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Town crier appointed by Erin councillors

Saved by the bell? - Erin Mayor Lou Maieron, Wellington County Warden Chris White and Erin’s new town crier Andrew Welch pose briefly during a March 20 meeting.  photo by Mike Robinson

Town crier appointed by Erin councillors

by Mike Robinson

ERIN

With the ringing of a bell and a hearty “Hear Ye, Hear Ye,” Erin council started off with the sounds of town crier Andrew Welch.

“To all good people gathered here in the council chambers of the town of Erin, including special guests ... I bid you welcome to this auspicious gathering.

“As an active member of the Ontario Guild of Town Criers, and a local resident, I have been invited to participate in the call to order of this meeting and to take part in the induction of the Wall of Fame participants.”

Welch was also a delegation to the meeting regarding the appointment of an official town crier.

Mayor Lou Maieron said “I thought we’d start our meeting with a bit of pomp and circumstance.”

He noted that Erin also recently held its first, in a long time, St. Patrick’s Day parade on the previous Saturday.

“We were noisy enough to stop traffic both ways for a short period of time.”

As a result, he asked “why not appoint a town crier with some official duties. I think he did a wonderful job”

Welch noted a lot of people are unfamiliar with what a town crier actually does.

Starting with ... “On behalf of town criers across the globe ... salutations,” Welch explained, in rhyme, the job is one means to greet people from far and near.

“It is also a fun way for towns to say, we have both fun and history here.”

Welch added having a town crier can add ‘zing’ to local events such as the fall fair, local parades or such.

“A town crier adds that special touch.” He noted the finest criers compete as well.

“Imagine having Erin’s charms praised to guests in far off spots ... a crier’s presence will tell them lots.”

Once the appointment is made and there is a need, “the crier fits the bill, from hat to shoe.”

Mayor Lou Maieron noted that Welch had obviously invested in some green attire ... including a very large emerald on his hat.

Councillors here quickly passed the motion to engage the services of a town crier for civic events and promotions.

He added the Erin BIA had hired Welch for its events.

Maieron added Andrew Welch has made it known that he is willing and able to be the official town crier for the Town of Erin.

He noted the appointment also means Erin would be represented on both the local and national stage.

“There is no financial committment in appointing a town crier - as engagements are handled on a case-by-case basis.”

Welch said he looked forward to taking part in many wonderful events.

Welch has done theatre and specialty voice work for the past 25 years, and was doing a Dickens reading a couple of Christmases ago and someone said “Boy, you’ve got a loud voice. You should be a town crier. I looked into it and found out the municipalities around me didn’t have a town crier.”

As a result, Welch put together a uniform and a proposal.

“It’s been busy, busy, busy.”

Welch has participated in provincial competitions, but wasn’t ‘official’ until recently when he became a member of the town criers guild.

“There are probably more town criers per captia in Ontario than any other part of the world,” Welch said.

He added the current world champion is from Kingston, “but I hope the next world champion, or close to it, will be from the Town of Erin.”

Click here for online video.

Vol 45 Issue 13

March 30, 2012

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