Town criers head for Sheringham

'Oh Yez' it is - a town crier competition is coming to Sheringham this weekend.

A dozen town criers, including three women, will be ringing bells and shouting in the town centre on Saturday .

The event, sponsored by Woodforde's brewery and organised by the Upcher Community Partnership, is the first ever held in Sheringham and is part of the two towns' joint Coast arts festival.

'It will be a spectacle. It's colourful, it's traditional, it's an art, and, very loosely, it's street entertainment,' said Cromer town crier Jason Bell, who has been working on the event with his Sheringham counterpart, Tony Nelson.

Contestants, who are travelling from as far afield as Carnforth in Lancashire and Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire, will start the day with a 'home cry' at 10.30am, promoting their own part of the world.


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And at 2.30pm they will clear their throats for a final 'cry of choice' which Mr Bell said could often be funny.

Inbetween the two contest cries, the contestants will be calling out their thanks to the various Sheringham businesses which have supported the day.

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Those taking part will be judged on categories for diction and inflexion, and sustained volume and clarity.

There will also be prizes for the best-dressed crier and the best-dressed couple - a number of entrants are bringing along escorts.

Cromer has twice hosted competitions, with the Guild of Town Criers' national championships in 1992, and the European championships in 2006, said Mr Bell, who has held his Cromer title for 26 years and earned the north-west best crier title at a contest earlier this year in Sandbach, Cheshire.

The day will coincide with an Upcher-organised family day from 10am to 4pm in the partnership's shop, by the town clock on Station Road.

Adults and children are invited to join the Open Door Art Project there for mask-making and clay modelling sessions. There will also be craft stalls in the town centre. For more details of the Coast festival, visit www.casaf.co.uk

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