Posts Tagged Cllr Forbes

Record Amount Raised for Mayor’s Charities

At the end of his 12 months of fundraising, Knutsford Mayor, Cllr Neil Forbes, this week announced a record-breaking amount of £12,365 for his chosen charities: Mid Cheshire Riding for the Disabled, Knutsford Youth Orchestra and Knutsford Friendship Café.

Cllr Forbes has hosted three successful “Eat, drink and be merry” dinners at Pastiche, Brasserie Blanc and Giovanni’s.

Paula Lambe & Eve James from Knutsford Friendship Cafe with Cllr Neil Forbes

In August guests enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea and tour of Tabley House. 

Despite the rain at Knutsford Christmas Market, it didn’t dampen the spirits for those wanting to Win Christmas and one lucky winner walked away with over 120 prizes from the stalls on the market.

Now a firm favourite in the Mayor’s fundraising calendar, the Mayor’s Annual Fun Pub Quiz was held at The Angel Hotel where over 150 quizzers in 20 teams battled it out to take the crown from last year’s winners.  The quiz was eventually won after a surprise “Pointless” finale by a team from Mid Cheshire Riding for the Disabled.

The highlight of every Mayor’s year is the Mayor’s Charity Ball which, this year, was a glittering affair at The Courthouse.  With entertainment kindly sponsored by Fisher German, guests were treated to a caricaturist and close-up magic from Carl Royle during a sparkling reception then treated to a delicious 3-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Steven Tuke, after which guests hit the dancefloor. 

Hannah Sheldon, Abi Taylor, Kath Small, Anna Taylor, Tom Small, Harry Small from Knutsford Youth Orchestra with Cllr Neil Forbes,

With over 100 prizes on offer, all generously donated by local businesses, the evening started with a bang as guests popped helium balloons, inside which were vouchers for amazing nights out at restaurants, theatres and the cinema.  The first prize winner of the raffle was treated to Dinner Bed & Breakfast at Cottons, whilst the silent auction included a bespoke three-piece suit from Lloyd Hall and a golf day at Carden Park.  There was also a tombola with an array of prizes which proved popular with guests.

Added to that, there was also the generosity of the numerous table sponsors from a variety of local businesses which culminated in an amazing £7,400 being raised on the evening.

Cllr Neil Forbes said: “I am so pleased to have raised so much for our three local good causes.  All of this would of course have been impossible without the generosity of our local businesses matched only by that of the people who turned up in good numbers to support the events.  Thank-you all.”

Pamela Rigby & Jeanette Dixon from Mid Cheshire Riding for the Disabled with Cllr Neil Forbes

The Mayor’s final event was “Mayor’s Speakeasy Big Band Night” with the Fish Lip Soup Big Band featuring guest vocalist Jenn Clempner.  The audience had a great night of popular music in the delightful setting of St John’s Church.

Jeanette Dixon from Mid Cheshire Riding for the Disabled said: “Mid Cheshire Riding for the Disabled have been extremely grateful to be chosen as one of the Mayor’s charities for the past year.  It costs us nearly £20,000 a year to provide riding activities and so support our riders.  The funds raised will be used towards the keep of our two ponies, Ted & Pip, without them we could not continue our work.  We provide riding for 94 disabled people each week.  We take part in a Therapy Tracker that helps record the changes and shows us that riders benefit in several areas, not only physically, but also in social relationships and in confidence.”

Sponsors and Supporters: Steve Crowther from Fish Lip Soup Big Band, Anne Dobie from Laytons, Jacqueline Forbes, Hugh Platt from Fisher German, Cllr Neil Forbes

Kath Small from Knutsford Youth Orchestra said: “This donation will help us to arrange for professional musicians from various orchestras to provide workshops to our children and help promote their knowledge.  It will give every child from KYO the chance to go and hear a professional orchestra/group.  We will be able to purchase 3 trombones and provide lessons to children who may not otherwise have learnt an instrument (we hope to be able to offer this on more instruments too).   We will also use it to offer free places in KYO to children who show musical potential. “

Paula Lambe and Eve James from Knutsford Friendship Café said: “We are extremely grateful to have been one of Mayor Neil Forbes’ three chosen charities over the last year and would like to thank everyone who has participated in whatever way towards the fundraising.  The money will go towards trips out for those who come to the café, increasing the number of café sessions held each month and continuing the music therapy which is so much enjoyed.  We will also invest in musical instruments as well as new games and activities.”

