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Neston Ladies Club Day 2014 - 200 Reasons to Celebrate!

Author: Carrie Spacey Published: 6th June 2014 15:06

With the brand new bunting fluttering in the light breeze and some welcome sunshine to greet the crowds, it was the day that had been anticipated for a long time.

Full report of Neston Ladies Club Day 2014, including photos and videos.

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by David Sejrup.

200 years on from the founding of the Neston Female Friendly Society and its annual Ladies Club Day Walk, thousands had come to either take part in or to observe the longest procession in living memory.  Around 230 children walked, along with over 60 adult members of the Society. 

They were joined by special guest Beth Tweddle MBE - the country's most successful gymnast in history, along with the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, Mrs Joëlle Warren DL representing the Queen and accompanied by Michael Darby; the Lord Mayor of Chester, Cllr Bob Rudd; the Mayor of Neston, Cllr Janet Griffiths and the President of the Showmens Guild of Great Britain, David Wallis. Also participating in the walk were Cheshire West and Chester Councillors Louise Gittins, Kay Loch and Andy Williams along with members of the local clergy and senior staff from Neston High School.

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by David Sejrup

The sheer volume of colour was almost overwhelming - the beautiful dresses and flowers augmented this year by several people wearing period costume, including some of the cast of Neston Players' production 'A Walk Through Time' which had been performed last week as a tribute to the 200th Anniversary.

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Some members of Neston Players walked in costumes from their production of 'A Walk Through Time.'

Earlier in the day, preparations were documented by BBC Radio Merseyside, broadcasting live all morning from Elephant Coffee in Neston High Street.  Amongst those interviewed were outgoing Hon.Secretary of Neston Female Society, Robert Halsall, and his successor, Martin Barker; Paula Prytherch and Carrie Spacey from Hip & Harmony CIC, who have co-ordinated the Heritage Project on the run up to the day;  CAN Group's Eileen Miller and Zaria Shreef; historian Ed Hilditch; Gerald Benson - writer of 'The Pride of the Banner'  (which features in the souvenir brochure) and Neston Female Society committee members including current Lady Patroness Rose Cornah, Betty Evans and youngest committee member Bethany Halsall Mclaughlin.  The Heritage Project anthem, 'It's Ladies Day' was played on the show, which closed with an accomplished live performance of the song 'A Walk Through Time' by Steve Daintree and members of the Hip & Harmony Adult Community Choir.

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Radio Merseyside's Sean Styles pictured with Hip & Harmony CIC's Paula Prytherch and soloists from the anthem, 'It's Ladies Day.'

As part of the Heritage Project, which was funded by Neston Town Council and Chshire West and Chester Council, a team of volunteers worked with Neston Library and Cheshire Archives and Local Studies to research the history of the Female Society, to populate an Exhibition currently being hosted at the Library until the end of July.  Some of them had also set out to find the graves of founder members of Neston Female Friendly Society. Before the parade, representatives of the current Female Society Committee placed flowers, donated by Sainsbury's in Neston, on the graves of ten of the founder members: Ann Schroeder (Williams), Rebekah Parr, Jane Downward (Woodward), Elizabeth Gardner (O'Loughlin), Jane Browne, Mary Browne, Arabella Monk (Bankes), Esther Monk, Arabella Mawdesley and Mary Bond.

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Members of the Neston Female Society committee placed flowers on the graves of some mof the founder members. Photo by Linda Pelling

At the Malt Shovel, children were presented with their commemorative 200th Anniversary medals by Beth Tweddle, before being organised into the longest procession anyone present could remember.  As the parade finally set off, the sun came out as if by arrangement and thousands lined the streets of the town centre to watch.

The BBC filmed proceedings, for bulletins on the North West news segments at lunchtime and teatime.

CAN Group and the CH64 Events Group put on a programme of entertainment to add to the traditional aspects of the day.  A stage and PA system were installed at The Cross, roads were closed for the afternoon and the crowds enjoyed the talents of several nostalgia-themed acts and local performers: Night & Day, the Mersey Belles, Hip & Harmony Adult Community Choir, Steve Daintree, Linda Pelling, Emily Walmsley, Aaron Bladen and Little Actors Theatre Company.  The Mersey Morris Men added a welcome splash of colour with their stomping beats and bells.  Roy Wilson served as MC to keep everything moving along in between the all-important traditional elements of the day.

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Mersey Belles - just one of the many entertainers on the day. Photo by David Sejrup

The stage and PA also ensured that the service of blessing at the Cross could be properly viewed and heard, along with the voices of the Church Choir and the traditional singing of the National Anthem.  Services were led by Rev'd Alan Dawson, with his predecessor, Rev'd Neill Robb, making a welcome visit 'home' for the day.  The Mayor of Neston, Cllr Janet Griffiths, read out a message of congratulations from the Duke and Duchess of Westminster.

As well as being significant as the 200th Anniversary, this year's Ladies Club Day was to be the last with Robert Halsall serving as Honorary Secretary of the Female Society.  He officially handed over to his successor, Martin Barker, at the AGM held in the Civic Hall.  He was presented with a commemorative watch and plaque by the Female Society and received many plaudits from the dignitaries present as each gave a short speech.  Later, at the Brown Horse, Robert's friends presented him with the 'Key to Neston' along with a Legends Tour of his beloved Anfield and a cast-signed programme from Neston Players' 'A Walk Through Time.'  A further tribute was paid by his long-time friend Michael Wallis, on behalf of the owners of the fair.

