Windsor & Maidenhead town crier hopefuls in audition

Clockwise from bottom left: David Peking; Peter Dauncey, director of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers; Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Colin Rayner; Owen Collier, vice-chairman of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers and Roy Austin; with Mike Foster middle left and Chris Brown middle right. The candidates ended their announcements with "God save the Queen".

A taxi driver and a toastmaster were among those who tried out for the role of town crier in Windsor.

Four shortlisted candidates, hoping to become Windsor and Maidenhead's first town crier in 90 years, took it in turns in demonstrate their skills.

The unconventional job interview was judged by the borough's mayor, three councillors and a BBC radio presenter.

A web designer and a company director also competed for the voluntary role. The winner will be named on Thursday.

'Dress up'

Chris Brown, 44, who runs his own web design business in Windsor, also volunteers as a guide at Windsor and Royal Borough Museum.

He said: "I applied because I love the sound of my own voice way too much. I saw it and thought that sounds like fun - any excuse to dress up in a costume.

"It's about being part of Windsor's history. I love this place, it's wonderful."

Toastmaster Roy Austin, 58, whose day job is with John Lewis distribution, has officiated at events for the Countess of Wessex, among others.

He comes from Hurst, near Wokingham, where there is already a town crier but he was making inquiries about opportunities elsewhere when he heard about the Windsor and Maidenhead job.

He said: "I couldn't believe they didn't have a town crier. It's not like your normal town - it's in the heart of everything."

Sense of humour

The candidates gathered in Windsor town centre for their lunchtime debut where they began their announcement with "oyez, oyez, oyez" before improvising their own message, ending with "God save the Queen".

Taxi driver Mike Foster, 53, from Maidenhead, said he did a light-hearted speech because one of the requirements in the job description was a sense of humour.

He said: "I'm something of a traditionalist.

"I enjoy the pageantry but, like many Englishmen, I do not take myself too seriously."

The Maidenhead cabbie is known at his church as Mike-no-mic for his clear public speaking voice.

'Wear tights'

Part-time company director David Pelling, 56, from Reading, said he heard about the vacancy while he was volunteering during the Olympics at Eton Dorney.

He did both his application and improvised cry in rhyme.

He also admitted: "One of my friends said, you're only doing it so you can wear the tights."

The candidates are being judged by Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Colin Rayner, councillors Eileen Quick, Richard Kellaway and Alan Mellins, and BBC Radio Berkshire presenter Rory McAllister.

Also at the event was Peter Dauncey, director of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers, and vice-chairman Owen Collier.

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