A FORMER member of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, Raymond Churchill was looking for a new challenge when he moved back to Ross to marry his childhood sweetheart.

Ray Churchill, grew up in Allensmore and went to school at John Kyrle High School. His family farms near Symonds Yat and his sister still farms at Llanwarne.

After leaving the army he was living in Devon when he volunteered to become a Standard Bearer and he has also taken part in several amateur productions. He told the Ross Gazette he has written several plays and poems and has especially enjoyed appearing in pantomimes.

The former soldier said that all these thing seemed to come together when he saw the appeal for someone to take on the voluntary role as a Town Crier for Ross-on-Wye.

He said that the Town Crier is a very traditional part of a market town like Ross and he is very suportive of the traditions of Great Britian.

The tradition of Town Criers goes back thousands of years. When few people could read or write, Town Criers were key in getting information to people. Today, Town Criers help to promote civic pride and add spectacle to the streets during special events. As this year is the 75th anniversary of VE Day and is a celebration of Gilpin2020 Ross Town Council decided to develop its tourism strategy to increase various cultural events within the town.

They felt it was the ideal time to appoint a Town Crier. Councillor Jane Roberts, Mayor of Ross-on-Wye told the Ross Gazette: “Ross-on-Wye is a lively place that values its heritage, so it makes sense to recruit a Town Crier to make our events even more special.  I am looking forward to hearing the applicants in full cry in March.

“Not only will a Town Crier help bring the Market Place alive but he or she will be able to let both residents and visitors to the town know what is going on.”

Two applicants, Rymond Churchill and Brian Jackson, took to the steps of The Market House on Thursday to battle for the role in front of a panel of judges including Bromyard’s Town Crier, Peder Nielson, who was named national champion at the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers competition in 2019.

They both read ‘cries’ extolling the pleasures of Ross-on-Wye and the reasons why people should visit and they both gave very strong performances before the judges retired to make a final decision and selected Mr Churchill.