Hear ye! Watton welcomes its first ever town crier
PUBLISHED: 12:46 09 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:46 09 February 2018
It is a tradition which dates back hundreds of years - but for one market town, it is the first time a person has been appointed as a town crier.
Mike Wabe has taken on the honorary role of Watton Town Crier and will now be seen at a number of civic functions.
He is no stranger to the role as he is also the town crier of Thetford.
The 67-year-old has been a town crier since 2013 as said he is looking forward to performing his duties in and around the Wayland town.
“It is really nice to see that a town is embracing tradition,” he said. “As far as I can tell, through my own investigations, I am Watton’s first town crier.
“I like meeting people and I am now learning some history on Watton so when you I meet people I can talk about the town’s history and broaden my knowledge.”
After a suggestion by Mr Wabe to the Mayor of Watton Stan Hebborn, the idea was brought to council and the position agreed upon.
Mr Wabe took to the town’s High Street on Wednesday, February 7, where he delivered his proclamation cry.
“It is a lovely tradition and the council saw merit in introducing an ancient British tradition to Watton,” said Mr Hebborn. “And what better way to inform the public about his appointment, then by having him make his first proclamation.”
Also a toastmaster, Mr Wabe conducts talks to a number of groups including historic societies and the WI.
While researching for a talk in 2012 he came across information about town criers and the next year approached Thetford Town Council about becoming their first town crier for almost 100 years.
“I write all my cries and they rhyme and they are written for that particular event,” he said. “If the muse is with me it can go quite quickly but it can also take the best part of a week.”
What does it take to be a town crier?
“You’ve got to be outgoing; it is not a job for a shrinking violet,” said Mr Wabe. “You have to have a good voice and the one thing you must not do is shout. You must project. When I do it I breathe in and then as I breathe out the words come.”
The current position of town crier began in the 17th century and they were used to inform people of news and to cry about events, obituary notices or wars.