Notes to Editors: The total fundraising amount raised includes a matched funding amount of £1,250 from Barclays which has been given to the charities.  The amount shown on the cheques pictured excludes this amount.

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Millennium Bursary Open for Applications

The annual Millennium Bursary is now open for applications from students who are currently studying in their second year of Higher education. Applications are being accepted online at with a deadline of Friday December 15th.  The main award is £515.

The bursary is the initiative of Knutsford Town Council supported by the Knutsford Lions Club and has been awarded every year since it was founded in 2000. It is aimed at students who will be going into their third year of higher education in September 2018.

As part of the application applicants must submit a short statement of no more than 200 words demonstrating how the award would benefit their chosen course of study, with particular reference to how it may help a project or dissertation.

To be eligible for the bursary applicants must normally reside in Knutsford or Toft. Informal interviews will take place in late December and the winner of the bursary will be announced shortly thereafter.

Town Mayor, Cllr Neil Forbes said “The Town Council is pleased to again be inviting students from the area to apply for the Millennium Bursary. I wish all the students applying the best of luck and look forward to working with the Knutsford Lions and Jennifer Holbrook in the difficult task of deciding this year’s successful applicant. “

Last year’s Bursary was awarded to Cameron Ormesher who was studying Government and Economics at the London School of Economics.

You can download the application form here:

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Knutsford long listed for ‘Council of the Year’ award

Knutsford Town Council is in the running for a national excellence award as part of the Star Councils Awards with the long-list for the 2017 Council of the Year award is announced.

Introduced in 2015 as part of the Star Councils Awards, Council of the Year goes to a council which stands apart, raising the bar for the sector with outstanding work across service delivery and which demonstrates excellence in community engagement and communications.

The awards, which are organised by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), saw Oswestry Town Council crowned Council of the Year 2016 and Knutsford is one of twelve councils on the longlist for the award; which will be whittled down to a shortlist of just three in mid-September. The winners of the award will be announced at the NALC Annual Conference in Milton Keynes on 30th October.

Town Mayor, Cllr Neil Forbes commented on the news stating, “I am delighted that our combined efforts to be a Quality Gold standard council and ahead of the curve on best practice as the council has grown has been recognised – fingers crossed for the shortlist!”

Speaking on the announcement of the long-list, Chairman of NALC, Cllr Sue Baxter outlined how difficult it had been to decide on this year’s list “NALC had to make some very tough and difficult decisions for the long list, because the standard of entrees were so high.”

Knutsford is one of two Cheshire councils to be long-listed, with Winsford Town Council also making the long-list. Both Macclesfield Town Council and Winsford Town Council are also in the running for “Local Council Outstanding Project of the Year – Health and Well-being”.

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A note from the outgoing Town Mayor

Well, what a year! 141 civic engagements, 357 miles travelled within Knutsford and a further 1,269 miles representing the town elsewhere. Mr Mayor, Thank-you for deputising for me on other occasions when I couldn’t be in three places at once or when the venue was sadly inaccessible.

Mayor Neil (small)

Cllr Neil Forbes Knutsford Town Mayor 2014/15

Those who have heard me speak of my views on volunteering and the voluntary sector, know I think it is the thread which stiches the fabric of society together. I had thought quite a lot of this nature went on in Knutsford but I wildly underestimated it. It has been a real eye opener seeing all the benevolent individuals and groups within the town and hearing of the good works they do. The ‘many threads of the fabric’ if you will. Knutsford’s cloth is golden indeed.

