May 31, 2024

Once again, our direct line to the weather gods seemed to be working and on Saturday May 11th Ilminster was once again bathed in warm sunshine for the annual Town Crier competition.  This year represented something of a new departure for our little market town.  In addition, not only our own championship, Ilminster took on the additional tasks of hosting the Somerset Championship and inaugurating a new West of England Championship.

In spite of a few forced withdrawals due to health issues, eighteen Town Criers, many with Escorts together with four Junior Criers assembled in the Arts Centre for a 9.30 start.  After the draw, supervised by our Adjudicator, Peter Dauncey and accompanied by the traditional cries of horror and relieved jeers as number one was drawn, web paraded along East Street to the Market Square.  

The usual variety of home cries was followed by cries on the theme of “chocolate” by our four junior competitors whose age ranged from nine to sixteen years.  Following a short breathing space, our senior criers offered a wide variety of thoughts on the theme of “cranes” after which we returned to the splendour of the Arts Centre. 

Sadly, our planned Guest of Honour, the Lord Lieutenant had been obliged to miss the day because of a family emergency but his place was ably filled with the awards and presentations by Rob Buckley High Sherrif of Somerset.  An excellent buffet lunch was supplied by the Arts Centre staff.


  • Ilminster Champion: Stuart Cumming, Chard
  • Runner up: Mark Wylie, Calne
  • Third place: Andrew Norris, Wellington
  • Somerset Champion: Stuart Cumming, Chard
  • West of England Champion: Mark Wylie, Calne
  • Ilminster Junior Champion: Harry Lewis, The Manor of Hatherleigh
  • Best Dressed Crier: John Pitt, Plymouth
  • Best Dressed Escort: Liz Ellis, Dartmouth
  • Best Dressed Couple: Les and Liz Ellis, Dartmouth
  • Best Home Town Ambassador (The Dauncey Trophy): Paul Gough, Nuneaton and Bedworth
  • Best Female Crier (Julie’s Bell): Ros Charlton-Chard, Hatherleigh

My gratitude goes to everybody who contributed to making the day such a splendid and enjoyable occasion.  My special thanks go to:

  • Ilminster Town Council for their support, both moral and financial
  • Mike Fry-Foley and Hannah Horner for their event management
  • Ilminster Arts Centre for their hospitality, especially Chef Annie for feeding us royally
  • Mercedes Benz South West for donating the new Somerset Championship cup
  • Guild President, Tony Evans for donating the West of England Championship trophy

Next year, 2025, the competition will be held on Saturday 10th May.