Oyez! Oyez! Town crier Jim Chambers to lead Washington Heritage Parade

Jim Chambers leading the 2015 Washington Heritage Parade.
Jim Chambers leading the 2015 Washington Heritage Parade.
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Oyez! Oyez! Town crier Jim Chambers will be leading the way at an upcoming parade.

Oyez! Oyez! Town crier Jim Chambers will be leading the way at an upcoming parade.

Jim Chambers is to lead the Washington Heritage Parade.

Jim Chambers is to lead the Washington Heritage Parade.

The 71-year-old will be out in front at the Washington Heritage Parade when it comes to the town on Saturday, September 17.

Jim, who lives in Usworth, will lead the procession of local colliery and school banners groups, WymRyder Motor bike group, local dance and theatre groups, The Rainbow Centre Children’s Centre, Durham Cadets and led by Ferry Hill Brass band from Washington Gardener’s Club at 9.45am, along Front Street and onto Albany Way.

The parade’s arrival at F-Pit Museum in Albany Park at 10am will help mark the beginning of the free, family carnival which will be opened by the Mayor and run until 4pm.

The grandad-of-four said: “I’ve led it for the last four or five years and it’s an honour to do it every time.

“I was elected as a town crier and the Queen’s own town crier Joe David travelled up from London to give me the outfit and everything.

“I don’t do it as much now because of my health, but I enjoy getting involved in parades, I’ve done some in South Tyneside too.

“I’m honoured to lead the parade and very proud to do it. I’m really looking forward to it.”

The parade is part of the Washington Carnival, formerly the Washington Heritage Event, which helps chart the fascinating history of Washington whilst offering a fun-filled family day out with music, dance, traditional crafts, games, children’s rides, exhibitions and a range of activities and attractions.

When Jim reaches Albany Park, he’ll be setting up a stall selling postcards to raise funds for charity the RNIB, which helps people with sight loss.

Jim said: “When we get to the park, I’ll welcome the mayor and mayoress who will open the event then I’ll go off to my stall to raise funds for the RNIB, who I worked with for 13 years.

“I’ve retired now but I still do some fundraising every now and again. It’s a charity close to my heart because my dad, Thomas, lost his sight and I’ll never forget it. He lost his sight through smoking and it’s something that I don’t think many people know can happen. They’ve only started to publicise it recently by writing it on cigarette packets.

“I’ll be selling postcards of me dressed in my town crier outfit for £1, or for £1.35 I’ll draw a picture on them, I do all sorts of things like famous people or nice scenes.”

Coun Linda Williams, chair of Washington Area Committee, said: “The Washington Carnival is a fantastic family event, with something for everyone to enjoy with children at the heart of the celebrations.

“We want to provide the members of our community with the chance to learn more about the magnificent history and tradition of Washington and feel part of it, whilst celebrating the area by taking part in all of the fun activities available on the day.”