Criers and car-free days

Otley celebrates second annual Town Crier Competition and World Car Free Day

Town criers from around the country gathered in Otley at the weekend to take part in the second annual Otley Open Town Crier Competition which took place on World Car Free Day that was also celebrated in the town with an eco-themed street party on main thoroughfare Boroughgate.

The town’s historic Market Square saw 13 criers from Southport to St Anne’s attempt to outshout each other with two cries: one extolling the virtues of their own town, the other celebrating World Car Free Day; the competition was compered by award-winning Otley Bellman Terry Ford.

Winner of the competition was Sleaford Town Crier John Griffiths, with Middlewich Town Crier Devlin Hobson in second, and Elizabeth Anderson-Watson, Barnoldswick Town Crier, in third. Other awards went to Garstang Town Crier Hilary McGrath who was crowned as Best Ambassador, while Devlin Hobson and wife Jenny were awarded Best Dressed crier and consort.

The criers paraded through historic Otley ahead of the competition and again at lunchtime when they were greeted by a guard of honour by the Wharfedale Wayzgoose Border Morris troupe that was performing and offering workshops on Boroughgate as part of the World Car Free Day celebrations.

The Boroughgate street party also featured children’s fun and games from Breeze Leeds, Playful Anywhere and Festival Sticker Art, while many children rode bikes and skateboards on the car-free street. At the west end of Boroughgate, a number of stalls including Otley 2030, Friends of Chevin Forest and Wildlife Friendly Otley offered their visions for a more environmentally friendly future.