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St George Town Crier stood down

David Frith, the St George Town Crier, welcomes the Orange Route ferry as it arrives at Ordnance Island. (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The St George Town Crier has had to put down his bell after he was let go by the Corporation of St George.

But David Frith said yesterday he hoped to return to the post he had held for more than 15 years once tourists return in force to the East End.

He said: “Officially I am no longer employed by the Corporation, but as far as I’m concerned I’m still the Town Crier – I’m just not being paid to do anything.

“I am certainly more than willing to come back and do whatever the Corporation would like the Town Crier to do.”

Mr Frith said he was laid-off in mid-May, two after the Covid-19 pandemic reached the island, and was told in the autumn that he would be given a severance package.

He added that he was told that he had not been made redundant so that the post could be filled again.

Mr Frith said: “I can’t find any fault with the lay off – the fact that they paid me right up until the middle of May was generous to me as I think they could have laid me off earlier.”

He said many of his tasks as Town Crier were halted by the pandemic, including the popular ducking stool re-enactment and the greeting of cruise ship passengers.

Mr Frith said: “There haven’t been any cruise ships there recently, and it doesn’t look like there will be any soon.”

He added that the Town Crier was usually involved with the Christmas lights ceremony, but this year the lights had been turned on without a celebration.

Mr Frith said events like the recent 400th Anniversary of Parliament at St Peter’s Church would in the past have included the Town Crier, but the commemoration went ahead without him.

He said: “I have always been of the opinion that wherever the Mayor is, the Town Crier should be introducing him, but sadly that has not happened recently.”

A spokeswoman for the Corporation of St George yesterday said it could not comment on employment cases.

Mr Frith became the St George’s Town Crier in 2004 and has represented the town in international Town Crier competitions] several times.

He won the Sir Francis Drake Armada Cup at a competition in the UK in 2011 – a trophy claimed by former St George Town Crier Michael Jones in 2000.

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Published December 15, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 14, 2020 at 7:12 pm)

St George Town Crier stood down

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