Oyez! Oyez! ...we’ve got beds

Blackpool Town Cryer Barry McQueen
Blackpool Town Cryer Barry McQueen
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TOWN criers are hopeful their event can go ahead in full – thanks to kind-hearted hoteliers.

Cutbacks mean less funding is available for Blackpool’s annual town criers’ competition which attracts contestants from across the country.

In the past they have had accommodation paid for, but this year there is only enough money to cover the costs of a dinner, trophies and a parade.

But Blackpool town crier Barry McQueen says following coverage in The Gazette, he has been approached by B&B owners in the town willing to put people up for free.

He said: “I have been amazed at the amount of people who have come up to me offering accommodation for the event.

“I have also had e-mails from hotels offering to help out. We understand cuts have to be made but as a town we can’t just lie down, we have to keep going.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to wants to keep this event going in Blackpool and if five hotels offer free accommodation for the criers then I’m optimistic the competition will be as good as ever.”

It had been feared town criers from further afield, including Devon and Cornwall, would have to miss out on this year’s competition on July 16 in St John’s Square.

The town centre Business Improvement District (BID) is putting £1,500 into covering this year’s costs.

Last year, the event cost £5,000 with expenses split between BID and Blackpool Council’s events budget.

But this year there is no council funding, and the BID also has less money to allocate to the event.