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Ilkley primary schools to compete in Town Crier Competition

Ilkley Town Crier Isabel Ashman with pupils from Sacred Heart School

Preparations are in full swing for Ilkley’s first ever National Town Crier Competition on Saturday 13th May organised by Ilkley BID and hosted by Isabel Ashman, Ilkley’s own Town Crier.

A total of 20 town criers from all across the country will participate in this prestigious event by delivering two ‘cries’ each; their first ‘home cry’ will be about their home town and their second cry will be about a specific Ilkley business.

Both of the cries will be judged for clarity, diction, delivery and entertainment, and the town crier with the highest overall mark will be declared the winner and win a top prize of £100.

As part of the day’s events, children from Ashlands, All Saints’, Moorfield and Sacred Heart primary schools have been holding their own competitions to find 2 students to represent each of their schools in the Junior Town Crier Competition that forms part of the day.

In order to explain the role of a town crier and to tell them about the competition, Isabel Ashman was invited to each of the schools as a special guest at their assemblies.

Dressed in her town crier regalia, she entertained the children by performing a special cry in their honour and gave them their own tricorn hat and bell for them to practice in advance. Each of the winning students will write and perform their own cry on the day extolling the virtues of their schools.

Isabel said: “I’ve met the most engaged, focused and interested groups of children at Moorfield, Ashlands, All Saints’ and Sacred Heart Schools. It’s been an honour and a delight to meet them all and tell them about the ancient and recent history of town crying and the oral tradition, and to answer their questions. I can’t wait to hear each school’s winning cries at the Ilkley BID National Town Crier competition on the 13th May.”

The winning children and their families will be picked up at their schools by a vintage open top bus and transported in style to the Bandstand where they will compete in the Junior Competition in the afternoon which will be judged by the senior town criers.

The official proceedings for the whole day will begin at 11am at the Bandstand. Prior to this the town criers will parade on foot from Ilkley Town Hall along The Grove ringing their bells and greeting people in town.

After the first round of competition, the criers will travel on a vintage open top bus around Ilkley and to the Riverside Park for more ‘meets and greets’. During the lunch break Bandstand visitors will be entertained by the Guiseley Jazz Band.

The second cry will take place at 2.30pm followed by the Junior Competition at 3.45pm.

At 4.15pm the results will be announced and the official prize giving ceremony will take place for all the winners.

Lisa Drake, Ilkley BID Project Coordinator, said: “I don’t think you’re going to miss our town criers on Saturday 13th May as they are going to make quite a spectacle! We’re delighted that so many are participating in our event and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to Ilkley.

“We’re hoping that lots of Ilkley residents, visitors and business representatives come out to enjoy the occasion and show their support for the town criers and their themed cries. We’re particularly excited about seeing and hearing the school children compete in the Junior Competition and we’re encouraging them on this occasion to be as loud as possible!”

Order of the Day:

10.30am: Town Criers leave Ilkley Town Hall and parade to the Bandstand

11am: Welcome and first round of competition at the Bandstand

12.30pm: Vintage open top bus to parade the town criers around the town

12.30pm: Guiseley Jazz to perform at the Bandstand

2.30pm: Second round of competition at the Bandstand

3.45pm: Junior Competition

4.15pm: Results and prize giving ceremony

The judges for the main competition are Mark Stidworthy, Ilkley Mayor; Samantha Hill, President of Ilkley Playhouse and Ian White, Chair of Ilkley BID.

For more information, contact

All Saints School with Ilkley's Town Crier


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