Bognor Regis to host inaugural town crier competition

Bognor Regis Town Crier Jane Smith.Bognor Regis Town Crier Jane Smith.
Bognor Regis Town Crier Jane Smith.
Two years after it hosted the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers championship, Bognor Regis is set to have a town crier competition all its own.

Set to take place every two years, the inaugural championship will kick off on June 22 and features competitors from all over the country – including Arundel, Bexhill and Lincolnshire.

It shares a date with Bognor’s armed forces day celebrations, which will be taking place not far from the competition itself. Bognor Regis Town Crier Jane Smith made clear that, since many town criers have backgrounds in the armed forces, sharing space with the event promises to be mutually beneficial.

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“When we hosted the guild championships two years ago, we did the same thing and it worked really well,” she said. “Lots of our criers are ex-military, so it’s nice for them to get involved in be part of things – they get to pay respect to the other ex-servicemen and women.

Although the competition itself kicks off at 12pm on the Bognor Regis bandstand, Mrs Smith said the criers will first set off from the Bognor Regis RAFA Club, parading through town with their bells and bright, colourful regalia.

When the competition starts, criers will be assessed across four different categories, and on the quality of their respective regalia. It’s a process Mrs Smith, as a competition winner herself, knows well, and criers can expect to see their script, delivery, belling and performance scrutinised by a panel of experienced judges

Although, as host, she’s not actually allowed to compete in the town championship, Mrs Smith said she was excited to welcome so many town criers to Bognor Regis, and that the town council had done a fantastic job pulling the event together.

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"The council have been very supportive. When we held the guild championship, I helped guide them as to how we needed to do things and what we needed to have for it to work. A few things have changed for this event but, last time, they pulled it off brilliantly. It’s really exciting to have so many criers coming down to our town specifically.”