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Lots to shout about in search for new town crier

Group of people including town criers in uniform.

Three candidates who made it onto the shortlist to be Farnham‘s new town crier were put through their paces on Saturday.  

Each contestant was invited to write and deliver their own cries about Farnham from a stage at the bottom of Castle Street. The judging panel which included the Mayor of Farnham and the Leader of Farnham Town Council were looking for the trio to impress them with their strong clear voices, clarity, diction, and inflexion.

In what was a very closely fought competition, the judges agreed that any one of the candidates would make a fine town crier. In the end, it was Michael Stephens from Farnham who was able to demonstrate the necessary qualities for delivering cries, making announcements and engaging with the public in a variety of settings. 

Speaking after the competition, Michael Stephens said: “Like so many of my compatriots, I am not one who would ordinarily make a fuss, but I feel so passionate about my home town. Farnham is worth shouting about and I intend doing so with great gusto.”

The town crier is an important figure in Farnham and is responsible for making public announcements, providing information about events and promoting community activities. The role dates back centuries and is steeped in tradition.

The competition to find Farnham’s new town crier was overseen by Christian Ashdown who is the Chair of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers and the Haslemere town crier. He said: “I am so glad that after three years Farnham has once again appointed a town crier for this wonderful town. On behalf of my fellow members of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers, Jane Smith (Bognor Regis), David Peters (Guildford), Dave Parsons (Alton) and Chris Brown (Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead) who helped Farnham Town Council appoint Michael to this civic role, we congratulate him on becoming Farnham’s official town crier.”

Michael Stephens’s first engagement will be during the weekend of the King’s coronation when there will be events taking place at Gostrey Meadow. He says: “I am particularly honoured that my first official appearance will be for the King’s coronation, and I am very grateful for the warm welcome and show of support that I have received not only from Farnham Town Council but also from the members of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers that I have met thus far. I will endeavour to do you all, and particularly the people of Farnham, proud (and loud!).”

Farnham Town Council thanks everybody who entered the competition and particularly Howard Kay and Martin Coates who were also shortlisted. 

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