HUNDREDS enjoyed the spectacle of Chester’s Winter Watch parade.

The event dates back to a 15th century tradition of ‘Setting the Watch’ – a ceremony held at Christmas when Chester’s early police force, the City Watch, were handed the keys of the city after checking it was secure.

There then followed a banquet and celebration of Christmas by the city leaders.

Today’s version welcomed back the City Watchmen, who are joined by a cast of angels, devils, fire skeletons, dragons and cooks with their Victorian Christmas dinner.

The parade was led by Karamba Samba as the ‘ghost band’, with fire-breathers, sword fights and music.

Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for communities and wellbeing at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “The Winter Watch is unique to Chester, sharing some characters from the Midsummer Watch parade and adding festive characters including Ice Queens and Jack Frost.

“There are two opportunities to watch the parade as it returns on December 15 to present a double bill with Chester’s Roman Legion for their torchlit Saturnalia parade”.

Once again, members of the Zion Tabernacle church brandished placards in protest at the skeleton and devil costumes on display.

Over recent years their actions have been branded ‘anti-social behaviour, but the church’s pastor David Carson denies his group are spoiling people’s fun. 

He previously told the Leader: “I don’t see how anyone can see anything fun about darkness, death and evil. There’s nothing nice about them.

“As part of the parade, there are demons and skeletons and other nightmarish things. We’ve seen children scared out of their minds.”