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Competition to find new town crier for Christchurch



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A BRITAIN’S Got Talent-style competition will find a new town crier for Christchurch whose most important job will be to announce the start of the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations.

The event was the idea of mayor Cllr Sue Bungey who said she wanted the role revived as it is “such an important part of Christchurch’s heritage”.

She said: “It is really something to be cherished.

Keith Jackman, former Christchurch town crier, celebrating his 25 years' service in 2009 with then-mayor Cllr David Flagg
Keith Jackman, former Christchurch town crier, celebrating his 25 years' service in 2009 with then-mayor Cllr David Flagg

“A town crier was a focal point of the town, announcing important news such as the birth of a royal baby.

“My late husband Colin held a competition to find our last town crier back in the 1980s.

“Through it, we found the wonderful Keith Jackman who filled the role for 25 years before retiring.

“He was just absolutely fantastic.

“I thought that during my year as mayor it would be nice to bring the town crier back and hold a competition to find one, like Colin did.”

Mr Jackman was so enthusiastic at the job he ended up going deaf in one ear.

Cllr Bungey said: “He did ring his bell very loudly.

“Obviously, we do not want anyone losing their hearing.

Mayor Cllr Sue Bungey is reviving the ancient role of town crier
Mayor Cllr Sue Bungey is reviving the ancient role of town crier

“What we need is someone very loud but also very articulate.

“They should also be good at interacting with people.”

She said the role will be voluntary and not cost the taxpayer anything, adding: “We are currently on the hunt for a bell and costume.

“Keith’s wife used to make his and they were marvellous.”

One of the crier’s most crucial roles will be announcing the start of the four-day festivities starting on 2nd June to mark the Queen’s jubilee.

Cllr Bungey said: “The jubilee is what gave me the idea, really.

“The palace wants town criers all over Britain to take part in it.

Keith Jackman in action
Keith Jackman in action

“The crier will also be for us to use to announce all public events in the town.”

The competition is due to take place on 12th February in Saxon Square from midday.

Anyone can enter, and the judging panel will consist of Christchurch town councillors and, hopefully, a town crier from the local region.

Cllr Bungey said: “Each entrant will be given a ‘cry’ to shout out from the Saxon cross.

“Marks will be given for loudness and clearness.

“People are invited to come and witness the event and give their vote by cheering and clapping for their choice.”

To enter, email the mayor’s secretary, Emma Cross, at ecross@christchurch-tc.gov.uk



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