‘Unsung stories’ of Turing and more come to life as Knutsford celebrates Heritage Open Days

A FOUR-DAY celebration of Alan Turing’s legacy held in Knutsford has been W hailed a resounding success by organisers at Knutsford Promenades.

With more than 50 events taking place across town as part of Heritage Open Days – a nationwide celebration of history and culture – Knutsford took centre stage by hosting one of four commissioned projects.

In line with HODs’ LGBT theme of ‘Unsung Stories’, the infamous Regina v Turing and Murray trial at Knutsford’s crown court was brought to life as a performance orchestrated by RE-DOCK.

Visitors in their hundreds took the chance to watch three live productions of the trial in the very building it took place 65 years ago, while more took advantage of a virtual reality experience of the court proceedings.

Turing-themed events took up almost half of the Promenades’ programme, with highlights including Sir Dermot Turing and Rob ‘Judge’ Rinder speaking as part of a ‘Salon’ event at The Courthouse.

Feedback from the TV judge said: “Knutsford Heritage Open Days gave Alan Turing back to us all.”

Celebrating the renowned codebreaker’s legacy, other events included Turing’s Mechanical Calculator at Tabley House, cocktail ‘mixology’ at The Lost and Found, artificial intelligence golf and Run Knutsford’s ‘Turing 2:46’ event in honour of his best marathon time.

The Grade I-listed Brook Street Chapel – home to the grave of Elizabeth Gaskell – displayed the Quarter Sessions records.

Sarah Flannery, founder of Knutsford Promenades, said: “I am happy beyond words to see such a huge undertaking succeed. From the simple idea of exhibiting the Quarter Sessions records of Regina v Turing and Murray in the very court room of the trial, the potential to tell the full story of an extraordinary man and his legacy, and the impact of an event that took place here in Knutsford, unfolded into a town-wide celebration curated into a 54-event festival that revealed fresh insights into Turing, Murray, and other aspects of our heritage and culture.

“Its success is thanks to the generosity of Cheshire East Council and our sponsors, the support and participation of local venues, organisations and individuals who opened sites and put on events and displays, the guest speakers for the ‘Salon’, the cast and creative team of Regina v Turing and Murray, national HODs, The Courthouse, Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, volunteers who helped with social media and the website, the Knutsford Hosts and Lions, town council officers and of course the visitors from Knutsford, Cheshire and beyond who turned up in their thousands.

“I do feel that this is the story I wanted to tell. Thank you, everyone, for giving us a festival to remember.”

A number of Knutsford’s famous historical buildings were also open to the public as part of the Promenades’ programme.

Umbrella volunteer scheme Knutsford Hosts continues growth with Altrincham expansion

KNUTSFORD Hosts, the community volunteer initiative, has caught the eye of a neighbouring town with Altrincham kick-starting a similar scheme.

The Knutsford group, which celebrated its third anniversary and signed its 85th member in March, helps and supports charities and organisations across town.

As well as working with organisations within the town, the founders of the Knutsford group are now helping Altrincham Unlimited – the town’s business improvement district – launch its own programme.

Knutsford Host founder Sarah Flannery said: “It’s so exciting to see that Altrincham Unlimited is launching Altrincham Hosts.

“Since we launched with the simple but unique idea of having a town-wide resource of community volunteers to promote the town and support our many events, local organisations and charities, we’ve made a huge contribution to our town.

“It’s a testament to the incredible efforts of our 85-strong team that Altrincham has seen the value of adopting a similar scheme to support their vision of greater community engagement and a reinvigorated local economy.

“We’re really looking forward to helping them launch Altrincham Hosts.”

Katie Bland, BID Manager for Altrincham Unlimited, said: “The BID here in Altrincham is committed to supporting positive community engagement, a united spirit and pride in Altrincham.

“We have seen how the Knutsford Hosts scheme is such an inclusive and friendly volunteering group that supports a number of excellent events, organisations and causes that bolster the local Knutsford economy but that also embraces a diverse group of people.

“This is why we’re spearheading the launch of Altrincham Hosts, with the support and guidance of our friends in nearby Knutsford.”

Welcoming the expansion of the scheme, David Briggs, Lord- ieutenant of Cheshire, said: “Knutsford Hosts is an outstanding initiative which links people who care about helping their local community with worthwhile projects and good causes.

“The result is a win for both the Hosts and the community.”

Middlewich Town Council is also in early discussions to launch a Middlewich Hosts initiative.

Hosts mark three years of helping town’s groups with ‘birthday’ celebrations

Hosts mark three years of helping town’s groups with ‘birthday’ celebrations

KNUTFORD’S town-wide volunteering scheme celebrated its third birthday in style last week, with an event at Cottons Hotel and Spa.

