Is Battle worth shouting about?

18/7/12- Olympic Torch photocall, Battle
18/7/12- Olympic Torch photocall, Battle

BATTLE is a town worth shouting about and deserves a full time town crier, a councillor has claimed.

Cllr Richard Jessop told a meeting of Battle Town Council on Tuesday that he would like to see an official town crier appointed to appear at town council and community events.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Jessop said: “Battle is an old town.

“As such, old towns tend to have town criers.

“Providing we have not got to pay someone to perform these duties, I thought it would be a nice gesture to recognise someone who has made a voluntary contribution to the town on a previous basis to be a town crier.”

Currently Mike Dawes acts as the town’s unofficial town crier.

Mr Dawes, who has his own costume, appeared in character outside Battle Abbey during the recent Olympic Torch visit (pictured).

Cllr Jessop said the Battle town crier would be answerable to the town clerk and council and would not be allowed to take part in any commercial activity whilst in the role.

But not every councillor shared Cllr Jessop’s enthusiasm.

Cllr Ron Harris said: “I’m having difficulty thinking of a town council event where there would be a need for a town crier.”

He added: “I do not know if you have a specific person in mind.

“Presumably you would have to outfit the town crier and I assume you would have little change from £1,000.

“That’s a lot of money and I do not know where a town crier would fit into the town council.”

Cllr Harris continued: “I have doubts about the need for the town council to have a town crier.

“Equally I see the town crier as a job and I’m not sure of its contribution to the town.”

Cllr Paula Fisher said: “I do think it would be a lovely community thing in the town.”

Cllr Jeremy Eldridge said a town crier could accompany the mayor whilst he carries out his various mayoral duties.

He said: “To go with the mayor would be fantastic. He would not have to shout every day.”

Battle Town Council’s communications committee will discuss the issue in more detail at a forthcoming meeting.

The are currently 144 official town criers across the country, including in neighbouring Hastings and Rye.

The former is the venue for the annual National Town Criers’ Championship, which sees criers from across the country exercising their lungs in the seaside resort

The 2012 competition is due to take place in the Priory Meadow Shopping Centre on October 13.