Oyez, Oyez! Do you fancy being in with a shout as a town crier?

Colin Ballard in full cry
Colin Ballard in full cry

St Annes Town Council is looking for a successor to Colin Ballard, who is due to retire from the role on his 70th birthday next March after almost six years in the distinctive red coat.

The job is unpaid, but the appropriate clothing and equipment will be available, along with out-of-pocket expenses – and an audition will be a key part of the selection process.

Town Clerk Sally Taylor said: “Colin has become a highly valued part of the Town Council team and we will be very sad when he retires.

“He has given thousands of hours of his time, all unpaid, to entertain and support the town but we need to find his successor – so anyone who thinks they have the ‘voice’ and desire, please apply.”

Colin said: “I have had a great time and it has been wonderful to get out and about and meet so many wonderful people at all of our marvellous local events.

“But I think March, when I turn 70, will be the right time to call it a day and be able to spend more time with my family.

“There are women as well as men who are criers around the country, but there are only a relatively few of us and that number is even fewer in the north.”

Colin hopes that one of his final jobs as crier will be to welcome the new Shannon class lifeboat, expected at the St Annes RNLI boathouse early in the New Year. “That would be a lovely way to end my time as crier, “ he added.

Closing date for applications is Friday, November 17 at 5pm. Short-listed candidates need to be available to perform a ‘cry’ on Monday, November 27 at 10am.

An application pack is at www.stanneonthesea-tc.gov.uk or available in person from the Town Council offices in St Georges Road, St Annes.

Regal times

During his time as crier, Colin has proclaimed the health of The Queen on her 90th birthday as well as when she became longest-serving monarch.

He also fondly recalls when the Olympic torch came to town as part of its trail around the country ahead of the 2012 Games in London.

“It was 5.30am but hundreds turned out,” he said.