Town criers to be silenced

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The National Town Criers’ Championship is held annually in Hastings as part of Hastings Week, held to mark the Saxon defeat by the Normans at the Battle of Hastings, which took place on 14 October 1066. This wonderful, traditional event is under threat.

Please support this plea.: Jon Bartholomew, Hastings town crier, posted this on his Facebook page:
“Good evening, ladies, gentlemen and townsfolk of Hastings and St Leonard’s. It has been brought to my attention that our council in this next budget is about to axe funding for the famous Hastings National Town Criers’ Championship this year.

“This effectively puts an end to another attraction to our town during Hastings Week.
The national championship hosted by Hastings is the oldest ongoing town crier competition in the world! It is with a heavy heart and dismay that, after twenty-five years of service to this town, this seemingly uninterested council throws away, without any foresight, this chapter of our heritage.

“Town criers from around the UK and Europe bid for a place in this competition and it is my task to host them on your behalf and bring more money into our town. However, on February 3, if no one apart from myself makes a noise on the My Hastings Matters web pages we will lose this forever.

“This year is the 70th anniversary of this competition – for seventy years we have played host and made it a success. Please help me; say your piece and at least, let’s go out with a bang! God save the king.”

Paul Goring, Rye’s town crier added, “It is an awful, short-sighted decision, ending funding for a historic and popular event, which attracts international attention, in what should have been its 70th anniversary year. Please make your views known via Hastings Borough Council’s budget consultation web page.”

Image Credits: Jon Bartholomew archives , Kt bruce .

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Hastings council, Labour controlled. 9 seats to 4 with 3 green. All other stories report who’s making cuts so it’s only fair that it’s made clear who’s making the savings in this instance.
    It would be nice to hear some details of the proposed savings, just how much are we talking about?

  2. Thank you for highlighting this – let’s hope that Hastings Borough Council will see sense! the amount saved by cancelling the competition is just £2,000 – a drop in the ocean for HBC’s £16 million budget! (May I make a quick correction – the main photo actually depicts Remembrance Sunday in Hastings, with Jon, their Town Crier, on the Left, accompanying Hastings Mayor & Deputy Mayor. The winner of the 2022 National Town Crier competition was Mark Wylie, representing Calne. I can probably find a photo of him, if you wish!)

  3. This looks like an excellent opportunity for Rye TC to host this event. I’m sure the chamber of commerce and RTC could support this with grant funding and sponsorship?

  4. Sadly, HBC are single-handedly culling the enjoyment and pleasure of Old Town Week in Hastings Old Town; initially by banning the Boat Race and then the Tug of War. Local businesses rely on funds raised by crowds of people who attend. We are dreading the possibility of the Pram Race being axed and the Carnival is a shadow of the event that it once was.

  5. I would be prepared to contribute to a fund that brings this event to Rye. If we could show in a first year that the event is good for Rye then perhaps the public bodies could pick up the funding in the future.
    What a shame to lose this event out of the area because that is what will happen, when some other smart Crier takes the idea back to their own town.

  6. Surely if money from the Rye fund could be used to hold the town Cryer championship in this town, it would be a win,win,situation and money we’ll spent to enhance our town,if Hastings Borough are reluctant to finance it in Hastings.

  7. Councils never miss a chance to cut the nose to spite the face of local residents who pay their usually inflated salaries. I have relatives and friends scattered throughout many countries, who love visiting Rye. The town crier has been one of the many delights Rye offers, and it would be a crying shame (sorry about the pun!) if this unique part of heritage is sacrificed on the altar of alleged savings.

  8. The decision regarding the Town Crier needs to be seen in the wider context of HBC greatly reducing its’ budget to support one of the main drivers of the local economy.

    1066 Country Marketing is under review as part of the Hastings budget consultation. Please respond to the consultation by midday on 3 February 2023. More details here http://bit.ly/3Y0hMo3

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