Town crier Vic Watson is to stage his last ever competition in Huddersfield town centre this month – but he’s certainly not retiring.
Vic, 73, of Dalton , has been Huddersfield’s town crier for the last 20 years and he’s organised a town crier competition for all but two of those years.
But this month’s event will be the last as Vic is suffering with sciatica and has to walk with a stick.
It also costs around £600 to stage the contest which has attracted a record 12 entrants this year and fundraising has become harder.
The competition was saved three years ago but Vic said: “This is definitely the last as it gets harder as I get older.
“But I certainly won’t be giving up as town crier. I love it too much.”
Vic, who looks resplendent in his turquoise suit, sequined waistcoat and top hat – has a lot of fundraising to do every year.
His one big regret is that Kirklees Council doesn’t fund his activities as several other local authorities do elsewhere.
“A few weeks ago there was a competition in Bishops Stortford and there was two nights’ bed and breakfast, all meals and a gala dinner and the council paid for it all,” said Vic.
“I have also been to smaller places, like Nelson in Lancashire, and their council has paid but Kirklees won’t give me a penny.”
Vic was given the role two decades ago by Huddersfield’s town centre management group and he has continued with the unpaid role ever since.
He has criers from as far afield as Bedworth and Nuneaton in Warwickshire coming and wants to go out in style.
Vic has to pay for coffee, a buffet lunch in Huddersfield Town Hall and prizes and goody bags for the criers.
He has chosen the subject of the second cry as ‘famous sons of Huddersfield’ and the contestants must come up with their own well-known Huddersfield personality and compose some witty words to impress the judges.
Vic reckons his subject will be easier than one in a recent competition in Garstang near Preston “the legacy of Beatrix Potter.”
Vic was last up to give his cry and by that time all the material he’d written had been used by the other criers.
A couple of weeks ago Vic won Best Dressed Crier at Knaresborough in North Yorkshire and he’s proud of his bespoke outfit.
“Other criers say it’s a bit bright but I love it,” he said. “Some outfits are black but I think black is awful.
“Most are red, of course, but when I wear red I look like Santa Claus!”