new equipment is already making a huge difference to us when are working in people’s gardens. All the tools are quieter, portable (petrol garden tools are very big and heavy) safer and cleaner. We have some older and special needs volunteers who can use this new equipment safely and easily.”

If you would like to support this incredible charity, they are currently looking for new trustees to join their management board; if you are interested in finding our more contact Neil Forbes, Secretary and Chairman at secretary@knutsfordgrow.org.uk.

civic parade through the Town

Join the Mayor for Civic Sunday

Knutsfordians are being encouraged to come out to see their Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner at his rearranged Civic Sunday parade this week on Sunday 5th September.

The parade assembles at 2pm at the Council Offices and sets off at 2.15pm processing down Church Hill to King Street and across the Moor to St Cross Church where the Civic Service will take place led by Reverend Paul Deakin.

The parade will be led by the 2056 (Knutsford) Squadron ATC marching band and include dignitaries and Town Mayors and Chairmen from Town and Parish Councils across Cheshire as well as other uniformed groups.

Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner said: “I am hoping that the rearranged date for Civic Sunday will not only bring out the sun but also the crowds; even if only those who have come into Town for the Makers Market.

Civic Sunday is the time for the public to witness the Mayor walking through the Town’s streets in procession to a place of worship to celebrate becoming Mayor and asking for support in the role from a higher being within a religious setting. “

“Although individual invitations have been issued to specific persons this church service is open to anyone who wants to attend, and everyone is welcome. Please feel free to come along and if you can join in the hymns which I have chosen as some of my favourites which remind me of different stages in my life so far. If you are planning to attend can you please let Michelle Bate know to assist with catering; tea and cake will be served after the service.”

For more information about the above events contact Mayor’s PA Michelle Bate on 01565 653929 or email michelle.bate@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Town Mayor helps put the new defib in place

New Defibrillator for Knutsford

When a patient collapses in cardiac arrest it is essential that defibrillation is applied within minutes – when it is, the chances of that life being saved are drastically increased. It is therefore important that defibrillators are accessible 24/7 – which is now a mission of the Knutsford Community First Responders Trust whose work has ensured Knutsford has ready access to defibrillators when they are needed.

Hearing of plans to create new commercial units within the public toilets, the Trust approached the Town Council about installing a new defibrillator cabinet at the King Street Car Park. The Trust funded the new cabinet and defibrillator whilst the Town Council arranged for its contractors to install the cabinet and connect a power supply to keep it charged at all times.

Sal Thompson, AED lead for the trust said “We are proud to add another 24/7 community accessible public defibrillator (CPAD) to our growing stock ensuring that members of the public are never far from essential emergency equipment when in the town centre of Knutsford”.


Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green added “We were pleased to be able to provide the space for a new AED. It’s a high footfall area at the town’s main car park and so close to the Moor – whilst we hope it will never be used if one is needed it couldn’t be closer.”

Town Mayor holding an umbrella presenting a certificate to Jackie Edwards who has won the competition

Front Garden Competition 2021 Winners

The winners are in for Knutsford Town Council’s annual Front Garden Competition and, the children’s competition for best decorated Plant Pot!

The annual summer competition is part of the town’s wider ‘In Bloom’ efforts which have seen Knutsford awarded Gold in the Northwest in Bloom competition since 2016. Residents were encouraged to nominate front gardens worthy of recognition – whether their own, a neighbour’s or a stranger’s.

This year the competition was extended to include children and young people with their own competition for the Best Plant Pot, encouraging them to decorate their own pot and choose what to plant in it. The competition was sponsored by T & S Riley Nursery and Fryers Garden Centre.

A judging panel of the Town Mayor, Chair of Knutsford in Bloom and representatives of the sponsors met to review the entries and were set the hard task of choosing the winners.

 “It was a pleasure to be involved with the competition and I feel we came to a good decision with regard to the placements” said Sandra Riley of T & S Riley.

Tania Simpson, General Manager of Fryers added “On behalf of Fryers, Blue Diamond we are very pleased to be involved and supporting our local community, Knutsford, with judging such a relative and creative competition, so thank you for involving us.”

