The winner of the 64th national town criers’ championship, held in Hastings on Hastings Day (14th October), was Terry Ford, the ‘bellman’ of Otley, West Yorkshire.
Second was Andrew Fleming, from Swanage, and third was Jon Borthwick, of Lewes & Peacehaven. The best dressed crier was Jane Smith, from Bognor.
The national town criers’ championship is the oldest town criers’ competition in the country. It is organised by Hastings Borough Council, and hosted by the Hastings town crier Jon Bartholomew, who is not allowed to enter the competition himself.
The mayor of Hastings, Cllr Judy Rogers, watched the competition and presented the prizes. Cllr Rogers said : “Town crying is a real English tradition, although it is believed to have originated with the Norman Conquest of 1066, as ‘bellmen’ figures are depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry.
“It is therefore very appropriate that Hastings hosts the national town criers’ competition, especially so in Hastings Week when we remember ‘that’ battle.
“It has become a real feature of Hastings Week, and the town criers provide a colourful, and noisy, spectacle, both in Priory Meadow during the day, and in the torchlight procession in the evening. I was especially delighted this year that we had two female town criers entering the national championship here.
“Town criers, and our competition, are extremely popular, long may the tradition continue.”