Whit walkers prepare to step out

THOUSANDS of people are expected to take part in Chesterfield’s famous Whit Walks next Monday, which are thought to be the largest walks of their type in the country.

The procession of more than 25 churches of all denominations includes decorated floats, marching bands and Christian pop music.

Once the procession has left the town hall at 10am, it will follow a route into town along Knifesmithgate, Cavendish Street, Newbold Road, Queen Street, Tennyson Avenue, Rose Hill West and back to the town hall for singing. There will be entertainment, band music and refreshments both outside and in Eastwood Memorial Hall on Rose Hill.

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Chesterfield’s famous Crooked Spire will also be open during the day, and visitors can get views of the town from the top of the tower.

Meanwhile, entertainment in the town centre will include a Punch and Judy show and an outdoor games area.

Coun Nick Stringer, Chesterfield Borough Council’s executive member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “There’s plenty going on this special Jubilee Bank Holiday for all the family so I hope people will come and enjoy what’s on offer and support our local economy.”

The tradition of Whit Walks, or the “Procession of Witness”, can be traced back to Manchester at the turn of the 19th century.

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In times gone by, marches used to be attended by up to 30,000 Sunday school scholars and churchgoers.

Whitsunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter, takes its name from the practice of wearing white for christenings on the day.