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OYEZ OYEZ – Helmsley to host inaugural National Town Crier Competition

Helmsley is to host its very first town crier competition – which it is believed will be the largest, national town crier competition to be held in Yorkshire for several decades.

David Hinde, Helmsley’s award-winning town crier, and the Helmsley in Business group will host the competition, which is to be held on 21st July 2018.

The ‘Helmsley Invitational National Town Criers Competition for The Magna Carta Trophy’ will see at least 20 official town criers representing their towns from across the country, competing before a panel of specially-selected judges to the rules of The Ancient & Honourable Guild of Town Criers. The setting will be the beautiful Helmsley Walled Garden, with Helmsley Castle as the stunning backdrop to the competition.

Criers are awarded points on clarity, volume, diction and inflection. The morning ‘Home Cry’ will see the Criers perform a 125-word cry about their home towns, usually in rhyme, before an afternoon ‘Themed Cry’, which is on a subject of the host crier’s choosing. As host, David Hinde will be unable to compete, but will be introducing each Crier and their consorts and providing a Benchmark Cry to assist the judges.

There will also be a colourful parade around the town, ensuring visitors have a chance to see the criers and their consorts in their superb regalia, and both visitors and the local community will be encouraged to watch the competition at the Walled Garden.

David is an experienced member Of the Ancient & Honourable Guild Of Town Criers, of which there are over 150 members nationwide. The role of town crier dates back many centuries to the time of William the Conqueror when they were used to proclaim local bylaws, market days, and news in the days before many people could read. The elaborate regalia often includes the famous tricorn hat.

The event has been made possible thanks to generous sponsorship from several local companies. ENGIE (formerly Keepmoat Regeneration) are headline sponsors, with other key sponsors including Malton’s Pearson and Ward Solicitors and Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors, and construction firm Repair and Restoration Ltd. Other sponsors include Adam Collier Funeral Directors, Kitching Walker Solicitors in Kirkbymoorside, NFU Mutual, Bisca Staircases and Alpha Signs.

David Hinde said: “It’s our absolute pleasure to announce we will be hosting the Helmsley Invitational National Town Criers Competition this summer. It’s been in the planning for several months, as we sought sponsors – to whom we are extremely grateful, as without them the event would not be able to take place. We know this is likely to be the largest competition held in Yorkshire for many years. Who could resist the chance to perform a cry in the beautiful setting of Helmsley in the North York Moors National Park?”

As well as helping to organise the event, Helmsley in Business members have got behind the hosting of the competitors, with Scotts Fish & Chips providing dinner, and Thomas of Helmsley providing a buffet lunch, and Porters and Crema coffee shops providing cakes and scones for morning tea. For many Criers this will be their first trip from the South Of England to Helmsley and the North York Moors National Park and they will be staying locally for the weekend.

Jane Buckle, from Helmsley in Business, who owns Bondgate Antiques in the town, said: “When David approached us about wanting to run a competition we instantly said yes. David is such an asset to the town, and we love to have him at events – so having more town criers come and show us what they can do is bound to be brilliant! We can’t wait to welcome them, it should be a really fun and unusual day out for the whole family. I should think the entire town will be able to hear them once they get started – although, of course, our town crier is the world record holder for the loudest recorded town cry!”