Town crier to cry for last time

Town crier Neil Batsford alongside town mayor Jacqui Landriani. Picture: Burgess Hill Town Council
Town crier Neil Batsford alongside town mayor Jacqui Landriani. Picture: Burgess Hill Town Council

Burgess Hill’s town crier Neil Batsford will cry and ring his familiar bell for the last time on Saturday (May 20).

Neil will ring his bell in the Market Place Shopping Centre before he retires after 21 years of serving the people of Burgess Hill.

Town crier Neil Batsford is retiring after 21 years of serving the people of Burgess Hill

Town crier Neil Batsford is retiring after 21 years of serving the people of Burgess Hill

In addition he has acted as master of ceremonies at weddings, said the grace at formal occasions and advertised businesses.

Asked what he enjoyed most about the role, Neil said that he felt he ‘brought an element of flair and formality to events’.

Burgess Hill Town Council recognised Neil’s service to the community at its Annual Meeting where town mayor Jacqui Landriani presented Neil with a gift and thanked him for his community spirit and service.

The council has formed a small working party to appoint a new town crier.

Men and women are welcome to approach the CEO Steve Cridland should they be interested.

It is for the most part a voluntary role though private ceremonies are becoming more frequent.

Those interested should have the ability to project their voice and a loud voice is not a requirement.

A town crier is an important part of English tradition and would previously have brought information to the masses who for the most part could not read.

The town crier would not only relay important news but also news of the community, even advertising jobs.

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