You may recall a year ago I said, “I’d be the first to agree I’m no poster-boy” so I must apologise to Knutsford Guardian readers who have seen me grinning at them over their cornflakes at the breakfast table for as many as 6 times in the same edition. There was also the ‘Knutsfordian’ exhibition, where my slightly scary portrait was captured on canvas. I’ve also been ‘photo-bombed’ by the Chancellor and been in many a selfie by younger residents. So I may need to revise my poster boy comment albeit a little too late.

That said, I am perhaps most fortunate not to have been Mayor of High Wycombe.

I’ve heard it said by some that, “Behind every good man stands a good women”. If that is true, I have been doubly blessed. Those that know Jacquelyn will know we are like ‘chalk and cheese’ so, Jacqui, thanks for indulging me over the last year and supporting me metaphorically and literally throughout it, even at engagements on Christmas Day and on your own birthday (both this year and last).

Now to the other woman in my life! Clare (my PA) is a god-send with, it would appear, boundless energy, enthusiasm and good spirits. I could not have done so much without her efficient and effective control of my diary (and me for that matter).

Ever with an eye on the Equalities Act I must give grateful thanks to two men too: The Town Clerk for keeping me and the council on the straight and narrow legally and to the Reverend Rob Cotton (my chaplain) for doing similarly spiritually. That plus his pastoral care and quiet concern, making sure I wasn’t taking on too much.

At this point a thank-you on behalf of Jacquelyn to a past Mayoress Joan Fairhurst for her wise words and millinery support.

I must also thank all Knutsfordians and businesses large and small who joined in helping raise money for this year’s fund to support Knutsford GROW and St John’s Wood Lunch Club. Whether you baked or bought cakes at the ‘Cake Off’, competed or were in the audience of the ‘Talent Factor’, tried to ‘Win the Market’ at Christmas, simply gave a donation, ate for charity at Loch Fyne or The Old Sessions House or Gusto’s (and in some cases all three), bought raffle tickets, contributed to a street collection, took part in the pub quiz (we couldn’t have squeezed any more teams in) or ‘Rocked with the Mayor’ at the Ball, thank-you each and every one of you from me and on behalf of the two organisations concerned.

Which brings me to how much we’ve raised.

The fund to be split between the two organisations amounts to £9,067.62.

Additionally for Knutsford GROW (it being a charity whilst St John’s Wood Lunch Club is a good cause albeit an excellent one) I secured match funding for a couple of the things we did. This from a surprisingly shy organisation. A further £1,437.22 has been paid to Knutsford GROW directly making the total amount raised by Knutsford (not me) for the year £10,504.84.

Mr Mayor, in closing I wish you well. My Mayoress kept a memories’ box of things for me, your year will flash by, I recommend you do the same. In the year ahead, I am determined not to be an ‘Edward Heath’ figure. If anyone catches me doing so please do let me know.

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Trio of accolades for Knutsford

Knutsford received three accolades at the 58th Cheshire Community Pride Awards organised by Cheshire Community Action.

A Little Gem award was presented to Knutsford for the Knutsford Heritage Centre and its courtyard garden which had particularly impressed the judges. The Town also received a Highly Commended plaudit in the Community Website Market Town category for the Town Council Website. Knutsford was also runner up in the Best Kept ‘Village’ Category for parishes with 10,001 to 30,000 inhabitants.

Knutsford Town Mayor, Neil Forbes attended the awards ceremony alongside his wife the Mayoress Jacquelyn Forbes on 9th October at Congleton Town Hall to collect the awards on behalf of the Town.

Cllr Forbes said “it was an honour to attend the Cheshire Community Pride awards on behalf of Knutsford and see the Town receive such recognition for the Heritage Centre, the Town Council Website thanks to the work put in by the Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner and of course coming second only to Sandbach in the Best Kept ‘Village’ category for our population size. Knutsfordians can be very proud of these achievements.”

Neighbouring parishes Mobberley and Plumley with Toft and Bexton also received accolades on the night with Mobberley being Highly Commended in the new “Les George OBE award” Category for the best community Playing Fields for Hall Bank Playing Field which has recently been refurbished sympathetically within the Conservation area and proved to be a popular hub for the community.

Angela Atkinson, Vice Chairman of Mobberley Parish Council said “we are very proud to have been Highly Commended; this area is a peaceful little “oasis” within the village.”

