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Hear ye! Hear ye! Bungay town crier shares passion for historical role with son

PUBLISHED: 06:25 13 August 2016

Bungay town crier Martin Payne with his son Kevin (left) who is also a town crier in Devon. They are believed to be the only father and son town criers in the country. 

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Bungay town crier Martin Payne with his son Kevin (left) who is also a town crier in Devon. They are believed to be the only father and son town criers in the country. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

©archant2016

Some fathers and sons share a love of football, rugby or fishing.

But Martin Payne has passed on a more unusual passion to his son Kevin, as the pair are believed to be the only father and son town criers in the country.

Martin is Bungay’s town crier, and when teacher Kevin saw an advert for the role in his town of Crediton in Devon, he knew he was the man for the job.

“I saw the town council were advertising, and with dad already being a town crier I felt compelled to have a go,” said Kevin. “It has been fun so far, I’ve been leading processions and other community events and dad has given me some advice.”

Kevin contacted the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers, who believe the duo are the only current father and son in the UK to hold the positions.

Kevin said: “I think some fathers and sons go fishing, but this is our equivalent.

“But for me it’s part of the sense of history in a 
town.”

Martin, a retired NHS manager, feels the same way about the role he has held since 2014.

He said: “Being a town crier is about being a part of community events.

“Bungay has got a thriving social and commercial community and it’s very rewarding to be a part of that.

“Being a town crier is a privilege and an honour, and it is great to be a part of the history, traditions and pageantry of our country.

“I’m proud to be involved in civic events and to be an ambassador for the town.”

Kevin visited the area last week, and he and his father each performed a special cry at the Buttercross in Bungay to commemorate having the two town criers in one place.

The role of a town crier goes back centuries, and more modernly involves accompanying the mayor or town reeve in the execution of their public engagements and helping with announcements.

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