Town Crier history is retold

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Seaford’s premier videographer has produced a video which tells the town’s story through the eyes of the town’s town criers.

The video project was conceived by Chris Conil, who has directed many films showcasing Seaford jubilees, anniversaries, and town events such as Armed Forces Day, Sussex Day and Christmas Magic.

He has produced many artistic, cultural and fly-on-the-wall videos, most available on You Tube, some even winning awards. His aim is to create interesting and community based productions that highlight this beautiful landscape.

Crying for my Town explores Seaford’s 150 year history of having a town crier, a role which was introded 1865.

The history of the town, its military heritage, and the role the town crier has played are all interlinked.

The current crier, Peter White, is approaching 40 years in the post.

Peter is a former teacher of history in schools and adult education, and has been a town crier since 1973.

He has been a member of Seaford Museum since 1973 and he was the museum’s chairman for a year after it moved into the Martello Tower. He began History Walks around the Town in the 1980s’, a rôle now skilfully undertaken by Kevin Gordon. For his historical narrative Peter relies on books, pamphlets and interviews by Joan Astell, Pat Berry, John Farrant, John Odam, Kevin Gordon and Des Abbott.

Peter produced a narrator’s script, and along with the input of local experts, Chris brought the whole concept together, directing, filming, and editing the inputs and music to produce a polished film lasting 23 minutes.

Amongst those involved were Des and Betty Abbott of the iconic Coastguard Cottages at Exceat, local historian Kevin Gordon, and Lifeguard Peter Gwilliam.

The film looks at the whole gamut of reasons for having a Town Crier, the past and future rôles, and whether town criers have a future in this digital age.

Whether the crier concept is of historical or cultural value is for the viewer to judge.

There is humour, pathos, local colour, and a factual thread to the narrative.

Crying for my Town is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/oTC0J7B6nTE.

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