Alnwick has two immensely obvious attractions: Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden. But I (and many other Town Criers up and down this great country of ours) also think there is another ‘star’ of the town. I hereby proclaim that Alnwick Common Bellman John Stevens, brilliantly supported by his wife Joyce, is a major force to be reckoned with in your town.
When John announced some time ago that he was thinking of putting on a small competition as part of the 2012 Festival of Alnwick, eight of us immediately agreed to come to your lovely town in support of John and Joyce. There would have been many more, but, budget constraints being what they are nowadays, only eight were allowed along. My wife and I stayed at Bow House - what a gem of a place! - and Blackmore’s hosted many other Criers and Escorts, with Green Batt House also providing accommodation. We were royally fed and watered throughout our stay, with praise upon praise being heaped on Carlo’s Fish Bar, who provided free lunches for us all on Saturday.
The Town Crier competition commenced at 1pm, with ‘The Olympics’ being the themed Cry. I was fortunate enough to win, and I must thank the amazingly astute and appreciative Alnwick folk for picking such a modest winner in myself!
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that we all came back to Alnwick for three reasons: 1 It couldn’t possibly be as wet as it was four years ago, when the British Championships were held there! Fortunately, it wasn’t!; 2 John and Joyce Stevens are two of the most popular people in The Loyal Company of Town Criers, and we wanted to show our respect for them; 3 We wanted to show the town just how much you deserve such a fabulous ambassadors in John and Joyce. They are superb in what they do, and they are both immensely proud of Alnwick.
John and Joyce are regular competitors in the world of town crying, despite being our most Northerly English duo. They both win regularly, John as the Town Crier, and Joyce as the Best Dressed Escort.
Well done Alnwick, well done Council, and well done John and Joyce.
In closing, may I make one more very impassioned plea – we would love to make the Alnwick competition an annual one. This one was a huge success. Please invite us back again next year!
Biddulph Town Crier
Secretary of The Loyal Company of Town Criers