Hear Ye! The nation’s top town criers are to gather in Otley this weekend in a bid to be crowned one of the country’s loudest hailers.
Contestants from around Britain will attempt to outshout each other on Sunday in an attempt to take top spot in the second annual Otley Open Town Crier Competition. Each competitor will be judged on two cries: one extolling the virtues of their hometown and the other a “subject cry” focusing on World Car-Free Day that takes place on the same day.
Otley is no stranger to town crying. The office of Otley Bellman has been around since the Middle Ages and current incumbent, Terry Ford, originally from the north-east, has won a string of gongs, including that of 2017 national champion.
As home crier, Terry will welcome contestants from Southport to St Anne’s, including last year’s champion Elizabeth Anderson-Watson, the Barnoldswick Town Crier to take part in the competition that will be held in the town’s historic Market Place.
The event will see 16 town criers parade through the town with their consorts before the hotly anticipated shouting match begins at 11.30am.
Competing under Loyal Company of Town Criers rules, contestants will vie for a series of prizes including Overall Winner, Runner Up, Best Dressed Town Crier, Best Dressed Consort and Best Ambassador. Proceedings will close with an awards presentation and the chance for members of the public to have a go at ‘crying’ themselves.
Second Otley Open Town Crier Competition, Otley Market Place, 11.15-16.30, Sunday September 22, 2019.