Knutsford Hosts, which helps and supports charities and organisations across town, welcomed a range of special guests, including representatives from Middlewich and Altrincham, and Tatton MP George Osborne.

The event on March 24 saw the Hosts thanked by representatives of the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, Royal May Day, Knutsford Lions, and also by Knutsford Rotary for their support with the Knutsford Jog.

Hosts co-ordinator Sarah Flannery said it was wonderful to see almost 50 hosts enjoying the quarterly get-together and hear from some of the organisations they are helping this year.

She said: “The Hosts continue to go from strength to strength and we welcomed eight new Hosts, including the 85th to sign up, Daren Andrews.

“We were delighted that George Osborne MP, who has been an honorary Knutsford Host since we started the scheme, was able to attend and present the badges.

“As our numbers grow, so too does the number of community organisations and events that we’re asked to help.

“As a community volunteering resource for the whole town, we’re looking forward to supporting Royal May Day, the Lions Centenary Fair, the Tabley House collection, RHS Tatton, CAFT’s Open Day and a whole host of other activities in the forthcoming months.”

The scheme also welcomed its 85th host, Daren Andrews, along with Kathy Urwin, Julie Crawford, Nicola Roberts, Valerie Kilby, Miriam Sala, Joanna Wallens and John Smethurst.

George Osborne said: “The Knutsford Hosts do a fantastic job of promoting our town and ensuring visitors and residents alike receive a warm welcome. I am honoured to be a member and will continue to work closely with them to fly the flag for Knutsford.”

Hosts treated to Peover trip ahead of busy Autumn period

KNUTSFORD Hosts were on the receiving end when they were treated to a private tour of Peover Hall and high tea courtesy of Henry Brooks from the Tatton Estate.

“It’s been an exceptionally busy year so far for the Knutsford Hosts as we’ve volunteered for a huge range of charities and events from RHS Tatton and Knutsford Heritage Open Days to the Lions Street Fair and the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust open day,” said Sarah Flannery, Hosts co-ordinator.

“So we were delighted when Henry, one of our Knutsford Hosts, offered this lovely chance for us to have a social afternoon learning all about the fascinating history of Peover Hall and relaxing over tea and cakes in the sunshine.”

Henry said: “Cheshire is very lucky to have some fantastic volunteer organisations and the Tatton Estate were delighted to be able to support Knutsford Hosts in a small way by giving their volunteers a tour of the Hall and Gardens with refreshments in the Park House Tea Rooms as a thank you to recognise their contribution.”

The Hosts have a busy autumn and winter ahead as they will be volunteering at the Knutsford Beer Festival, the Pumpkin Path, the town’s Christmas weekend and lantern parade.

“We will also be supporting the Lions Christmas collection and the Tatton Yule Yomp and various other local projects,” said Sarah.

For more information about Knutsford Hosts, visit knutsfordhosts.co.uk

BBC DJ gives his support to Knutsford Heritage Open Days

FLYING the flag for Knutsford Heritage Open Days, starting today,Thursday, is BBC Radio 6 Music DJ and Knutsford resident Mark Radcliffe.

Organisers of the four-day town-wide festival which starts today, Thursday, September 8, to Sunday, September 11, the Knutsford Promenades Community organisation, were delighted to be awarded a special flag by national Heritage Open Days organisers.

“We were one of just 14 events out of more than 5,000 sites and events showcasing heritage across England recognised for making a stand out contribution to the Europe and Us theme,” said Sarah Flannery.

Europe & Us is a summer and autumn National Trust programme celebrating and exploring the UK’s European historical, political and cultural links.

“Establishing links with the Danish Consul, a local Danish network, and the Danish school, Solbjergskolen, as well as the support of Rotary International in Knutsford, has added so much 2016 interest to our celebration of the Canute legend dating back to 1016,” said Sarah.

Mark Radcliffe was delighted to be invited to raise the flag on the Moor.

“I love living in Knutsford so much and it’s great to be part of celebrating its heritage,” he said.

“I may only have lived here for three years but I can’t imagine ever calling anywhere else home.”

Canute’s Crossing takes place on Saturday, September 10 from 2pm to 4.30pm when people will pay homage to the legend by crossing the River Lily alongside the Chester Vikings who will be giving Knutsfordians a feel for life as a Viking.

This is just one of the 34 sites and events which make up Knutsford Heritage Open Days’ extensive programme ranging from the special opening of the Royal George Ballroom, immortalised as Elizabeth Gaskell’s Assembly Rooms in her novel ‘Cranford’, to the ‘Value Your Valuables’ take on Heritage Open Days’ ‘Treasure Your Treasures’ theme when auctioneer Adam Partridge hosts his own antiques and curios roadshow at Don Giovanni’s King Street restaurant.

