COSTUMES for Knutsford’s Royal May Day Festival were made in China because no local tailors could create them.

Ann de Ruiter, secretary of the committee, said the guards’ uniforms had to be shipped 5,000 miles from the Far East.

“It amazes me that we have to go so far away for these things,” she said.

Mrs de Ruiter had spent about two years searching for someone to make the guards’ uniforms.

But she could not find any local tailors would agree to make the costumes.

“They’re not around anymore,” said Mrs de Ruiter.

“I couldn’t get someone locally who made anything.”

Then Mrs de Ruiter spoke to her daughter, Melinda Gardner, who lives in Hong Kong, about the issue.

Mrs Gardner - who was Knutsford Royal May Queen in 1982 - suggested looking for a tailor in China.

The mother-of-two had been planning to visit the mainland anyway to help her learn the language.

She found a tailor in China, who took her on a tour of a fabric market.

Then one of the costumes was made by the next day.

Mrs Gardner’s husband, Neil, who works in banking, organised for the finished outfits to be shipped to England.

Organisers had kept the buttons from the old guards’ costumes.

They are now being sewn onto the new outfits.

“They look beautiful when the buttons are polished and put on,” said Mrs de Ruiter.

Knutsford Rotary Club donated £800 to the committee for new costumes.

So organisers are also searching for a tailor to make new outfits for the two sedan chair carriers.

But one local business said it would charge £550 for each of the two costumes to be made.

That did not take into account the cost of the materials.

So the committee would have to pay about £1,400 for the outfits to be made in this country.

“I nearly fell over when I was told,” said Mrs de Ruiter.

The committee has not yet had a quote from China for the costumes.

But they believe the outfits will cost about £400 from there.

Last year organisers also had to get the Royal May Queen’s crown from India.

Craftsmen in the UK had wanted to charge the committee £1,300 for the piece.

But the crown was eventually made abroad for £700.