St Albans town crier wins national competition

HEAR ye, hear ye! A town crier from Wales who used to patrol the streets of St Albans has won a national crying competition. Martin Hallett, who lives near Caernarfon in Gwynedd, is the resident crier at the Porthmadog-based Welsh Highland Heritage Railwa

HEAR ye, hear ye! A town crier from Wales who used to patrol the streets of St Albans has won a national crying competition.

Martin Hallett, who lives near Caernarfon in Gwynedd, is the resident crier at the Porthmadog-based Welsh Highland Heritage Railway (WHHR) and at a crying competition in Staffordshire earlier this month, he beat 16 other criers from around the country to take first place.

Martin, aged 50, took his first town crying job in 2000 when he saw an advert for the job in St Albans and, after three years of spreading news in the city centre, he took his crying talents to Leighton Buzzard for a year before moving to Wales in 2004.

Martin, who was St Albans' first town crier since the 1930s, had to cry about two topics - what he loved about Britain and what was so great about the British seaside - at the competition in Biddulph, choosing to focus on the wonderful British weather and his love of seaside piers.


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Martin said that he was up against some tough competition: "With entries stretching all the way from Bristol to Yorkshire, I was battling it out with some of the best criers this country has to offer. But the judges were looking for sustained volume from start to finish and luckily I'm blessed with a voice that projects well."

The top three winners were separated by only one point, with Gainsborough taking the silver medal and Stafford the bronze. Martin, who has never had any voice coaching, said that he was very proud of his achievement and hoped that he would be crying for the WHHR for many years to come.

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He added: "I'm a bit of a steam engine enthusiast so crying for the WHHR, which is the only steam railway in the UK who has its own resident crier, combines my two passions. I loved crying in St Albans and I love crying here too, so I count myself very lucky.

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