Thursday, March 31, 2011

Town Crier Appointed

Five town criers from all over the North-East descended on Saltburn on Saturday, 19th March to support the choosing of the resort’s new crier.
"What a treat to have other criers with me," said Sharon Wilson, the only applicant for the voluntary job.
Onlookers gathered round the station portico, attracted by the bell-ringing and shouts of the five criers. Dressed in a top hat and frock-coat, Philip Thomson, chairman of the group of volunteers coordinating events during this year to mark the 150th anniversary of Saltburn’s birth, thanked the visitors for coming to support the event.
All were dressed in their colourful regalia and each performed a “oyez, oyez!” message proclaiming the attractions of their home town. These ranged from Alnwick to Batley via Darlington and Richmond.
Barry Heap, North-east representative of the Loyal Company of Town Criers, was asked for tips on the work by Sharon, who performed the role in Saltburn in the 1980s and 90s. “Shout slow and low,” he said.
Sharon tried out her piece. "This is a competitive event. The decibel levels are a factor, but personality may be a determining point," she shouted before telling the crowd about the 150th celebrations. She called on everyone in the town to take part. "God save the Queen!" she concluded.
Mr Thomson invited the crowd to show if they approved Sharon’s appointment. A shout of approval rang out.
He also invited the visitors to return on Wednesday, 17th August, the main celebration day.
Thai steel company SSI have presented Saltburn with an engraved bell for the town crier. It was one of the ways in which the firm marked the formal signing of a contract to take over the Redcar-Lackenby steelworks.
Michael Morrissey

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