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Mayor pays tribute to Cllr Clive Nicholson

It was with deep sadness that the Town Council announced the death of Cllr Clive Nicholson; who passed away on Thursday September 11th. The Knutsford flag was flown at half mast on the day of the announcement and will be flown again on the day of his funeral. The thoughts of all members and officers of the Town Council are with Clive’s family.

Town Mayor, Cllr Neil Forbes prepared the following eulogy:

“Clive was a hard working councillor who believed if something was worth doing it was worth doing well, especially when on behalf of the Knutsfordians he represented. Some might consider him a little old fashioned as he much preferred the personal approach of ‘phone calls and face to face meetings rather than the current ‘addiction’ of emails and being ‘glued’ to computer screens.

He enjoyed a robust discussion and would call a spade a shovel before metaphorically burying you with it if your argument was weak in committee or council meetings. However win or lose the debate he recognised it for what it was; politics and would always be happy to share a pint or two afterwards.

Clive’s previous experience as a senior local authority officer meant he had a wealth of experience to call upon as well as from being Mayor’s consort to Jan’. Clive and his sage words will be missed greatly. He will be a ‘hard act to follow’.”

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Great Knutsford Cake Off

Budding Mary Berrys and Paul Hollywoods put their baking skills to the test on Sunday 3rd August and entered the Great Knutsford Cake Off to raise funds for the Mayor’s Charity Knutsford Grow and good cause St John’s Wood Lunch Club!

The event organised by the Town Council raised over £240 both from entrants into the competition and from selling the cakes produced by the adult entrants to the public on a stall at the Makers Market on Sunday.

The Judges; Dave Mooney from New Moon Pub Company, Pippa Orford from sponsors Waitrose and Kane Gunter from Community Spirit and Knutsford GROW praised the quality of the entries particularly from those under 16.

Town Mayor Cllr Neil Forbes said “It was clear from the quality of the cakes entered into the competition that those taking part had spent considerable time and effort producing their creations and I am very grateful to them for doing so to help raise money for such worthwhile causes. I would also like to thank our judges, sponsor Waitrose and our supporters the Makers Market and Monckton Properties for their assistance in making the event possible. ”

There were two judging categories under 16’s and over 16’s and the winners were:

Under 16s

  • 1st Place Bella Manley with a Lemon Drizzle cake
  • 2nd Place Mia Wheatley with a Lemon & Thyme Loaf
  • 3rd Place Ellie Froggatt with a Caribbean Coconut Cake

Over 16s

  • 1st Place Jenny Gough with a Rainbow Cake
  • 2nd Place Stewart Gardiner with a Chocolate & Cola Cake
  • 3rd Place Sarah Flannery with a RHS Themed Victoria Sponge

The first placed winners in each category received a trophy and Waitrose vouchers with rosettes being presented to the 2nd and 3rd place entrants. All under 16 entrants received a certificate for entering the contest. Bella Manley also kindly donated her cake to be sold to help raise funds for the charities.

Photographs featured courtesy of Sam Benskin

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2014 Town Awards

Winners of the 2014 Town Awards

Winners of the 2014 Town Awards

The 2014 Knutsford Town Awards were presented on Civic Sunday, June 29th at a special awards ceremony following the Civic Service.

The awards scheme, which is run by the Town Council, aims to recognise the valuable work undertaken to the benefit of the Knutsford community. Following the success of the 2013 awards a new category was introduced for 2014 recognising those aged 21 and under with a Youth Award.

The ceremony was presented by Ian Cass representing The Forum of Private Business which sponsored the scheme.

The three Civic Awards, made to individuals or groups of individuals who have worked to the benefit of the Knutsford Community were presented first, followed by the Community Award, Youth Award and Business Award.

The first civic award was presented to Vivienne Pike for her contribution both locally and internationally to the development of young Knutsfordians through Scouting.

The second award went to Kevin Hollins for his dedicated service to the Knutsford Academy and its integration with the wider Knutsford community.

