Town crier championships give resort something to shout about

AN East Coast resort found itself in full cry when some of the loudest people in the country gathered in the same space.

Town criers gathered in Bridlington to go head to head in the British championships.

Reigning champion Paul Gough fended off the competition from 26 others to retake the title for a second year.

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Judges marked criers on volume and clarity, diction and inflection and their ability to engage the audience.

Mr Gough, from Bulkington, Warwickshire, whose loudest cry has been measured at 107.2 decibels – just a shade under the noise at which Concorde had been recorded – said: "If I did a cry at that level inside a building it would be illegal, a serious health and safety hazard, because it could damage people's hearing."

The event on Saturday, hosted by East Riding of Yorkshire town crier Michael Wood, was the first to take place in the revamped Spa Gardens, and attracted hundreds of holidaymakers and residents.

On Sunday the competition moved to Sewerby Halls and Gardens where sound measurement equipment company Cirrus Research, from Hunmanby, near Scarborough, measured the strength of the criers' voices.

Mr Wood, wearing his trademark green frockcoat and tricorn, took the honours with a reading of 104.6 decibels.

James Tingay, from Cirrus Research said they'd examined the famous South African vuvuzela blowing horns, adding: "This is an awful lot louder."

The Spa Gardens project will be finally completed in November when 33 trees are planted and Yorkstone paving laid.

Town criers were the original broadcasters of information. Their numbers started to wane towards the end of the 19th century with the growth in newspapers and as more people learned to read. The use of the word "Post" in newspapers derives from the criers reading out then "posting a notice" to the door post of the local inn.