Town crier returns for festival parade

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OYEZ! Oyez! Oyez!

Those traditional words of the town crier were making a comeback today as a former Whitburn lad returns to home turf.

Crier Jim Chambers, who now lives in Washington, was due to lead the colourful South Tyneside Summer Festival Parade in South Shields today.

The parade will be a homecoming of sorts for Jim and he will be revisiting his borough roots to carry out his official duties.

The 67-year-old is sure to cut an unmissable figure in his bright red robes, ringing his bell, while calling all asunder to listen to his proclamations.

He has been appointed to signal the event’s official start outside South Shields Town Hall, before leading the parade of local people through the town and down to a summer fayre in Bents Park.

More than 800 people were due to take part in the parade, which is part of a three-month programme of free live music and family events.

Charity fundraiser Jim said: “A town crier can add colour and excitement to an event and attract tourists into the area.

“The tradition goes back as far as the Old Testament and town criers were even responsible for putting people in the stocks at one time.”