TRAVELLERS on Monday's Chester to Knutsford train got the first opportunity to meet The Universal Soldier, the leading man in this year's Knutsford Promenades.

Created by renowned Chester artist Russell Kirk, the soldier remained under wraps before making the journey to his new home town of Knutsford.

He was greeted at Knutsford station by the ladies of Brook Street Chapel dressed as nurses and members of the Women's League.

"We are taking part in the procession as part of the Knutsford Promenades and when we heard The Universal Soldier was coming to Knutsford on the train we thought we should welcome him with a cup of tea," said Beulah Cornes.

"The Brook Street Chapel rooms were used as a place where soldiers on leave or recuperating could come for a cup of tea, something to eat, or play cards, so it was lovely to share a piece of our history in this way."

The Universal Soldier will lead the Knutsford Promenades on Saturday, July 4 as master of ceremonies.

"It was great to see the Universal Soldier attracting such fantastic attention," said Promenades co-organiser Sarah Flannery, who was among the group travelling on the train.

"He clearly enjoyed his journey from Chester to Knutsford and we are very grateful to Northern Rail and the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association for making his travel arrangements.

"Seeing the welcoming party at Knutsford station was fantastic - it was especially fitting that Brook Street Chapel who provided care for our soldiers during wartime were on hand today with a cup of tea for our soldier."

The Universal Soldier is now, thanks to sponsors Bruntwood, resting at Booths Park One.

He will return to the town centre on Friday afternoon at 2pm before taking up residence in the Old Town. Hall, thanks to Tatton Estate Management, until the Knutsford Promenades on Saturday, July 4.

"We'd also like to thank Jake Nicol and Ed Stenhouse of Studio@Knutsford, part of the Knutsford Academy, who helped with our media coverage by videoing The Universal Soldier's arrival at Knutsford - the results can be found on our YouTube channel," said Julie Tempest, who handles the Knutsford Promenades PR and marketing.

Students from Knutsford Academy will celebrate his arrival at the Old Town Hall with poetry and song.

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