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014David Wallis, Martin Barker and Robert Halsall during the Female Society AGM at Neston Civic Hall.

During the day, Andy 'Dimeone' Birch transformed the Brook Street side wall of the Brown Horse with a fabulous 200th Anniversary mural - a lasting pictorial memory for all to enjoy.

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Andy 'Dimeone' Birch created a commemorative mural on the side of the Brown Horse building in Brook Street.

As the roads re-opened many flocked to the ever popular fair, as others enjoyed a beverage or two in the town's pubs.  There was an unmistakeable collective feeling that this year's Ladies Club really had been (to quote from 'It's Ladies Day') the best one in history.  A job very well done by all and a tribute to the people of Neston for continuing to engage with this unique annual event.

Photos

Here is an exceptional photograph taken by Dave Bladen (Elite TV & Video) with his brand new quadcopter camera - spotted flying high over the town centre by Brian Macdonald (photo underneath):

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Huge thanks to contributing photographers Linda Pelling, Bernard Rose, David Sejrup, Steve Ebbrell, Brian Macdonald and Rob Clive.

Photographs of Beth Tweddle presenting the children with their commemorative medals can be viewed here. You will also find information on how to order prints or electronic copies. Those photos will also be on display in the window of the former Cubbins shop in the High Street in the next few days.

Here is a selection of shots of the day, followed by access to a gallery on our Flickr feed.

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Bernard Rose

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Rob Clive

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Rob Clive

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Jamie Maxwell

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Linda Pelling

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Linda Pelling

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Linda Pelling

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Steve Ebbrell

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Jamie Maxwell

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Jamie Maxwell

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Jamie Maxwell

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Rob Clive

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by David Sejrup

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Rob Clive

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Steve Ebbrell

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014Photo by Rob Clive

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Neston Ladies Day 2014The finished mural, l-r Andy Birch, Terri Leahy and Robert Halsall.

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

Thank you to Rob Clive for being in exactly the right place at the right time to capture this:

Neston Ladies Club 2014

To view all our general photos of the day, click on the image below:

Neston Ladies Club Day 2014

See also: Neston Ladies Club Day 2014 - Official Photos

Videos

Here is Kiran Fulton's Documentary of the occasion. 

If you are viewing on a mobile device you may need to click here to see the video.

Thank you to David Sejrup for allowing to share the following video of the day with our readers. 

If you are viewing on a mobile device, you may need to click here to see the video.

An additional video, with amazing 'eye in the sky' footage, has now been uploaded by Dave Bladen (Elite TV & Video) here.

Neston Ladies Day Heritage Project
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Comments

Baz
At 21:43 on 6th June 2014, Baz commented:
Woooooow great day and night. Well done all you did us proud.
Tony
At 22:47 on 6th June 2014, Tony commented:
Very proud and impressed after yesterday's parade. I have to say I was a bit suspicious about adding entertainment and that but it really did work. We can't all get into the church so it was good to have things going on to entertain people in the gaps between the walking. Really good to have the BBC taking an interest and the newspaper coverage has finally woken up though I suspect it will not quite reach the quality of what we get with this website. Loved hearing the songs written for the day and made me feel proud to live here. So what's in store for the 250th then?
Minnie
At 19:12 on 7th June 2014, Minnie commented:
What a fantastic day!!! Congratulations and many thanks to all who we're involved in organising this great day!!
Rob Ward
At 11:33 on 9th June 2014, Rob Ward commented:
Thanks to all those who organised Ladies Day 200 - it was brilliant! A lot of work went into the dresses and flowers, and the procession was amazing. Alan Dawson coped well with the mix of religion and entertainment. The loudspeakers were better than last year (but somebody suggested that next time speakers could face different directions so more people could hear). Andy Birch's mural livens up Brook Street. Some folk came at 5.30 p.m. after work and wanted the entertainment to go on longer.
Thanks to Carrie and all the photographers for the pictures.
cangroup
At 14:52 on 11th June 2014, cangroup commented:
It was an amazing amount of work by a lot of people but it was worth it. Talk about a community coming together, definitely the best Ladies Day and worthy of the 200th anniversary of this unique Neston event. CAN Group are so pleased to have been a part of the celebrations, thanks to all involved and to our special CAN volunteers who helped with the bunting and stave workshops and the entertainments on the day.
We love the mural - thanks to Terri and Alan at the Brown Horse for letting us paint their wall, and thanks to Neston Town Council for funding the entertainment on the day.
Recte Numerare
At 16:18 on 12th June 2014, Recte Numerare commented:
Really brilliant day and well done everyone. Neston at its best. I think the mural is great and a credit to Brook St. (You all know me - little else in Brook St shines - even the sign was nicked....) I thought you might like to know that flying a quadrocopter comes under the Air Navigation Order and should not be flown within 50m of persons or buildings not under your control. Big fines, serious stuff all sorts of insurance problems and malarkey. Read about it on http://www.quadcopters.co.uk/unmanned-aerial-photography-videography-guide-30-w.asp
I am surprised that our local police did not wade in, but then their colleagues in Liverpool did manage to ditch a £70,000 one in the Mersey.....

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