Primary School pupils will feature in a documentary broadcast to an audience of one billion people after a visit from a Chinese film crew.
The production team from China Central Television (CCTV) visited Macclesfield to film a documentary about the town’s silk heritage and its links with China.
During their visit the crew, from Beijing, filmed at Prestbury Church of England Primary School where children are working on a project exploring the centuries-old history behind the silk trade.
The crew also filmed at the town’s Treacle Market, and at the Silk Museum and Paradise mill.
The footage from Prestbury Primary School will be aired on the broadcaster’s children’s channel – the equivalent of CBeebies – around June 1 to mark International Children’s Day.
Hannah Hague, a teacher at Prestbury, said: “It was a real thrill for our pupils to be filmed for television in China. They have shown great enthusiasm for learning the silk history of our town and this has rewarded them for all the hard work they have put in.”
Another strand of the documentary, due to be broadcast on May 18 to coincide with the country’s ‘One Belt – One Road’ international trade conference, will feature an interview with Ron Smart, of R A Smart silk printers in Bollington.
In its heyday, Macclesfield saw some 70 silk mills operating, all contributing to an industry that employed more than 15,000 people in mills and weaving sheds in and around the town.
Councillor Hilda Gaddum, whose family-run business once had offices in China and continues to operate as silk merchants in Leek, said the documentary is a perfect opportunity to champion Macclesfield as ‘the end of the Silk Road’ – an ancient trade route from the East to the West.
She said: “This is a great opportunity for Macclesfield to build on its strong links with the silk trade in China.
“Macclesfield is viewed by many as the unofficial end to the silk routes from the Far East to Europe and the fact that we have companies continuing to produce silk products here is something of which we should feel truly proud.
“They celebrate the most eastern part of the Silk Road in Xi’an. I think now is the time to celebrate Macclesfield as being the most western point.”
The visit by CCTV was facilitated by the Manchester China Forum, Cheshire East Council and Graham Barrow, a Bollington-based heritage and tourism consultant who is promoting the concept of Macclesfield as the ‘end of the Silk Road’.