A Yorkshire community radio station presenter, Kevin Reid Griffiths has topped the Town Crier charts in an annual competition in Hastings.
The ebullient Yorkshireman from Skipton presents the Breakfast Show on Drystone Radio every weekday from 8am to 10am and also delivers the news in person on the streets as Skipton’s Town Crier whenever his services are required.
Kevin has attended the National Town Crier competition in Hastings before and been placed, but this Saturday 16th is the first time he has achieved the coveted title. Next stop the European and World Championships, he says.
Town Criers were the original 'newsmen' finding their origins in the early Greek Empire as Spartan Runners. The first criers in Britain can be found in 1066 when news of William of Normandy's invasion was passed from town to town by men employed to remind everybody of Harold's authority. As the literacy of Britain's population remained low well into the late 19th century, people came to rely on criers as a useful way of hearing about proclamations, edicts, laws and news.
Oyez, oyez, oyez ('hark' or 'listen') became a familiar call in town squares, markets and public meeting places all over Britain, a summons for the townspeople to gather and listen to news of plague, victories in far off lands, royal births and deaths by execution. Their position became so important that harming a Town Crier was turned into a treasonable offence!
At the competition in Hastings at the weekend, Keith and the other contestants from all over the country were judged on volume, diction, clarity and inflection as well as their costume, bearing and overall appearance.
Keith first announced Cowling based Drystone Radio’s transition to FM in the pubs of Steeton, Keighley and Silsden two years ago and was immediately drafted in to work at the station, eventually taking on the prime time Breakfast Show slot.
Station Manager David Adams explains “Keith’s vibrant voice and personality are a perfect start to the day and we’re very proud of his new status as National Town Crier.”