Oyez or ‘oh, no’ to a Bognor town crier?

ks1500284-1 Lancing Fun Day  phot kate
Bob Smytherman in action.ks1500284-1 SUS-151207-123521008
ks1500284-1 Lancing Fun Day phot kate Bob Smytherman in action.ks1500284-1 SUS-151207-123521008

A town crier could be appointed to serve Bognor Regis next year – but councillors first want to know if the idea would be welcomed.

The town council’s policy and resources committee was asked to approve the principle of the appointment on Monday (September 26).

And while councillors were encouraged by the idea, they have asked for more information before rubber-stamping the plan.

Businesses, community organisations and residents have been invited to provide feedback, ahead of the council’s next town crier discussion in November.

The role would see the crier used to promote the town and various events, which could include Birdman and Bognor Regis Carnival.

The town council would need to fund the crier’s regalia and bell, at an estimated cost of £2,150. External funding opportunities will be explored.

It could recoup funds from small fees from business bookings and jobs at private events.

A similar initiative was introduced in Worthing in 2014.

Bob Smytherman, a current councillor and former mayor, was appointed to the role in 2014. He had previously played town crier in a community play.

His mighty bellow, ringing bell and cries of ‘oyez’ – the traditional call for attention of the masses – has been a familiar feature of the town centre since.

He gave a presentation to the town council in March.

“I really hope Bognor Town Council decide to reintroduce this ancient tradition,” he said.

“When I met councillors earlier this year to discuss how we do things in Worthing, they seemed very keen, and I would just urge them to do it.

“The right town crier for their town can really help put the area on the map and boost business.”

A report to Monday’s committee stated an appointment to the voluntary role could be made next summer.

The town could host a competition and ‘trial cry’ to find the right person for the job.

“It would need to be somebody like an ex-Sergeant Major – somebody with a good voice,” said Bognor mayor Pat Dillon.

Would you welcome the idea? Or do you know the perfect candidate for the job?

Email your thoughts to Bognortc@bognorregis.gov.uk or comment below.