KNUTSFORD Royal May Queen Sophie Howarth described Saturday as one of the most exciting days of her life.

The 13-year-old Knutsford Academy student was the star attraction for the superb, colourful procession which wound its way through the town before Sophie was crowned on The Heath.

Saturday represented a dream come true for Sophie, who has taken part in the Royal May Day since the age of five.

She has been a number of characters, including a belly dancer, an ice skater and a circus girl, was a maid of honour in 2014 and last year was a Court Lady.

“Ever since I was four I have wanted to be the May Queen, but never thought it would be me,” she said.

“When I was chosen I was so surprised, and I am very honoured to be able to represent Knutsford as the May Queen of 2018, and am looking forward to performing my duties throughout this year and 2019.”

This year’s procession was greeted by glorious sunshine and crowds which lined the streets to watch the hundreds of children pass by, dressed as a multitude of characters, including figures from history, nursery rhyme characters, children of the world and circus performers.

The procession began at 2pm, with parents and family members eager to catch a glimpse of the May Queen as she emerged from the town council offices with her Court.

From Toft Road the procession was cheered on its way to Adams Hill, King Street, along Tatton Street and Princess Street, into King Edward Road, through Canute Square, to Manchester Road and on to the Heath.

Sophie took her place on The Throne to watch a military, ribbon and sword dances and an infant hornpipe display, before being crowned by the Crown Bearer Oliver Plant.

The crowning ceremony was followed by a Highland Fling, tambourine dance, Sailors Hornpipe, and a maypole dance, which drew sustained applause.

Sophie said: “I really enjoyed getting ready for the day, and the most memorable thing for me was waving at all the people.

“I have really enjoyed it – it’s been fun, and one of the most exciting days of my life.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in the May Day for making this special day possible and continuing in this amazing and rare celebration. Myself and my family will remember this day for the rest of our lives.”

Knutsford would not be the same without the town’s Royal May Day, said Steve Wilkinson, the May Day committee chairman.

He said: “Today has been an absolutely superb day – the weather has been great for us, and the highlight for me is always seeing the smiles on the children’s faces when they come out of Marshall’s Yard.

“May Day is for the children – that’s what we do it for – it’s not for us.

“Knutsford would not be Knutsford with the Royal May Day – that’s how I feel, but I think that also goes for a large number of people in the town.

"They enjoy the atmosphere the May Day generates, and I amazed at the number of people who still come and sit and watch the proceedings in the ring, a lot of who watched the procession.”

He praised the committee for ensuring the event ran like “a well-oiled machine,” while stressing the huge amount of organisation involved in putting the event together.

“People have no idea how much work goes into it throughout the year,” he said.

“We will get this May Day over, and some of the ladies and girls will be starting to plan next year’s event.

“They do it because they want to see it continue. We have younger ones coming along, and I believe the event can carry on as long as we can continue to find finance to support it.”