KATIE Smith was crowned at this year's Knutsford Royal May Day after hundreds of people gathered for the annual procession.

More than 500 children set off from Marshall's Yard at 2pm today and were joined by the May Queen and her court at the Sessions House in Toft Road.

Readers can CLICK HERE to buy a selection of photographs that will be uploaded later this week.

A retired nuclear physicist blew his whistle for the final time at the start of Knutsford Royal May Day.

Bob Ingham, 77, got the procession underway in Marshall’s Yard at 2pm on Saturday.

The committee member has worn his familiar striped Bangor University blazer at dozens of Royal May Days.

But he said his age and health meant Saturday was the last time he would set off the procession.

“It’s my final one as chief starter,” he said.

“I’m passing the whistle on to someone new.”

Hundreds of people gathered for the 145th Knutsford Royal May Day procession on Saturday.

The sun shone again on the annual event.

Unfortunately, Emily Bowcock was unable to join the court as a lady in waiting.

She had broken her ankle before the event and had to be replaced by Amy Kemshead.

That left one less court lady to join the procession.

However, the rest of the day went ahead as planned.

Organisers had scrapped proposals to change the route to save money.

At about 1.30pm more than 500 children gathered in Marshall’s Yard for the start of the event.

Meanwhile, Katie Louise Smith, 12, and her court were getting ready at the Sessions House.

The Royal May Queen climbed into her carriage and told the Guardian that she was relaxed.

“My mum has been trying to be all organised,” said the Knutsford High School and former Egerton Primary School pupil.

“She’s quite calm now.

“It’s just really exciting and I can’t wait.”

The procession made its way along Toft Road and even a passing plane could not drown out the sound of the Warrington Pipe Band.

Katie and her court joined at the back and then made their way down Adams Hill and along King Street.

Tatton MP George Osborne was among the spectators.

His children, Liberty and Luke, were taking part in the event for the first time.

The pair were part of the circus group.

“They’ve been very excited about it for weeks,” said the Shadow Chancellor.

“It’s always fantastic, but it’s even more fun when your own children are in it.”

The Cheshire Wheelmen brought a Hobby Horse for the first time.

The guards also sported new uniforms, which had been shipped 5,000 miles from China.

Some of the other crowd favourites included the New Orleans Parade Band, an antique fire engine and the Leyland Morris Men.

The procession moved slightly slower than usual, which delayed proceedings.

But the children, decorated lorries, horses and drays and other participants eventually made their way along the streets to the Heath.

The spectators then enjoyed the hornpipe, sword, Dutch, Highland fling and Morris dances.

Altrincham Grammar School pupil Ben Sanders, 15, then crowned Katie the Knutsford Royal May Queen.

The proceedings finished with the traditional Maypole dance.

The entire event is expected to cost organisers about £31,000 this year.

PICTURES of Knutsford Royal May Day are now available to view and buy online at knutsfordguardian.co.uk For news, photographs, videos, readers’ pictures and comments about the event visit knutsfordguardian.co.uk/mayday MAY Queens’ dresses dating back 122 years are on display at Knutsford Heritage Centre off King Street.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a gown worn by Mary Howarth in 1887, when the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Knutsford’s Royal May Day.

The event will run until July 25 and coincides with the Three Shires Textile Festival.

For information call 01565 650506.

More photos, video and reports will appear on this website.

Remember to pick up your copy of the Knutsford Guardian for the souvenir pull-out, which will be filled with pictures and May Day information.

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