The winner of the 2021 Front Garden competition was Jackie Edwards of Grove Park who was awarded £100 of gardening vouchers from the sponsors, 2nd place went to George Walton of Blackhill Lane who received £80 of vouchers with 3rd place went to David Coppack & Madelin Brooks of Chelford Road who have £60 of vouchers to spend.

Town Mayor presents a certificate
George Walton, 2nd Place
Town Mayor with the 3rd place winners in a garden
David and Madelin Brooks, 3rd Place

Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner said: “I was very impressed by the high standard of green fingered talent that we have in the town and the artistic quality of the garden competition entries. It was a tough decision to choose the 3 winners, they really did extremely well.  I would like to thank our sponsors Fryers Garden Centre and T & S Riley for their contribution to the judging and providing the prizes for our winners and I was pleased to meet the recipients to award their certificates and prizes.”

There were five winners in the Best Plant Pot Competition, with a £20 voucher being awarded to Edward, Ebony, Mya and Oscar Howard and Eliza Buxton.

Town Mayor with a group of children holding plant pots
The Howard Family
Town Mayor holding an umbrella with the manager of Fryers also holding an umbrella presenting a certificate to a child in its mother's arms stood in a doorway
Eliza Buxton

“The children’s entries were inspiring, and I hope that their contribution to the competition will continue to encourage their love of gardening.” Cllr Gardiner added.

Chase from Paw Patrol outside the Market Cafe

Successful Market Open Day

Knutsford Market Hall hosted a successful open day on Saturday 21st August.

First held in 2019, the idea behind the day is to promote the market hall’s offer to customers – new, old, and especially those who have not yet discovered the wide variety of produce and goods on offer in the market. 

The open day was opened by Knutsford Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner who visited each trader and chatted with families who were enjoying a special breakfast at The Market Café with Chase from Paw Patrol.  Each of the market’s food and drink traders offered samples throughout the day and Slipped Discs played some retro vinyl in the afternoon.

Visiting families could also visit a face painter and anyone making a purchase on the day was given a raffle ticket to win a £5 voucher from each trader.  The draw was drawn at the close of the day and the lucky recipient has until the end of September to spend their vouchers

Sandra Curties, Knutsford Town Council’s Town Centre and Marketing Officer said, “Despite the unseasonal weather, it was lovely to see some new and old faces in the market hall.  Breakfast with Paw Patrol went down a storm and the raffle was a great way to reward customers.  The market hall really has something for everyone, and we urge every Knutsfordian who has yet to discover it to pop in soon!”

A woman plays guitar with a man playing double bass in the background

Knutsford Music Festival a Success

The return of Knutsford Music Festival has been hailed a success by local residents who enjoyed the town’s first major event since the start of the pandemic. The festival returned for its fourth year at the weekend from 13th – 14th August saw a programme of music performances across the town centre. The Music Festival is organised by Knutsford Town Council.

Visitors were treated to two nights of sensational folk music at St Johns Church headlined by folk superstars Blue Rose Code and The Breath consecutively. Each night was sold out to a huge crowd of folk fans who came to support the incredible shows organised in partnership with BBC Radio’s Mark Radcliffe.

The rain mostly held off for the free outdoor event Music on the Moor which was held on Saturday.  Hundreds of local people came along to enjoy a relaxed afternoon. The event was opened by Mayor of Knutsford Cllr Stewart Gardiner who thanked local residents for supporting the festival for another year, and four hours of live music from amazing local talent followed. Visitors also enjoyed an African drumming workshop whilst balloon modelling and face painting was also on offer for families.

A number of open air performances also took place in the town centre, from singer songwriter Chris Howarth in Cotton Shop Yard, the incredible gypsy-jazz guitarists Modjango under 60 King Street and a varied programme of choral singing from Knutsford Beats and Knutsford Star Choir on Regent Street.  A number of local businesses also hosted fringe events including Wine and Wallop, Cheshire House Bar and Grill and The Old Sessions House.

Town Council Events Officer Alex Brown said “It has been great to hear such positive feedback from those who attended the varied events across the festival and how much they enjoyed seeing the festival return.”

The Town Council welcomes any feedback on the event and suggestions for how it can be improved for 2022.

