Doncaster town crier rings his final bell

Doncaster Crier Henry Cryer delivers his proclomation at Clock Corner.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Doncaster Crier Henry Cryer delivers his proclomation at Clock Corner. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
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Doncaster’s town crier has rung his bell for the very last time - causing an outcry among local residents.

Henry Cryer, aged 58, has been the town’s crier for more than five years, but said the need to support his wife has forced him to give up a role he has loved.

I enjoyed it, I have been sad about giving it up, but I am relieved I can take the pressure off my wife

Henry Cryer

“When I was inaugurated in August 2010 there was an agreement between myself and Doncaster Council that they would pay me to cry in the town every Saturday,” said Henry. “However, in February last year they decided they could no longer pay me.

“I have continued in the role but at Christmas time I decided I needed to get another job to be able to support my wife, Gillian. She was working between 70 and 80 hours a week as a support worker for Mencap, a charity that works with people with learning disabilities, as I wasn’t earning very much.

“Last month, I also got a job as a support worker with Mencap and decided it was time to give up my role as town crier. I have enjoyed it, and I have been sad about giving it up, but I am relieved I can now take the pressure off my wife. Just as the council did what is best for them, I am doing what is best for me.”

Henry, who lives in Sheffield, added: “My new job requires me to be available 24/7 and it would not be fair on my new colleagues for me to ask for time off to attend an event as the town crier.

“I have given up my bell so I am not tempted to do any more events. On May 25, I gave it to Doncaster Brewery Tap. I thought this was appropriate as in times gone by the town crier was the local ale tester too. I think they may use it to call last orders.”

Resident Stephen Hamilton said he was sad that Henry had been forced to give up his role because of council cutbacks.

He said: “For crying out loud. Mr Henry Cryer has been doing Doncaster proud and loud for year. Farewell to the tradition.”

Meanwhile Darren Emson reacted to the news on the Doncaster Town Crier Facebook page.

“That’s a shame, but I wish you all the best for whatever you do next,” he said, echoing the views of others who also commented on the page.

And Jennifer de Donges said: “Doncaster will miss you. Shame on the council for destroying a lovely tradition.”

Town criers have been heard on streets across the UK for around 400 years. Traditionally, the crier, also known as the ‘bell man’, would be used for announcing news to the masses.

Doncaster Council declined to comment.