Success for Penzance Town Crier at annual competition in Newton Abbott

4th October 2021 in Council News, Events, Town Crier

The annual Town Crier Competition took place in Newton Abbott last month, which attracts Town Criers from far and wide to compete for the coveted crown of ‘Best Crier’!

Our very own Phil Northcott made the journey up across the Tamar to represent Penzance – well done Phil!

Read Phil’s account:

We travelled up the night before and explored the bright lights of Newton Abbott. I was taken aback and somewhat emotional at finding a picture of my Grandfather in one of the Hostelries. He was the inspiration for me aspiring to become a town crier and the portents for the forthcoming were looking good!

Up early on the Saturday (11th) for breakfast, although it was quite lovely I was too nervous to finish it, a first for this solid fellow!

Penzance Town Crier, Phil Northcott, mid cry at the Town Crier Competition in Newton Abbott (Sep 2021)
Penzance Town Crier, Phil Northcott, mid cry at the Town Crier Competition in Newton Abbott (Sep 2021) – Photo Credit: Jennie Pitt

Rosie and I then adorned ourselves in our ceremonial garments and travelled into town to the appointed meeting place.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the site of a dozen town criers all in various states of undress as they got ready in the carpark. Our Host Nigel (Town Crier of Newton Abbott) made all feel welcome and certainly put me at ease. It was nice to feel like a youngster again as the eldest competitor had just celebrated his 90th birthday!

After a cup of tea to steady the nerves and some wise council from my peers, we processed through the town en-mass ringing our bells and creating quite a stir. We then arrived at the appointed place in front of st Leonards tower. Lots had been drawn to create the running order, thankfully I was on last for the first cry so had chance to observe my colleagues and their performances before marching out, bowing to the local dignitaries and launching myself into my debut home cry about Penzance.

I thought it had gone well and had some lovely acclamation from my peers and the crowd. We then had chance for a drink and a wander before we repeated the whole thing again this time with a themed cry about Fruit and veg. As I watched my new friends perform I became aware my cry was perhaps too in depth and I had written something out of kilter with the rest. No matter, I gave it my all and again was well received.

Once all the scores were added the results were announced, I was very proud to have come second in the main event and gather it was a close run thing with John from Plymouth who came first.

We received a cup to be engraved, £50 and a complimentary bag of fruit and veg from the sponsors. A nice relaxed late buffet lunch together was had and much laughter was to be heard.

Town Crier Competition 2021 - 2nd place prize: an engraved cup and certificate
Town Crier Competition 2021 – 2nd place prize

The event has left me feeling thoughtful about future performances and installed a competitive streak in me. I will do right by Penzance and bring home a bigger prize when the competition circuit opens up fully next year.

Full results below:

Best Crier 

1st John Pitt Plymouth

2ndPhil Northcott Penzance

3rd Stuart Cummings Chard

Best Devon Crier John Pitt Plymouth

Best Dressed Crier John Pitt Plymouth

Best dressed Escort Julie Fox Ilminster

Best dressed Couple Les and Liz  Ellis Dartmouth

Best Second Cry Chris Smirthwaite (won a pumpkin)

Loudest Crier John Pitt Plymouth

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