‘Oyez, oyez, oyez! 20 delightful years’


Natalie Barnett

THE voice of Chester with a larger than life personality to match, award-winning town crier David Mitchell is celebrating two decades in the role.

But despite clocking up an impressive 20 years this year, he says there are no plans to hang up his famous bell and gown just yet.

Dressing in regalia and shouting at complete strangers in the street has brought its fair share of surreal moments, but for David it has proved a labour of love.

His affair with the role began when he dressed in full regalia to wake his then bride-to-be Julie on the morning of their 1989 wedding day after the then town crier was forced to pull out.

Soon after, the role became a family affair in the Mitchell household with David and Julie forming the first husband and wife town crier partnership in the city’s history.

Son Spencer, now aged 12, joined the ranks aged two, winning his first title as ‘Best Dressed Escort’ and Apprentice Town Crier in 2008.

From daredevil circus high wire walking at Chester Racecourse, daredevil horseback wedding proclamations, to daily appearances at Chester Cross and thousands of comic and unusual encounters along the way, David’s memories of his role are rich.

“How the time has flown. It does not feel like 20 years if I am honest, there have been so many excellent times and memories along the way.

“Each and everyone has been an experience – perhaps most memorable and most nerve-racking was the high wire zip walk recently; that was unforgettable.

“Of course there are too many experiences to mention but meeting the thousands of amazing people who have visited Chester over the years has, and remains a delight, and I intend to carry on with the role for as long as possible – it is a fantastic pleasure.”

David, of Hoole, Chester, who became deputy town crier in 1992, and town crier for Chester in 1998, recalls the day he was thrown in at the deep end and became a town crier, waking up his wife-to be in full costume after the then town crier was forced to pull out at the last minute.

“I had organised for Julie to be woken up with a proclamation on the morning of our wedding day in 1989, but I never expected to be doing it myself.

“I had to step in at the last minute, it was quite nerve-racking but then I got a taste for it and the rest, as they say, is history.”

Readers were given an insight in to how it all began for David through the pages of his recently published book For Crying Out Loud.

David is the current British champion town crier and the book highlights his experiences competing in world town crier tournaments.

He was also named Best Dressed Crier and People’s Champion, both of which he won at the LCTC British Championship in Alnwick, Northumberland, in July, 2008.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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