Crying out loud to be the best at Dorset Town Crier’s Competition

Wimborne Town Crier meets his rivalPARDON: Wimborne Town Crier Chris Brown (right) meets his rival Mellvin Gudger and they practise their battle for the Dorset Town Crier title with butcher Paul Keating getting caught in the middle of all the noise. (Picture: Sally Adams).

OYEZ, oyez, oyez! Ears as well as tastebuds are in for a treat at Wimborne Food Festival as the Dorset Town Crier’s Competition gets off to a deafening start.

Criers from across the county will flock to the town at noon on Sunday, October 24, to shout it out for the coveted Stanley Mansbridge Perpetual Trophy.

As last year’s winner and host, Wimborne Town Crier Chris Brown can only oversee the two-round cry-off.

He said: “The first round is for the criers to extol the virtues of their home town and encourage people to visit it.

Read the article on Daily Echo website (published 19/10/2010)

Wimborne town crier Chris Brown reunited with stolen bell

Town Crier reunited with stolen bellA Dorset town crier has been reunited with his handbell after it was stolen.

Chris Brown, Wimborne’s town crier, said the bell was in a bag which was taken while he was DJing in a pub earlier this month. The missing bag and bell, which has little financial value, were left anonymously, close to Mr Brown’s car, on Sunday. He said he was “very happy” after it appeared an amnesty had led to the culprit having a change of heart.

Mr Brown said: “I really never thought it would appear again but some friends were calling and found the missing bag and bell by the rear of my car. I promised an amnesty which appears to have enabled the prankster to relieve their conscience and am a very happy town crier.”

The 11ins (30cm) high military-issue handbell, which has an iron clapper, dates from World War I when it was used for gas attack warnings. The bell is used to accompany Mr Brown’s “cries” around the town and at national and international gatherings. He had notified local scrap and antique dealers to keep an eye out following the theft.

Read the article on the BBC Dorset website (published 25 June 2012)

Wimborne town crier’s handbell is stolen

Town Criers Bell is StolenA Dorset town crier is appealing for his handbell to be returned after it was stolen.

Chris Brown, Wimborne’s town crier, said the bell was in a bag which was taken while he was DJing in a pub. The 11 inch (30cm) high military-issue handbell, which has an iron clapper, dates from World War I when it was used for gas attack warnings.

Mr Brown said: “It’s extremely loud. I want to get it back, it’s been everywhere with me.”
The bell is used to accompany Mr Brown’s “cries” around the town and at national and international gatherings.

He added that local scrap and antique dealers had been notified but the bell had little financial worth.

Read the article on the BBC Dorset website (published 13 June 2012)

How many miles to the galleon in that?

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Town crier transforms his mobility scooter into a PIRATE SHIP!

A town crier was stunned when friends pimped his mobility scooter and turned it into a 17th century galleon.

Alex and John Compani borrowed Chris Brown’s wheeled machine for four days and transformed it into an old pirate ship as a surprise. Delighted with his new-look buggy, the 55-year-old town crier now ‘sails’ through Wimborne, Dorset, wearing his gown and ceremonial hat and shouting the news to onlookers. He has named his scooter, which has a top speed of seven knots (8mph), the Black Pig after Captain Pugwash’s ship.

Mr Brown said: ‘Alex and John asked to borrow my scooter for a couple of days and said they had a surprise for me. I knew they were up to something but had no idea what. I burst out with laughter when I saw it. It looks fantastic. The ship was meant to have just been for the childrens’ Christmas parade in Wimborne that I led but I have had such a good reaction to it that I have decided to keep it as it is.’

Mr Brown, a social worker, suffered polio when he was a child and has had a number of operations on his legs. He recently acquired the scooter and Alex and John commandeered it to transform it to cheer him up. The brothers built a wooden frame around the scooter to form the super-structure of the miniature boat. They nailed on boards of plywood to form the sides and stern and had to use cardboard to act as the curved bow. They then painted the structure dark brown to give the impression of weathered wood.

Alex, 36, said: ‘Because Chris often wears his ceremonial hat and coat and has a long beard, his appearance lended itself to a 17th century galleon. We thought it would be very fitting.

‘Chris has recently had an operation on his foot and got the scooter after that. We just wanted to cheer him up and thought this was the best way of doing it. We did it in secrecy in a workshop. We just told him we were going to dress it up but he had no idea what it was going to be.’

Chris and Alex belong to a re-enactmnent group called the Wimborne Militia that re-enacts the 1685 Monmouth Rebellion.
Chris, who is married to wife Anne and has four children, added: ‘We also have a commission from Wimborne Town Council to protect and defend the honour of the town.

‘We are one of only two private armies in the country. So if we were invaded I would help defend the River Stour. People absolutely love it – especially the children.’

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