There’s a wonderful mix of old and new in Poynton
- Credit: Archant
From super shows, cracking creatives and fantastic foodies, they’re a stellar bunch in Poynton, writes Emma Mayoh.
Poynton, once a small place first settled by the Anglo Saxons, is now a thriving destination with super places to eat, good shops and a busy community. There are centuries old miners’ cottages and almshouses as well as new busy places of industry, a lively town centre and glorious countryside and waterways.
The delight of old and new in Poynton can also be seen in the shows it hosts each year. Poynton Show was first established in September 1885 with cottagers displaying flowers, fruit and vegetables. Since then the show has changed remarkably. These days there is much more to see and do, as well as those traditional elements that were first introduced.
Organisation for this year’s event, which takes place on August 26th, takes a full year to make sure everything runs smoothly at the showground at Poynton Park. This year’s event includes agriculture, horticulture and equestrian displays and competitions as well as an appearance by Titan the Robot, the Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers, a classic car and vintage machinery display and an eagle and vulture performance .
‘Titan the robot has been really popular and we know it will be again this year,’ said Nic, who has been a part of the show since he first attended, aged 13. ‘We’re so lucky to have people who love to support our wonderful show.
‘I’ve been involved for such a long time and it’s very special to me. I’m honoured to be a part of it. Show day falls on my birthday this year so it will be an extra special way to celebrate for me.
‘We’re so pleased and proud of the way the Poynton people come along and show their support for the show, whether that be helping organise or enjoying the event as a visitor. It takes 90 people to make the event happen which is a lot. But it’s worth the hard work. It’s a great family event.’
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Another show in the town is a little newer. The Higher Poynton Summerfest is organised by a dedicated group of local volunteers. They took on the running of the event after local council rangers were not able to hold their regular open days in the area due to finding cuts. The show takes place on the Middlewood Way, on the platform and railway line of the old Higher Poynton Railway Station as well as on a connected playing field. There will be stalls, music, a dog show, displays and entertainment for all ages.
‘This year’s event is going to be bigger and better than ever,’ said Carol Clarke, part of the organising committee. ‘We get funding from the town council but we want to work towards being self funding.
‘It’s a lot of work but is good fun. When you see everyone enjoying themselves it is such a lovely thing, all of the hard work is worth it.’
Carol and her fellow organisers will be hoping for good weather this year as last year’s show had to be cancelled at the final hour due to torrential downpours that flooded the site. The event, which takes place on July 9th, is to provide a great community event as well as to encourage people into another part of the town.
Carol said: ‘It was such a disappointment but I’m feeling confident things will work out for us this time. We work really hard to make it a success.
‘We want people to realise that Poynton is up here too and encourage people to explore this part of town more. Hopefully we are doing this as well as putting on a great event for the community.’
There are also people using creative ways to contribute to the community. Ceramic artist Caroline Tattersall set up Poynton Pottery in 2013 after moving back North from London where she had a studio and taught ceramics.
Now, as well as having her own studio in Poynton Community Centre she also has another, Clay, in Hulme in Manchester and shares studio space with other artists in Salford. Her work has won critical acclaim from several organisations and last year she was awarded a prize at the prestigious competition at the European Museum for Ceramics in Germany.
She hosts several workshops and courses which are well supported by the local community. She loves being a part of a smaller place where more of an impact can be made.
‘I really enjoy what I do as an artist,’ said Caroline, who grew up in nearby Hazel Grove. ‘But I also love sharing my skills with other people. I teach people with a real mixture of abilities and it’s great fun.
‘It’s not just about the making, though. It’s about socialising with different people. I have women who come here who are carers or widowed and being here is a positive experience for them.
‘Poynton is a lovely place that is so friendly. Coming from London, I really love that everyone knows each other and looks out for each other.’
For experienced chef Karl Bittner, coming to Poynton was an opportunity to realise his long held dream of opening his own restaurant. Last October the 43-year-old and partner Carrie launched UBAgene - a restaurant, smokery and grill that offers fantastic food with an American theme. Karl, drawing on his work as a pastry chef has also devised a super afternoon that has already built a local following.
Karl has already spent 28 years of his career working at prestigious restaurants and hotels including Champneys in Hertfordshire, The White House in Prestbury, Harvey Nichols in Manchester, Aubaine in Selfridges as well as spending several years working in top places in Spain. But being able to own his own restaurant was something he always wanted to do.
The talented chef, who admits launching near winter made for a slow start, he is now confident of support from the Poynton community so he can extend and expand what UBAgene offers.
‘It’s been a really steep learning curve for us but we’re the better for it,’ he said. ‘Winter is a quiet time in Poynton but some summer people seem to eat out a lot so I’m hoping that people will be drawn to us.
‘I’ve got big plans and I would love to make Poynton a huge success. Then hopefully it could be a starting point for other UBAgene’s across the north west.’