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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Saturday, 18 May, 2002, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Town criers launch charter celebrations
Town crier graphic
Town criers from across Britain will shout their way around Tenby in south west Wales on Saturday at the start of celebrations to mark the 600th anniversary of its Royal charter.

Visitors to the popular Pembrokeshire resort will be treated to the sound of 19 visiting criers extolling the virtues of their home towns.

Tenby sea front
Tenby is celebrating its Royal charter anniversary

The competition officially opens a year of celebrations for Tenby, which was given its charter by Henry IV in 1402.

The charter allowed the port, which then enjoyed strong trading relationships with parts of Spain and France, to elect its own mayor.

Among other events scheduled to take place over the Jubilee weekend in June and later in the summer are an art show, a medieval banquets and firework processions.

The town crier invitation competition itself has been organised by Tenby's own officer crier for the last 21 years, John Thomas and his wife Caroline.

"He won't be taking part himself ," said Mrs Thomas "But we have competitors coming from as far afield as Cornwall and Yorkshire."

Visiting supporters

The competition will begin with a "warm-up" cry of 10 minutes in the morning with the main event taking place in the harbour

The criers will be judged on their, inflection, diction, content, bearing and costume.

As well as visiting supporters for the criers, it is hoped the contest will attract interest among tourists.

"We hope people will follow us down to the main harbour area," said Mrs Thomas.

"They should certainly be able to hear us!"

Royal visit

Organisers had hoped to attract a Royal visit, during this the Queen's Jubilee year, but have been unsuccessful, said Mrs Thomas.

"Perhaps we're too remote down here, " she said.

However, there will be one Royal visitor during the town crier competition.

"King Henry IV himself will be joining in the procession and will even have a throne to sit on," Mrs Thomas said.

The "king" will be handing out some of the special parchment scrolls which have been made to mark the 600th anniversary of the Royal charter.

Where I Live, South West Wales
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