The final civic award was presented to Derek Empson MBE in recognition of his work with a number of community organisations including the Old Folks Club, Town Plan group and for developing the Community Emergency Plan.

The 2014 community award was presented to The Welcome for being the heart of the Longridge community and encouraging interaction through a wide range of activities and community groups.

The 2014 business award was presented to Stefanie Meachin of Gusto for their engagement with fellow traders creating positive spirit for visitors and the community with initiatives such as the Bunny Hop.

The inaugural youth award was presented to Emily May Walker for her work with the 2nd Toft Guides and wider girl guiding movement in Knutsford.

In addition to the awards there was also three commendations issued by the decision panel. The first two went to Val Bryant for her work with the Knutsford Heritage Centre and to Kane Gunter for his work with Community Spirit and other charities; both of whom narrowly missed out on winning a Civic Award.

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Market Transfer Documents Signed

The transfer documents for the Market Hall and rights to hold markets in Knutsford have been sealed by Knutsford Town Council. Following the transfer of the two toilet blocks in 2013, the Town Council have been working on the transfer of the Market Hall, outdoor market and market rights.

The documents were sealed by Town Mayor Cllr Neil Forbes and Deputy Town Mayor Cllr Tony Dean. Cllr Dean, lead member for the transfer of markets said “I am delighted that we have now signed the legal documents for the transfer with completion expected on June 30th”.

“We have plans to improve the Market Hall and promote the use of the market to the community. The Council will also be looking into re-invigorating the weekly outdoor market” said Cllr Dean.

Cllr Forbes added “This is another historic moment as the running of the market returns to Knutsford for the first time since 1974 and I look forward to working with my fellow councillors to improve the facilities just like we did with the public toilets”.

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Cllr Neil Forbes elected Town Mayor

Mayor Neil (small)I consider it an honour to be elected by one’s peers to be Mayor and a privilege to be Knutsford’s First Citizen. I hope I live up to your trust and expectations as expressed in our ‘Civic Protocol’ from which I note with a little trepidation I should “ .. seek to use my influence .. to stimulate community pride, encourage business and promote the voluntary sector.”

Unlike my predecessor I was not born in the town and have only lived here for some 23 years after moving 190 miles or so to Knutsford on a temporary basis with my work – it only took about a week before I decided to try to stay a bit longer than the originally planned four years. So I’m an incomer and unrelated to the town’s Mayor of 1986 – ‘7 whose surname I share.

I am indebted to my friend the late John Eden for introductions both to local government and to the person who was to become my wife and your new Mayoress. Jacquelyn has a longer Knutsford history than I do having been in two May Day parades herself.

This marks the start of my eighth year as a councillor; I’m hoping the experience I’ve gained during the last seven years will stand me in good stead for the year ahead.

Cllr Barbara Coan’s charity fund raising activities were supported magnificently by the people and businesses of Knutsford and has set the bar high for those that follow.

I aim to hit the ground running and with the support of the excellent Lisa (my PA) plan to publish a schedule of different events for the year ahead by the end of this month. With a range of accessible activities and costs, I hope something will appeal to everyone from the oldest to the youngest residents. So watch out for updates and announcements and, if you want to be ‘in with ‘in-crowd’ ’ and get the fastest news by email for ‘hot ticket’ items please send Lisa your email address to be added to the distribution list. (This commits you to nothing other than getting information and keeps our costs down.)

This brings me to the Knutsford charities and good causes I plan to support for my Mayoral year. I’ve been working in the third sector for the past nine years during which it has become clear to me that older people’s charities are the poor relations (especially small local ones) having no tear jerking posters and adverts to tug at our heart strings, perhaps because let’s face it, if we are lucky we will live to a ripe old age but don’t want to think about it too much. Now I’d be the first to agree I’m no poster boy but perhaps you can help-me-help by supporting all the events you can and encouraging others to do the same.

So with that in mind I’ve chosen one local good cause, St John’s Wood Lunch Club, and one local charity: Knutsford GROW

In addition to the serious council business, I’m hoping we can all have a great deal of fun and entertainment raising funds for them both – with your support we will.

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