Warminster's festival's in full cry

This Is Wiltshire: Warminster town crier Phil Seddon gathers the town criers and escorts with deputy mayor Pip Ridout, centre.                     Photos: Glenn Phillips (39351) Warminster town crier Phil Seddon gathers the town criers and escorts with deputy mayor Pip Ridout, centre. Photos: Glenn Phillips (39351)

The 10th Warminster festival got under way at the weekend with a riot of colour during the biennial town crier competition.

A total of 21 town criers and their escorts paraded through the streets to the town park under blue skies.

The criers, from as far afield as Ghent in Belgium, took to the bandstand to make their home cry in the morning.

Judges took into account volume, clarity, diction and inflection and Pip Ridout, deputy mayor of Warminster, awarded the Imperial Charities Trophy to Belgian crier Willy Van De Putte.

Second place went to David Fry, from south Gloucestershire with Trowbridge crier Trevor Heeks finishing third and also picking up the coveted Wiltshire Cup.

Warminster town crier, Phil Seddon, whose cry was called ‘Warminster – UFO capital of England?’, said he was proud to welcome the criers to his own town.

He said: “I am delighted to return the hospitality offered by towns all over the country for these magnificent competitions – the pageantry and colour of these town crier events are a great boost to tourism throughout the country.

“As last year’s winner of the prestigious Wiltshire Cup, I was very pleased to hand it on to a very worthy Wiltshire crier, Trevor Heeks.”

The festival started on Friday with an exhibition of art and photography by Warminster Camera Club at Warminster Library, opened by Warminster Festival committee chairman, Dorothea Sultana De Maria.

Mrs Sultana De Maria, who will be stepping down as chairman after the festival, said: “It was a very good day on Saturday – very colourful, there were town criers from all over the country.

“I have attended a number of the events so far. I opened the festival at the art exhibition on Friday and I was also at the wedding fair at St Laurence Church.

“There is absolutely something for everybody.

“I will also be at the finale , which is going to be good.”

The festival continues today with a country market at Warminster Library, running between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

Tomorrow sees the Legion Lollop, a four-mile run, in the park as well as a battle of the bands competition, running from 11am to 4pm.

The Athenaeum will host the festival finale tomorrow, starting at 8pm.

For event listings and tickets, call Warminster Library on 01985 216022.

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