A historic female society in a market town recovered from the excitement of its 200th anniversary to walk into its third century.
The 201st annual Ladies Day Parade in Neston saw the streets lined with spectators as the parade of hundreds of flower garland carrying young ladies and girls made their way to Neston Parish Church.
Founded in 1814, the town’s Female Society is the only surviving group of its kind in the country.
The day, held since Napoleonic times on the first Thursday in June, is the highlight of their year.
Ladies walk from the Malt Shovel on Liverpool Road to St Mary’s and Helen’s Church under their banner bearing the motto ‘Bear Ye One Another’s Burdens’ accompanied by children and local dignitaries.
A copy of the original ‘Neston Female Society’ charter hangs at the west end of the church.
Following a short service the walk continues to The Cross where an open-air service takes place with blessings and hymns and the singing of the national anthem.
The parade then makes it way to the Civic Hall where tea is served and members have their AGM.
Led by a pipe band the walkers processed under specially designed bunting that lined the route.
To enhance the traditional celebrations and encourage a festival atmosphere, the town centre was closed to traffic throughout the afternoon and a programme of street entertainment was organised by Hip & Harmony, the Community Activities in Neston group and the CH64 Event Group.
A stage was set up at the The Cross where the audience were treated to local performers including Hip and Harmony choir plus the Poppies and Swampdog Millionaires.
A fun fair also came to town.
The stars of the day as ever were the hundreds of little girls in their finest dresses maintaining the tradition dating back to the 19th century.
Neston Female Society’s 202nd annual procession will be held on Thursday June 3, 2016, from the Malt Shovel car park at 2.30pm.
Ladies who would like to join Neston Female Society in order to take part in next year’s walk can email to firstname.lastname@example.org.