Oyez, oyez Sandwell’s official town crier Adrian Holmes has lots to shout about after notching up a trophy haul in a series of national town crying competitions. The 61-year-old, who has volunteered as Sandwell’s town crier since 2010, clinched first prize in the recent Huddersfield Town Crying Championships in June.
His win adds to a growing trophy haul acquired since taking up the role as Sandwell Council’s official town crier to help promote the borough.
Already this year Adrian, a self-employed health and safety adviser, has notched up second place in the Alcester and best dressed in the Ely championships. He’s also taken part in Halifax and Frome competitions.
And now he is aiming for a coveted place in the Guild of Town Criers Championships held in Trowbridge in July.
The married father-of-two said: “From April through to October I’m busy taking part in all these competitions up and down the country. It really is a great opportunity to literally shout about Sandwell in so many different towns. I absolutely love it and am very proud to tell people about the borough.”
As well as the Trowbridge championship Adrian will be representing Sandwell at Bridlington, Nantwich, Middlewich, Thetford and Hastings town crying events over the summer.
The day-long competitions are split into two challenges – the Home Cry where a crier has to tell listeners where they come from in 125 words – including three oyezs and the Themed Cry – where organisers set a subject for town criers to shout about on the day.
Adrian said: “It is a bit like twitter you’ve only got a limited word count to shout and like a modern-day rap you are telling a tale, but unlike both no technology is needed – just a traditional costume and a bell to announce you as a town crier.”
Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Darren Cooper hit on the idea of having an official town crier five years ago and a competition was launched to find the voice of Sandwell.
Adrian, from Great Barr, won with his cry
“Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!
Good people come closer and let me tell,
of my borough in the Midlands by the name of Sandwell,
T’was formed in the year nineteen seventy four,
by the joining of two County Boroughs that are no more”
Adrian added: “I volunteer my time to represent Sandwell as the borough’s official town crier because I love doing it. It is just a great way to promote the place I’ve lived in for 35 years and my wife is very tolerant of me entering all these weekend competitions, although she’s running out of space to put the awards.”
Councillor Darren Cooper, council leader said: “Adrian’s a great person who is doing Sandwell proud and his competition wins are well deserved. He is hugely popular at our civic events and we are very grateful for the time he gives up to shout about all that’s great in Sandwell.”