New town crier makes himself heard in debut at festive market

New Sleaford Town Crier John Griffiths. EMN-140112-104233001
New Sleaford Town Crier John Griffiths. EMN-140112-104233001

Sleaford has a new Town Crier - and he has already made his vocal debut heralding the opening of the weekend’s Christmas market.

John Griffiths, 50, of Sleaford, was selected after an interview by a panel of town councillors on Wednesday.

The transport manager with haulage company John Pocklington, of North Kyme, was quizzed before being asked to demonstrate his vocal capabilities. He said: “They seemed suitably impressed with that and then they let me know the next day.”

On how he got the job he said: “I am just loud in general, I suppose, and when it was put out on Facebook and in the local press that they were looking for a new town crier a few friends thought I would have the voice for it, so I sent in an email.”

Mr Griffiths, originally from South Wales, moved to the county in 1984 with the RAF, based at Cranwell, before settling in the area. He owns a 1600cc VW Beetle trike and is a member of the local Trikes R Us trike club where he has had practice as an MC for club events and rallies. He has been married to wife Jill for 22 years.

Speaking on Friday he was looking forward to learning the ropes at his first event - Sleaford Christmas Market. He introduced the Mayor Coun Keith Dolby to open the market and made further announcements during the day.

Mr Griffiths replaces Geoff Brocklebank, who retired this year. Fortunately the official robes fit him without need for adjustment and he hopes to write his own cries in the same tradition as his predecessor.

He said: “I have done a bit of research and it is basically testing your cry to suit the event. I have been reading the Guild of Town Criers website and I need to keep it informative, with a bit of humour, and limited to around 125 words to keep people’s attention.”

There are around eight official engagements a year where he is expected to attend but he could do more if needed. Any fees he will donate to a local charity. He is also considering entering town crier competitions, depending if he can spare the time. He said: “I have to thank John Pocklington for allowing me the time to fit the functions around work.”