On 1st May in the centre of town, the Counties of Dorset, Devon, East Sussex and Wiltshire were represented by Town Criers proudly proclaiming the many virtues of their home towns. There were 13 Town Criers and 8 consorts coming together to friendly joust for the coveted title of Champion Town Crier of Southern England.
The spectacle consisting of two rounds of “Crying” attracted a considerable crowd estimated at 150 who enjoyed proclamations upon the virtues of their home towns in the first round in the morning. Each crier had to deliver a Cry of 100-125 words which had to include three “Oyez” at the beginning and end with the loyal announcement of “God Save The Queen”.
The Judges drawn from local people including Cllr Sue Cook, the Mayor of Wimborne and the Chairman of East Dorset D.C Cllr David Shortell and his wife Elizabeth, Cllr John and Ann Burden and Snr Lecturer in Costume Katrina Lawton from the Arts University of Bournemouth.
The competition was extremely tight and the overall Champion Town Crier was declared as Alistair Chisholm of Dorchester, runner up John Collingwood of Bridport and third place to David Retter of Honiton. The prizes for “Best Dressed” competitors were equally contested and under the expert eye of Katrina Lawton the fine detail and efforts reaped rewards as follows: Best Dressed Crier Peter White of Seaford, Best Dressed consort Kassa Retter of Honiton and best dressed couple Kevin and Melanie Knapp of Sturminster Newton.
A new award for the competition was initiated this year by Mayor Cllr Sue Cook entitled “The Town Mayor’s Award” which was given to Wimborne Minster’s own Crier Chris Brown for his efforts organising the proceedings. This award will continue to be awarded and be within the gift of whoever is the Mayor at future events.
This colourful and vocal group really enjoyed the day and it was noted by Criers from afar how suitable the location of the refurbished Town Square was for such an event and more importantly how the towns folk really appreciated the event and stayed engaged throughout the competition.