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Shouting Helmsley’s Praises

Town Crier takes the town across country to national competitions

The North Yorkshire town of Helmsley is to be represented for the very first time at a series of national Town Crier competitions this summer.

David Hinde, Helmsley’s record-breaking Town Crier, will be taking part in several competitions over the coming months, including events in Frome, Salcombe, Kingsbridge, Dartmouth and Seaton in Devon.

Each Town Crier competition draws Town Criers from across the country, from the 150 Members Of the Ancient & Honourable Guild Of Town Criers.

Criers have to perform a ‘Home Cry’ about the town that they represent. These are often in rhyme and have a maximum of 125 words to include OYEZ OYEZ OYEZ at the start and ‘God Save the Queen’ at the end. The Town Criers are then judged on clarity, volume, intonation (the rise and fall of the cry), accuracy and content. Criers also act as ambassadors for their towns at the event, often giving out information and leaflets to watching crowds.

The Criers also have to perform a Themed Cry, the subject of which is set by the Host Crier, usually around a subject relevant to the venue.

David Hinde, who was announced as Helmsley’s Town Crier in September 2016, has previously won Town Crier competitions in Salcombe, Kingsbridge, Knaresborough, Newcastle under Lyme, Newton Abbott, Barnoldswick and Nantwich and has received awards at others including Ely, Ilfracombe and Darlington. David also holds the world record for the loudest recorded Town Crier at 114.8 decibels, recorded in 2013 at Sewerby Park.

David said: “I am very proud to be the first Town Crier for Helmsley to compete in national competitions and to extoll everything that is great about the town of Helmsley, its heritage, its people, its businesses and its attractions. I look forward to hopefully bringing back some trophies for the town from this year’s competitions. It is very competitive and it’s not just about volume. But Helmsley is an award-winning town and I hope to make sure it has an award-winning Town Crier.”

The clothes (Regalia) worn by town criers are a big part of the tradition and are also judged as part of the competitions. There is no fixed style of dress and so each Crier has their own distinctive look. Generally, the liveries are based around a specific historical clothing style and many opt for the 18th and 19th centuries as their inspiration, hence the often seen tricorn hat and great coat.

David’s wears a red coat made of 100% Yorkshire Wool, from Hainsworths of Pudsey. David’s Tricorn Hat with 4 Ply Ostrich Feathers was specially made by a special Tricorn Hatmaker at Eton Top Hats. The overall cost of David’s Regalia is more than £2,500.

Jacky Pickering, chair of Helmsley in Business who runs The Stickman with husband Keith, said: “We wish David all the very best for his upcoming competitions and we know he will do Helmsley proud. We love listening to him at our own events, so we’re sure it will be of great interest to the watching crowds – and maybe even convince a few people to come visit the town!”

Those wishing to see David in action closer to home can hear him Cry on 25th June at the dedication of Helmsley’s All Saints Church and on 1st July at Duncombe Park Steam fair.