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Town Crier to step down after 17 years

FROME town crier, Mike Bishop, has handed in his resignation as he says he no longer feels appreciated by the town council.

Mike, who has been the town crier for 17 years, says that he used to attend and cry at around seven events in the town each year when he first took on the role, but says that he now is only invited to the annual remembrance service, the carnival, and the lighting of the Valentine Lamp. Mike will step down in November after handing in his resignation to the town council in May.

Speaking to Frome Times, Mike said, “I feel as if the town council does not appreciate me or my services anymore. As part of my contract with them I am supposed to attend ten civic duties a year but the council never give me anything to do.

“I get more support from people in the town than I do the council which makes me think that the council doesn’t even want a crier anymore. Several council workers and councillors didn’t even know we have a town crier which says it all really.”

Mike says represented the town in many different crier competitions in Frome and across the country and Europe throughout the years – all at his own expense to promote the town’s profile. At his height he attended 25 different competition each year.

“It can cost a lot of money to attend all these”, added Mike. “One year it came to £2,500, but money is no major issue as I love doing it, but it’s becoming harder to justify that expense when it feels like I’m not wanted anymore.

“For example, when Jensen Button came to Frome years ago, which was a really big thing for the town as we had national attention, I was told I was surplus to requirements. I attended some Platinum Jubilee events last year, but when it came to the proclamation of the new king, I was again told that I wasn’t needed and that the mayor would read it out instead.”

Traditionally, town criers receive a small financial honorarium each year to cover some of the travel expenses when they cover local events, but Mike does not receive anything.

Mayor of Frome, cllr Philip Campagna said, “Frome Town Council is saddened to receive the resignation of Frome’s Town Crier Mike Bishop, and extends the gratitude of the whole town for the brilliant job Mike has carried out over the past 17 years.  During his time as town crier Mike has admirably represented and promoted Frome and his resignation will leave a significant civic hole.”

Mike will be stepping down from his role in November, and in recognition of his contribution to the town, the mayor has invited Mike to attend the town council meeting in November to receive a Civic Award which he has duly accepted.  The town hall will also host an exhibition of his time in office to coincide with the commendation.

Pictured: Mike Bishop at the Platinum Jubilee.

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