Nar­row pave­ments – broad ap­peal

Meet some of the peo­ple who make Knutsford such a thriv­ing suc­cess story Cheshire Life: April 2019

Cheshire Life - - Knutsford - Mairead Ma­hon John Cocks

Vis­i­tors to Knutsford gen­er­ally walk along town cen­tre pave­ments in sin­gle file. That’s thanks to Lady Jane Stan­ley who stip­u­lated, when she paid for pave­ments in the 18th cen­tury that they must be nar­row enough to avoid the scan­dalous sight of a man and woman walk­ing to­gether side by side.

It doesn’t stop tens of thou­sands lin­ing the streets though to watch the an­nual Knutsford Royal May Day pa­rade, even though her la­dy­ship would be shocked! Apart from a break dur­ing World War Two, the pa­rade has taken place ev­ery year since 1864, gain­ing the pre­fix, Royal when the then Prince and Princess of Wales al­lowed them to do so.

‘We’re pretty proud of that and, as far as I know, we’re the only May Day Fes­ti­val that can call it­self Royal,’ says Eileen Pod­more, who helps to or­gan­ise the pa­rade and the 500 chil­dren it in­volves.

‘Touch wood, ev­ery­thing al­ways goes smoothly: even the year when we dis­cov­ered that the May­pole had gone miss­ing. We found another and that wasn’t an easy task,’ laughs Eileen who cer­tainly wouldn’t al­low a drop or two of rain to dampen the day.

The event costs over £35,000 to run and this year sup­port­ers in­clude the lo­cal Beer Fes­ti­val and traders from the Mar­ket Hall, a build­ing with a fair amount of her­itage it­self.

It’s home to Mor­gan Ed­wards,

‘As far as I know, we’re the only May Day Fes­ti­val that can call it­self Royal’

a fine wine and spirit com­pany run by Ed­ward Speak­man and Mor­gan Ward, two 27-year-olds who met while study­ing at uni­ver­sity and whose cus­tomers range from lo­cal celebri­ties to those who just want some­thing to re­lax with at the end of a long week.

‘Our wines are sourced from smaller vine­yards we have visited, so we are con­fi­dent when we rec­om­mend them to our cus­tomers,’ says Ed­ward who will also match wines to din­ner party menus.

‘We also pro­vide tast­ing events but one as­pect of our busi­ness that has re­ally bal­looned is of­fer­ing ad­vice on wines and spir­its as in­vest­ments. Of­fi­cial fig­ures state that £10,000 spent on fine whisky over the last ten years would have seen an in­crease of 582%: ports and cham­pagnes are gain­ing ground and best of all, you don’t need to spend a for­tune to get started,’ ex­plains Mor­gan who spends his spare time restor­ing and judg­ing vin­tage cars.

‘The only thing that could make my job bet­ter is to tour the vine­yards in one of those!’

James Broad, 23 and Haydn Mor­ris, 25, are another pair of friends who de­cided that go­ing into busi­ness to­gether would be a great idea.

‘Why not! We grew up in Plum­ley to­gether and we know ex­actly when to speak our mind and, just as im­por­tantly, when to re­main silent,’ laughs James who, with Haydn, have founded In­tique, a brand new way of sell­ing an­tique and vin­tage fur­nish­ings.

It pro­vides an on­line plat­form that al­lows deal­ers to form their own dig­i­tal shop front, de­vel­op­ing a per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with clients by deal­ing with them di­rectly.

‘It’s a mix­ture of old fashioned shop­ping – know­ing who you’re deal­ing with – and cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy and, be­tween us, we had great knowl­edge of both. I be­gan as a porter in a lo­cal auc­tion house, be­fore tak­ing to the ros­trum and Hay­den is a whizz kid with dig­i­tal de­sign. He has a Mas­ter’s de­gree in Ro­bot­ics

and worked with Fer­rari and Lam­borgh­ini,’ ex­plains James who is de­lighted that deal­ers from Pen­zance to Ed­in­burgh have joined In­tique, cre­at­ing a real buzz around it in its first year of trad­ing.

In­tique isn’t the only Knutsford busi­ness to at­tract in­ter­est from all over the UK. Less than a mile away, in her de­light­ful be­spoke Plum­ley stu­dio, is Sue Mor­ley, who runs Cre­ative Stitch­ers and who has won in­ter­na­tional prizes for her dress­mak­ing.

reg­u­lar fix­ture at Cheshire venues, in­clud­ing Tat­ton Hall, East Cheshire Hospice and, of course, the Knutsford Town Carol Ser­vice.

‘We also have four con­certs a year, March, June, Novem­ber and De­cem­ber and of course, our reg­u­lar singing days – our next one is in May – when we’re joined by singers from other choirs. It re­ally is huge fun, both for us and the au­di­ence. Yes, sore throats can be an oc­cu­pa­tional haz­ard but we’re a hardy lot; honey and lemon and maybe a lit­tle ex­tra some­thing can help but the show al­ways goes on,’ smiles Rose­mary.

Wendy Ar­shamian would agree with that. Wendy runs The Fuch­sia School of Dance, a lovely, happy, space which runs classes mainly in bal­let and tap; named af­ter the grace­ful ‘bal­le­rina’ va­ri­ety of fuch­sia.

‘Dance is a won­der­ful thing to do and we’ve made sure that the space is per­fect for us to teach and for stu­dents to en­joy,’ says Wendy who, with her highly qual­i­fied staff, was once a mem­ber of the Ira­nian Na­tional Bal­let Com­pany and who, as a Royal Academy of Dance Ex­am­iner, has trav­elled all over the world.

‘Our stu­dents – some of whom have gone on to be­come pro­fes­sional dancers – don’t have to take ex­ams though; we want ev­ery­one to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence, even our baby bal­let dancers who bring us so much joy. It’s hard not to smile when teach­ing them and so we al­ways do,’ says Wendy, who be­lieves that dance in­stils con­fi­dence, poise and, as the French say, a cer­tain je ne sais quoi; qual­i­ties that Knutsford – with its nar­row pave­ments – has in spades!

“It’s hard not to smile when teach­ing them and so we al­ways do”


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