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Frome has something to shout about

Competitors in the Town Criers contest

Competitors in the Town Criers contest

The ninth annual Frome Town Crier Festival, which took place on the 20th June, brought the town to life with the town criers’ colourful regalia and loud cries.

The competition nearly folded when Frome Town Crier, Mike Bishop and his wife Angie, announced last year that they would not be holding another festival. However, after a lot of persuasion from criers and the public, they decided the festival would once again go ahead.

The sun also shone for this year’s festival as the criers paraded through the town to the competition site outside of the library.

Mike Bishop said, “The hard working committee was on site from 8am busily setting up the area for the criers’ arrival, whilst Angie and I, along with Kate Beilby, the town’s Mayor welcomed all the criers, escorts, judges and scorers to the town at the Catholic Hall in Park Road.

“When all the welcoming and the draw for order of cry had taken place, all present were then transported down to the town by Frome Mini Buses. There were 23 criers, along with 17 escorts, all looking splendid in their regalia.

“This year for the first time we also had two visiting Junior town criers, Alex Borthwick from Peacehaven in East Sussex and Cerys Cousins from Llandovery in Carmarthanshire, looking splendid in her new regalia that was made by myself, to match one of my own outfits.

“Midway through the day between the morning (home town cry) and the afternoon (cry of their own choice) we all went to the George Hotel for a wonderful roast lunch and ice cream. I would like to thank all concerned at the George Hotel for their wonderful hospitality.

“All the criers that were staying in town on the Friday night, had already witnessed the wonderful hospitality when they all met at the same venue for a wonderful meal and chat.

“The committee was very grateful to our council, for supplying the chairs at the event for all to rest their weary bodies.”

“I would like to thank Iain and Emma Buckland along with Janet Scudamore for acting as the judges on the day, along with Val Haberfield and Lisa Maidment who always look after the scoring. All of these were overseen by The Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers competition co-ordinator and his wife Ken and Dulcie Purchase of Newton Abbot.”

The results from the day were as follows:

•In 1st place Mark Wylie of Calne for best cry.

•In 2nd place was Roy Goodwin of Ilfracombe.

• In 3rd place for the cry was Trevor Heeks of Trowbridge.

The best dressed were:

•Best dressed Crier, Trevor Heeks of Trowbridge.

•Best dressed Escort, Lilian Heeks of Trowbridge

•Best dressed Couple Trevor and Lilian Heeks of Trowbridge.

There was a tie for the Escort, but after the judges conferred they had to put Mel Knapp of Sturminster Newton a very close second. The overall winner, which is a combination of cry and dress scores, went to Mark Wylie of Calne.

The last award was  for the top Somerset Crier, and this went to a crier making his first visit to Frome, Andrew Fox of Ilminster.

Mike Bishop continued, “All the criers have told us that they are looking forward to coming back again next year for the tenth festival, which if possible will be better than this year’s.”

On the Sunday most of the criers went to Calne for their competition. The top placed crier of overall scores at all four cries in Frome and Calne wins the much coveted Wessex Crown Trophy, owned jointly by Frome and Calne. This year it went to Peder Neilson of Bromyard.

On the Saturday evening, at their usual unwinding event at the cricket club. Mike drew the winners of the festival’s ‘Grand Summer Draw’, with 1st place going to Jon Borthwick of Peacehaven winning £75 donated by H & B tyres and the committee. The remaining 13 prizes went to local Frome people who had supported the draw.

Mike said, “I would like to thank all the businesses who supported the draw with prizes, the committee had to sink into their own funds for two of the prizes when one offer did not come forth, but even so the committee is starting the next year in a better position than they were in last year, due to the huge support that they receive from all in our town.”