Bells ring out at town crier extravaganza

Photo Neil Cross'Garstang Arts Festival town criers competition'Dev Hobson of Middlewich

Photo Neil Cross'Garstang Arts Festival town criers competition'Dev Hobson of Middlewich

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Town criers from across England flocked to Garstang to take part in its annual quirky competition.

The unusual event saw each contestant fully dressed in their home town’s livery as judges scored each of the 11 entrants before handing out five trophies to round off the town’s arts and music festival.

Here ye: Garstang town crier Hilary McGrath with sister Marjorie Dodds from Chester-le-Street.

Here ye: Garstang town crier Hilary McGrath with sister Marjorie Dodds from Chester-le-Street.

The criers were scored on their loudness, volume, clarity, diction, inflection, confidence, looks and accuracy by a team of five judges.

Each competitor was asked to cry about their hometown and a selected subject, in this case Magna Carta with each cry between 75 and 125 words.

The event was hosted by Garstang’s town crier Hilary McGrath in Cherestanc Square on Rope Walk, and adjudicated by her sister Marjorie Dodds.

After stiff competition the winners were announced as John Robinson, from Staffordshire, in first overall and David Jackson, from Yorkshire in first for content in talking about the subject of Magna Carta.

There’s lots of people to thank because the event relies a lot on funding and the generosity of others.

Hilary McGrath

Three best dressed awards were given out to Richard and Barbara Mathews, from Kendal, for best dressed couple, Ken Knowles, from Staffordshire, for best dressed crier and Alice Evans, from West Lancashire, for best dressed crier escort.

Each prize was presented by The Mayor of Wyre, Coun Tom Balmain.

Hilary said it was a “great event” and looks forward to next year’s.

She said: “It was great event and the standard was very high.

“There’s lots of people to thank because the event relies a lot on funding and the generosity of others.

“It was a good turn out for the event too and hopefully we can re-create that again next year.”