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By Ian Dipple Wednesday 03 April 2013 Updated: 03/04 13:44
THE WINNER of this year's Heart of England Town Crier Competition has dedicated his victory to late Alcester councillor Bill Malin.
Paul Gough, who has been town crier for Nuneaton and Bedworth for 25 years, took the title for the fifth time and instantly paid tribute to Mr Malin, Alcester's former long-standing town crier himself who passed away in February.
"I am absolutely elated and delighted to have won! I’ve been coming to Alcester many, many years and Bill was a good friend and mentor to me."
The event, which has been held in Alcester for over 40 years, saw 18 colourfully costumed contestants from as far afield as Devon and Somerset attempt to shout it out on Saturday (March 30).
Alcester's Court Leet led a procession through the town's streets to the historic Malt Mill Lane gardens where there was two hours of bell ringing and shouts on the subject of 'when the sun shines'.
Runner-up was Peder Nielson from Bromyard in Herefordshire, who also won the Best Dressed Crier, while Ken Knowles from Lichfield was third.
David Parkes, Alcester's present town crier and who organised the event, said it was a wonderful occasion.
"I am proud to play a part in keeping this unique and colourful tradition alive. It must have been our coldest competition ever, but even a few flakes of snow did not deter all from taking part. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making it a truly special day."
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