- The Friends of the Countess of Chester Country Park have been awarded a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to help them continue the work they do with the local community on their site. Over the last two years they have had a focus on trying to widen the appeal of the Country Park to more people by introducing more, and different, events and activities. The grant has already helped them purchase a second hand, refurbished ‘half’ container to store equipment in and now they can go ahead and buy in people to help them run a programme of free activities. Events etc will be focussed around The Friendly Bench, another project which they were successful in being chosen to be a part of last year. Andy Scargill, Chair of the Friends team said, “We have actually known that we had been successful in being chosen for the award for a few weeks now but it still made us feel really chuffed when we received the official email yesterday.” The Friends noted their excellent relationship with the Merseyside Branch of The Conservation Volunteers, and especially the Park’s Ranger Neil McMahon, saying that it has always been key to making the Country Park such a special place for so many people. This was recognised when the site was made joint winner in the ‘Most Inclusive Site’ category in the recent Land Trust Awards. At this same event the Secretary to the Friends team, Morag Scargill, was made Volunteer of the Year.
- Chester Bach Singers are getting in the festive spirit by staging two performances of seasonal favourites at St Werburgh’s Church in Chester city centre on Saturday 18th December at 3pm and 7pm. Speaking about the concerts, Choir Chair Helen Crich said “It is just wonderful to be back singing together indoors and to be able to present our traditional Carol Concert in the heart of Chester at St Werburgh’s, a beautiful church. We fully appreciate the very warm welcome we get from Father Paul and his congregation. We are delighted to be supporting two local charities at our events which some of our members are involved in, The ‘Greenway Grocer’ which delivers food to those in need via the greenway on a bike and Age Concern (Cheshire) . This Christmas will be special for so many people who were unable to be with their loved ones’ last year and for the choir to celebrate Christmas in song so come and join us on December 18th.” Tickets for both performances are available via www.tickettailor.com/events/chesterbachsingers (booking fees apply). Tickets will also be available on the door. The choir is also preparing to stage a workshop featuring Handel’s iconic Coronation Anthems in February next year. Led by musical director Martin Bussey, the workshop will be held at All Saints’ Parish Church in Hoole on Saturday 5th February. Anthems covered during the workshop include Zadok The Priest, probably the most famous and recognisable of Handel’s Coronation Anthems. Participants will have the opportunity to learn to sing several of Handel’s anthems before performing them in public at an evening performance. For full details visit www.chesterbachsingers.org.uk.
- Chester’s Grosvenor 76 Round Table have made a great start to this year’s Santa Float campaign with tours of Blacon , Huntington and Upton. The float comes complete with flashing lights, festive music and a snow machine and as usual is raising money for local causes. The Float will be in Boughton on the 14th, Handbridge on the 15th, 16th- Christleton and Waverton, 17th Hoole and Newton and finally Vicars Cross on Saturday the 18th. Santa’s movements can be tracked on the Round Table website at https://chesterroundtable.com/santa/ , donations can also be made via the site. Chester Round Table is a team of volunteers that focuses on men aged 18-45 with a spotlight on events that support mental fitness, community, teamwork and fun. In the past year the group have supported, to name just a few: Kidsbank, homeless charities, supporting victims of flooding, contributed towards a defibrillator in Saltney, CSASS, 2 local schools, and also purchased 100 Easter eggs for a local food bank.
- Cheshire West and Chester Council is asking for views on Chester’s Park & Ride service and are keen to attract more users to the service, aiming to reduce pollution and congestion as well as meeting their climate emergency plan. Currently offering a £1 special fare for Christmas, service users are invited to give their feedback at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/7PVJD3/
- The Christmas parade season which made a welcome return this year following the cancellation in 2020 concludes on Thursday with the Saturnalia parade. The parade leaves the Grosvenor Museum at 6.30pm after arriving in Eastgate Street where the Emperor Domitian will address his subjects. “Let none of you be mistaken, the Romans are still here, at certain times of the year you will see us marching once more through our fortress. Remember who and what I am. I am a sword that sings in the dark. I am the sound of a legion marching to war. I am the axe that thuds into your scull. I am accuser, judge and executioner. I am Imperator. I am a living God. I am Caesar. I am Rome” The Roman parade will meet with the Winter Watch parade at Town Hall Square for a final march through the city. Saturnalia was the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn. Saturnalia was originally celebrated in Ancient Rome for only a day on December 17 but it was so popular it extended to a week, from the 17 to 23 December, despite Augustus’ efforts to reduce it to three days, and Caligula’s, to five. It became one of the most popular Roman festivals. It was marked by tomfoolery and reversal of roles, with slaves and masters switching places. Clothing was relaxed and included the peaked woollen cap that symbolised the freed slave. A member of the familia (family plus slaves) was appointed Saturnalicius princeps, roughly, Lord of Misrule.
- The Chester Rows High Street Heritage Action Zone programme is said to be “progressing well” following pilot work carried out on two stall board and walkway areas on Bridge Street Row West. The work, overseen by Conservation Architect, Donald Insall Associates on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council is helping to guide the main programme of improvements to the walkways and stallboards that is due to take place from January 2022. Most of the work will be carried out by March, and some will continue through to September. Recclesia Limited has been selected as the contractor for the works, and it can now be agreed which areas will be tackled in which order. Not everything will be done all at once, and the priority is to maintain maximum access to the Rows whilst work is in progress. Donald Insall Associates has proposed a new colour scheme for The Rows’ paintwork. There are painted samples on display at the pilot scheme locations 8 (Part) and 16-18 Bridge Street Row West. The paint colours are selected from the ‘Dulux Heritage Range’: https://www.duluxheritage.co.uk/en/colours A spokesperson for Historic England said: “Chester’s Rows are waiting to be explored and by working with local people on the options for making them even more welcoming, we’ll help to reveal more of the fascinating history of Chester. Details about the Chester Rows High Street Heritage Action Zone and proposals are on the Chester Growth partnership website: http://chester.westcheshiregrowth.co.uk/projects/heritage-action-zone/ If you have any questions or comments about the proposals, or want to be added to the mailing list then email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Further new additions to Chester Market have been announced: Gator Pit offers a true taste of authentic Louisiana and South America food from Gumbo to Jambalaya; Vegan House offer a range of tasty 100 per cent plant-based cuisine and Pop Up Paysan, is an inviting wine bar with a vast selection for any wine connoisseur, building on the success of their Bridge Street venue. Retro Dojo is the market’s first vintage toys and gaming shop to buy and sell, which will guarantee to take you down memory lane. High Life Interiors showcases a niche selection of stylish furniture for the wow factor; and finally, the imminent return of Anime and Manga for all your favourite movie goods and collectables. The new market remains on track to open in summer 2022 , but units are still being let in the current building. Details of the traders selected for the new market will be shared in the “coming weeks” say the Council.
Finally, Happy Christmas from everyone here at the Chester Blog, thank you for reading and lets hope for an even better 2022 for Chester and us all!