‘Obstinate’ town crier in war of words over fresh contract

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A TOWN crier is embroiled in a fresh row with a town council after he refused to sign a new contract for the ancient role.

Simon Shaw hit the headlines last year when he was suspended as Knaresborough Town Crier amid claims about his eccentric and “over-the top manner”.

He won his job back following a nine-week suspension and an independent investigation which criticised the way the town council had dealt with complaints against him.

The report concluded that Mr Shaw had been treated unfairly in being suspended before the complaints had been looked into.

Now Mr Shaw is in hot water again for refusing to sign a newly drawn up contract, claiming it contains wording which will make it simpler for him to be dismissed for no reason.

And he says Knaresborough Town Council still owes him an apology for unfairly suspending him.

“I want an explanation about why I was suspended and an apology. I want my name clearing.

“This is really getting me down and is going to put me in hospital,” said Mr Shaw, 47, who has bipolar disorder and suffers episodes of depression.

Tomorrow he is hoping to attend a council meeting to tell councillors that he won’t sign the contract until it is changed.

But councillors who have been sympathetic to his cause are now running out of patience.

Town councillor Andy Wright said he believed that Mr Shaw was being “ridiculously obstinate” over the contract situation.

“Although he was unfairly suspended there were some people who were not impressed with his performance (as town crier). I don’t think he is doing himself any favours in not signing it.

“I think he is wanted as crier by the majority but we are not desperate for him.

“I am more interested in keeping the good name of the town which we have only made a mess of.”

Coun Wright said he would be urging Mr Shaw to sign the contract.

A spokeswoman for the town council that Mr Shaw had “some issues” with the contact which “we are hoping will be resolved soon.”

“I can’t pre-empt a decision a council might make (but) the clerk has met Mr Shaw this morning and discussions are ongoing.”