The sounds of town criers rang out through Melksham on Saturday, as criers from across Europe descended on the town for an international contest.

It was organised by Melksham crier and Lions Club member Peter Dauncey, and coincided with a celebration of the club’s 40th anniversary.

Some 17 town criers took part in the contest, including Trowbridge’s Trevor Heeks and Willy Van Der Putte, from Ghent in Belgium.

Mr Dauncey said: “It went absolutely superbly, without a hitch at all. There was magnificent colour and display. We were delighted with it. We had 17 town criers in the end and 13 lady escorts.”

The Kings Arms cup for best crier, sponsored by the Market Place pub, was awarded to Peder Nielson, from Bromyard, Herefordshire.

The competition was arranged alongside a family fun day organised by the Lions.

The crowds were entertained by the Enigma Baton Twirling team, kickboxing displays from Dragon’s Lair gym, and maypole dancing from local schoolchildren.

Lions’ activities chairman Simon White said: “It was very successful, we had some very positive feedback from people. My highlight was Mr Wilkins Shilling clog dancing, and the ATC Band.

“There were lots of people there in the morning, and it got even busier in the afternoon, and lots of people are already asking about the date for next year.

“This was the first time in a while we have done something like this – we have done fetes, midget car racing and fun days before, but not for quite a long time – and it’s already being considered for next year.”

The event raised about £1,400 for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and other Melksham charities supported by the Lions Club.