VIDEO: Town criers pay tribute at funeral of Alnwick's much-loved bellman

Three town criers paid their respects to one of their own at the funeral of Alnwick bellman John Stevens today.

Peter Stemmer BEM, the Darlington Town Crier, performed a cry dedicated to John, who passed away on the Monday before Easter after a seven-year battle with prostate cancer.

Darlington Town Crier Peter Stemmer BEM, Otley Bellman Terry Ford and Wivenhoe Town Crier Steve Godwin at the funeral of Alnwick Town Crier John Stevens.

Darlington Town Crier Peter Stemmer BEM, Otley Bellman Terry Ford and Wivenhoe Town Crier Steve Godwin at the funeral of Alnwick Town Crier John Stevens.

He was accompanied by Terry Ford, the Otley Bellman, and Steve Godwin, the Wivenhoe (Essex) Town Crier.

The cry, which described John as 'funny, witty, wordsmith, loud, proud, British Champion, mate', was performed both during the service in St Michael's Church, Alnwick, and outside, before they led the cortege away.

Peter told the Gazette: "You never had to break the ice talking to John, with him it was always like talking to an old friend straight away."

Terry said: "I had an affinity with John - we had the same accent - and you couldn't meet a nicer bloke."

Steve added: "He was an absolute gentleman."

The cry dedicated to John Stevens:

OYEZ, OYEZ, OYEZ

The Loyal Company of Town Criers is a family with strong bonds.

Today it says goodbye to one of its favourite sons.

Whenever we meet, the absence of John and Joyce will mean that:

Socially, they will be sadly missed by all.

Competitively, our standards may never again be as tall.

John, you famously and uniquely told us not to come to Alnwick.

Now, like the many, many tourists you surely attracted, WE ARE HERE!

Funny, witty, wordsmith, loud, proud,

British Champion, MATE, this list could go on seemingly never to cease.

However, it's time to say: God bless John Stevens,

Now, Rest In Peace.

God Save The Queen