Singer Jonny Rayner shouts his way to top in Christchurch town crier competition
A SINGER with a talent for shouting loudly has been chosen as Christchurch’s new town crier after beating fierce competition.
Jonny Rayner, from Friars Cliff, proved to be a worthy successor to the legendary late Keith Jackman, who held the role for 25 years.
There had not been a town crier since he died in 2012, but Christchurch mayor Cllr Sue Bungey decided to revive the role in time for the Queen's jubilee celebrations this summer.
On Saturday, four wannabe town criers turned up in Saxon Square to battle it out for the title in front of a crowd of around 200 people.
Cllr Bungey's late husband Colin had organised a similar event in the 1980s when Mr Jackman was crowned.
The mayor said: “It was an absolutely fantastic event. I think Colin would have been proud of me.
“I was astounded at how many people turned up to support the criers. Each time one took their turn the crowd really clapped, cheered and whooped.
“It was a very closely run competition as they were all so good.”
A panel of judges scored the competitors, who were given a written ‘cry’ to shout out, based on diction, clarity, volume and inflection.
There were also town criers from Wimborne, Bognor Regis, Swanage and Wareham on hand to give their opinions.
Apart from winner Jonny, the entrants were Chris McKinley and Denis Carlton who came joint third, with Adam Coshan as runner-up.
Cllr Bungey said: “Jonny won because his projection was really good.
"But Adam was also excellent and we are, in fact, if the full council agree, looking at making him deputy town crier to stand in when Johnny cannot make it.”
She also revealed that the original town crier’s bell was found, with a little help from the A&T, when Mr Jackman’s son tracked it down at his home in Lymington after reading about the competition.
It will be heard ringing out again on 2nd June for the start of the Queen's platinum jubilee celebrations.