NESTON is counting down the days to its most historic event to date when it celebrates the 200th anniversary of the annual Ladies Day Walk.
Dating from 1814, the Neston Female Society has organised the event on the first Thursday in June, apart from during the war years.
This year, the town will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the event and will see more than 200 children and around 60 adults line the streets and take part in the procession on June 5.
In the run-up to this auspicious occasion, Neston-based contemporary arts provider Hip & Harmony CIC has co-ordinated a Heritage Project, funded by Neston Town Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council’s local members and localities team.
The project has seen hundreds of members of the community taking part in a number of elements.
Workshops have been held in schools to compose the “It’s Ladies Day” anthem, which was recorded at the town hall by 100 local schoolchildren with Hip & Harmony’s artistic director, Paula Prytherch, songwriter Steve Daintree and producer Patrick Dineen.
The track will be made into a video, accompanied by photos of Ladies Day, and will be uploaded onto AboutMyArea Neston and YouTube over the coming days.
Research workshops have been undertaken at Neston Library, in conjunction with the Cheshire Archive and Library Service (CALs).
Members of the public were invited to help research the history of the Female Society and the annual walk and to help populate an exhibition which runs at Neston Library until the end of July.
A souvenir brochure has also been produced containing photos, memories, newspaper clippings and poetry celebrating 200 years of Neston’s special day. Award-winning local amateur dramatics society the Neston Players have written and produced a play to celebrate the bi-centenary – “A Walk Through Time (1814-2014)” – which is being performed at Neston Civic Hall from May 28 to 31.
Carrie Spacey, project manager for Hip & Harmony CIC said the day itself is set to be one of the busiest ever.
She said: “It is going to be a wonderful occasion. It’s always a very busy and popular day in the calendar, but this year promises to be especially well attended.
“Hundreds are expected to line the streets and take part in the procession, which starts as usual from the Malt Shovel in Liverpool Road at 2.30pm.”
Dignitaries will include the new mayor of Neston, Cllr Janet Griffiths, the Lord Mayor of Chester, the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire and the chairman of the Showman’s Guild of Great Britain.
Ms Spacey added: "The elements of the Heritage Project have been organised to dovetail with the event itself, so that everyone can enjoy the anthem, the bunting, the exhibition and brochure and the play over the course of the next couple of weeks.
"At Hip & Harmony CIC we all feel privileged to have had the exciting opportunity of working on all of this and we hope the results will make everyone feel very proud to be part of this great community of ours."