Full photos from this year’s festival will be available soon on the Knutsford Music Festival website and social media platforms. Enquiries for next year’s event can be sent to info@knutsfordmusicfestival.com

Town Mayor presents cheque to the Crosstown Community Orchard

Support for new Community Orchard

Knutsford’s first community orchard has received a funding boost from Knutsford Town Council.

The Crosstown Community Orchard, on Mobberley Road, was created in February after a new charity was set up to convert an underused open space into a thriving community asset. The charity has secured a range of grant funds to support its work and Knutsford Town Council is providing funding worth £1,500 through the provision of a bench and a sign which are due to be installed later this month.

The charity saw the planting of almost 40 fruit trees, over 100 wild harvest saplings and many wildflowers. Last month the group installed bird and hedgehog boxes to accompany the log piles and bug hotel created to promote wildlife on the site. The group is now arranging the installation of benches, bins and picnic tables to create a true community space and later this year will be creating a nature trail around the site.

Crosstown Community Orchard trustee Lyndsey Keppel-Green said “We are really grateful for the support from the Town Council and look forward to welcoming the Town Mayor back to the orchard for our official opening on August 22nd

The Town Council Community Grant Scheme is open to community organisations delivering services or running assets which benefit Knutsford’s residents. It looks for projects which provide improved services/opportunities for those under 18 or over 65, which provide a new or improved asset or service or projects which enhance the profile or reputation of the Town.

The council operates two schemes; a small grants scheme makes awards of up to £1,500 three times per year and a large grant scheme which considers applications for over £1,500 annually. The next deadline for the small grants scheme is 29th October and the 2021 large grants deadline is 31st August.

Town Mayor cuts a ribbon to open the cemetery chapel

Cemetery Chapel Reopens following Refurbishment

Knutsford’s 120-year-old cemetery chapel was officially reopened on Thursday 22nd July by Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner following an extensive refurbishment by Knutsford Town Council.

In stark contrast to the thick snow in which the chapel was first opened in December 1901, Cllr Gardiner cut the ribbon at a small ceremony in hot sunshine, inviting local clergy, funeral directors and special guests to enter the Grade II listed building to see the transformation.

The chapel was built as part of creating a new cemetery for Knutsford at the start of the 20th century and until 1974 was administered by the Knutsford Urban District Council. Following local government reorganisation in 1974 the chapel and cemetery were run by Macclesfield Borough Council, although the new Town Council retained ownership.

Cheshire East Council handed the building back to Knutsford Town Council in 2016 in a poor condition. A structural survey highlighted £52,000 of essential structural maintenance and the building was visibly tired with peeling paintwork, stained floors and cracking plaster. The Town Council secured the £52,000 needed to undertake the work to the Grade II listed building from Cheshire East Council but set its aspirations higher to undertake a full refurbishment and bring the chapel back into active use.

BEFORE

Knutsford Cemetery Chapel

AFTER

The total refurbishment programme included the installation of new water and electricity supplies, the creation of a kitchenette and accessible toilet in the anterooms and a thorough redecoration including repointing, stonework repairs, replastering, sanding and varnishing the parquet flooring and installing new heating. Various repairs were undertaken to structural beams, gutters and drainpipes and a new glass door was installed to the front. The majority of the old pews were removed to create a more flexible space with new lighting installed alongside fire and intruder alarms and a new septic tank. The total cost of the renovations, including professional fees, was £145,000 with the £93,000 balance being drawn from the proceeds of the sale of the Cemetery Lodge in 2018.

The chapel is available to hire for funerals and other suitable uses including remembrance services, community meetings and appropriate activities. The chapel will be routinely open for visitors to the cemetery for quietly reflection.

Cllr Jan Nicholson, who oversaw the project as part of the Cemetery working group said “After many years of neglect, I am absolutely delighted with the refurbishment of the Cemetery Chapel, a project instigated by my late husband Clive and I am looking forward to seeing the chapel used by the community of Knutsford.”

“Over several years our working group has toiled many hours to achieve and restore this wonderful chapel.”

During the works the council discovered the damaged remains of the original weathervane stored in the tower and is now exploring having this refurbished and reinstalled alongside the restoration and reinstallation of the chapel bell.

For information on hiring the chapel please see the Cemetery Chapel page