AT LEAST one of the beards was real when a group of 'monks' took a St Patrick's Day walk around Chester's Walls.

The event was organised by city businessman David Pickering who is seeking people interested in celebrating St Werburgh, the patron saint of Chester.

The stroll was a warm up for a bigger pilgrimage on June 17.

Mr Pickering and others plan to walk the route along which St Werburgh's bones were carried from Hanbury in Staffordshire to Chester in 907 AD for safe-keeping.

He hopes to create an annual Festival of St Werburgh.

The walk, to which both men and women were invited, included a pint of Guinness in the Dublin Packet.

Seven monks' habits were tracked down for the occasion.

Mr Pickering, director of Meadow Foods at Marlston-Cum-Lache, hopes 10-20 people will take part in the summer pilgrimage with 500-1,000 people joining the walk for the last couple of miles with a finale in Town Hall Square.

Anyone seeking further information can contact Mr Pickering by e-mailing

* This year is the eleven hundredth anniversary of the Translation of the Relics of St Werburgh to Chester, says the Cathedral.

Her relics were brought to Chester in order to protect them from marauding Danes and a church was built to house her shrine.

The later Benedictine monastery, founded in 1092, was dedicated to the saint and her shrine still stands in the Lady Chapel at the cathedral.