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Oyez, Oyez! Otley to host Town Crier Competition

Oyez, Oyez! Otley to host Town Crier Competition

Published by Lisa Darvill at 8:24am 19th September 2019.

Main image: Otley's Bellman Terry Ford in action 

Town criers from across the country are set to descend on Otley. 

  • The Otley Open Town Crier Competition will return on Sunday 22nd September 
  • Criers from all over the country will visit Otley in a bid to to be crowned one of the country's loudest hailers
  • The hotly anticipated shouting match begins at 11.30am in the Market Place 

Criers from all over the country will visit Otley in a bid to to be crowned one of the country's loudest hailers.

Each competitor will be judged on two cries: one extolling the virtues of their hometown and the other a "subject cry" focusing on World Car-Free Day that takes place on the same day.

The event will see 16 town criers parade through the town with their consorts before the hotly anticipated shouting match begins at 11.30am.

Otley is no stranger to town crying. The office of Otley Bellman has been around since the Middle Ages and current incumbent, Terry Ford, originally from the north-east, has won a string of gongs, including that of 2017 national champion.

Terry said: 

"They're judged on several categories. There's diction and inflection, there's volume and clarity, presence and engagement with audience and of course, accuracy.

"In years gone by town criers would be delivering legal statement that had to be delivered word for word. 

"We were very fortunate last year, we had a great crowd and reception. 

"So I'm hoping we can emulate that this year." 

Contestants will vie for a series of prizes including Overall Winner, Runner Up, Best Dressed Town Crier, Best Dressed Consort and Best Ambassador. Proceedings will close with an awards presentation and the chance for members of the public to have a go at 'crying' themselves. 

Next weekend will be another busy one in Otley as the town gets ready to welcome the UCI Road World Cycling Championships. 

Both the men and women's elite road races will pass through the town on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September. 

You can find out more about the UCI road races here.