For crying out loud, town bellman John’s champion!

Champion bellringer John Stevens  with his wife Joyce and dog Turbo.
Champion bellringer John Stevens with his wife Joyce and dog Turbo.

Alnwick’s Common Bellman John Stevens has achieved a long-standing ambition and been crowned champion crier of Britain.

He saw off competition from 14 other contestants to win the coveted title of British Champion 2014, in Banbury, Oxfordshire, a fortnight ago.

“I was absolutely flabbergasted when they announced the winner was ‘Alnwick’,” said John. “I stood there for a moment , then it dawned on me, I was only the one from Alnwick!

“I’d won, and finally achieved the title of British Champion.”

The success didn’t end there. John also won the Best Content of Cries trophy and, with his wife Joyce, the Best Dressed Couple prize.

John first represented Alnwick in the national competition at Halifax in 2003 when he came fourth. After that, things went downhill rapidly and he was often placed in the very low order of things for several British Championships.

“The closest I came to winning again was in 2012 when I made third place at Hebden Bridge,” said John.

“The ‘British’ has always eluded me. To say I’m both amazed and chuffed is an understatement!”