We’re crying out for a junior bellman!

CHILDREN are being given the chance to shout as loud as they can in public – and win a prize for it – as part of this summer’s Festival of Alnwick.

A Junior Town Crier competition is being staged on Saturday, June 9, as part of the week-long community gala to celebrate the impending arrival of the Olympic Torch.

Organised by Alnwick’s official Bellman John Stevens, it is open to boys and girls aged 16 years and under, who will be asked to don a ceremonial tricorn hat and ring a handbell before making their proclamation.

John, who has won numerous titles and competes around the country, said: “The contestants must be capable of shouting quite loudly in order to convey the news to the public gathered about them.

“The subject of the cry is the Olympics – any Olympics will do – and the cry must be no longer than 125 words, which must include the three oyez’s at the beginning and ‘God Save The Queen’ at the end.”

John has also provided a sample cry (left), which was given at Bridlington in 2010, as an inspiration.

The junior contest will take place after an adult version held earlier in the afternoon, at which 10 criers from across the country will do battle in the Market Place from 1pm for the Alnwick Champion title. John is inviting criers from Liverpool, Halifax, Ely and other towns and cities.

Festival co-ordinator Karen Larkin said: “We’re delighted to have not one, but two town crying contests happening on the same afternoon, thanks to the support and hard work of John Stevens. It’s brilliant that young people in the community will have the chance to see the best in the business, from around the country, competing here in Alnwick, as well as being able to give it a shot themselves.”

The Festival of Alnwick will run from Saturday, June 9, to Friday, June 15, with a host of activities taking place throughout the week. On Thursday, June 14, the Olympic Torch will stop overnight in the town before making its way to Newcastle on the Friday. Anyone wishing to get involved can contact Karen Larkin by emailing karen@festivalofalnwick.co.uk or by calling 07846 548929.

You can also keep up to date with plans for the festival at www.festivalofalnwick.co.uk