“So many groups including the Gaskell Society, Brook Street Chapel, the Tabley House Collection, numerous individuals and businesses who own some of the town’s most iconic buildings, have come together to make this a true community festival,” said Sarah.

“All the details about the four-day event can be found on our website, here.

“So many things are happening including a chat about Alison Uttley’s children’s books, the secrets of Victorian Beauty, music from 1,000 years ago at St Cross Church, sampling a Taste of Cranford with recipes from Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel – even the chance to dance in the Royal George Ballroom. There’s something for everybody to enjoy celebrating Knutsford’s heritage.”

Knutsford Hosts get ready to support RHS at Tatton

Knutsford Hosts get ready to support RHS at Tatton

from left to right, Vicky Wilby, Tatton Park marketing manager with Knutsford Hosts Dee Griffiths, Sarah Flannery and Gaynor Evans.

FORTY Knutsford Hosts will be promoting the town at this years RHS Tatton Park Flower Show – double the number who supported Knutsford, Tatton Park and the RHS in 2015.

Knutsford Hosts is the town-wide volunteer group which acts as ambassadors to promote the town and provides support for events, organisations and charities in the town.

“In just two years we have gone from launching the scheme and working with six organisations, to welcoming our 70th host and working with more than 30 organisations, community groups and charities,” said Sarah Flannery who founded the scheme which is now a community association run by volunteers for volunteers.

“This year the Hosts have worked closely with the fantastic RHS and Tatton Park teams to coordinate more than 40 volunteers who will be supporting this fabulous, premier annual event.

“We’ve been invited to help with the gate, the Talks Theatre and the Tatton Park show garden and we’re looking forward to giving visitors a warm Knutsford welcome – and many reasons to return!”

Carole Mullineux, Tatton Park business development manager, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Knutsford Hosts for the third year running.

“The RHS Tatton Park Flower Show brings benefits for the local economy though tourism but also, as the Hosts partnership illustrates, builds upon existing strong community links between Tatton Park and Knutsford.”

For more information about the Knutsford Hosts visit knutsfordhosts.co.uk, follow @knutsfordhosts or like us on Facebook.co.uk/knutsfordhosts

Volunteers sign up for Knutsford Hosts befriending scheme

VOLUNTEERS are helping to reduce the problem of loneliness experienced by nursing and care home residents.

The first volunteers have enlisted for the Knutsford Hosts-inspired senior citizens’ befriending scheme.

In March the Knutsford Hosts launched a visiting scheme to help address the issue of loneliness for residents of Sharston House nursing home and Sunrise of Mobberley care home.

“The idea was simple,” said Sarah Flannery, chairman of Knutsford Hosts.

“We wanted to create a pool of volunteers so that both homes receive visitors every week.

Hosts mark second birthday helping Knutsford groups

THE Knutsford Hosts, the town-wide volunteer group which acts as ambassadors to promote the town and provides support for Knutsford’s events, organisations and charities, celebrated its second birthday at the April Makers Market.

Thanks to a contribution from Equilibrium Asset Management, visitors enjoyed a piece of birthday cake whilst finding out more about the Hosts and their plans for the next 12 months.

“It was fantastic to be able to celebrate our second birthday at the Makers Market,” said Sarah Flannery, who set up the Knutsford Hosts.

“It is so good of the Makers Market team to provide community stalls and, thanks to a generous donation from Equilibrium Asset Management, we had lots of birthday cake to offer visitors to our stall.

“The atmosphere was brilliant and the street was packed, so we had a marvellous day. We were overwhelmed by people expressing an interest in becoming Hosts and supporting the work we do.

“And people from out of town said they wished that they had a similar scheme where they lived!

Colin Lawson, managing partner of Equilibrium Asset Management, said: “We have always believed strongly in supporting the communities we work in, so we are delighted to be able to support the fantastic work that the Knutsford Hosts do in the local community.

“As part of our 21st anniversary plans we are embarking on a ’21 days of giving’ campaign – which has a goal to raise £21,000 for charities chosen by our staff and clients. It is great to be able to support the Knutsford Hosts with their own celebrations to mark their second birthday and we look forward to working with them on future projects that they undertake in the area.”

For more information about the Knutsford Hosts visit knutsfordhosts.co.


Happy Birthday! We’re two today!

It was a ‘mad’ March for the Knutsford Hosts!

March was a busy month as the Hosts volunteered to help the Friends of the Moor and the Friends of the Heath with their litter picks in support of the Clean for the Queen campaign.

We also helped with the annual Marie Curie Daffodil collection day at Booths supermarket.

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