MR ROBERT NEEDHAM
I became Colchester's Town Crier in October 1997.
I am a member of The Loyal Company of Town Criers and a former Chairman of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers.
I like to compete in Town Crier Competitions whenever I can and have had the pleasure of representing Colchester extensively in the UK, on the European Continent and also in Australia!
On the competition front, I have been European Champion, twice Champion of the Guild of Town Criers, thrice South of England Champion and thrice Ely's East of England Champion.
Additionally, winning trophies have been brought back to Colchester from events at Bromyard, Belper, Melton Mowbray, Nuneaton & Bedworth, City of Peterborough and Zwolle, Holland.
Oh yes, and a 3rd place round at the World Town Crier Tournament at Chester.
I can be heard at local fetes, carnivals, fayres and can boost any commercial promotion (once disturbing the peace in Oxford Street, London W1).
Likewise, I enjoy acting as Master of Ceremonies and can add that special note to a wedding or formal evening.
European Town Criers in Colchester.
The Guild of Town Criers European Continent hold a championship contest every two years.
They held their bi-annual championships in Colchester on 20th August 2016, when contestants from Belgium,
Holland and the UK filled Colchester with colour and sound in spectacular style.
Please click on this link to see some of the contestants in action.
I am pleased to state that Colchester has been chosen to host the Town Crier British Championships.
The competition will be held on Saturday 5th August 2017.
Colchester's Town Crier
now comes with a health warning!
It is commonly suggested that workers exposed to sustained sound levels of 90-95 decibels may suffer permanent hearing loss. I hit a maximum level of 101 decibels at the British Town Criers Championship held at Bridlington. My highest recording was 104.5 decibels at the Australian Championships, held in the City of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.
Takes a leading role.
In September 2010, I was voted in as Chairman of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers.
I stood down from this position in September 2016.
"Town Crier heralds the Olympics."
Robert had the honour of heralding the start of London 2012 from the gardens of Westminster and took part in a continuous peel of bells (including Big Ben, Speaker John Bercow and MP Dianne Abbot) that latest for 3 minutes on the opening morning of the games. Later the same day he had the role of greeting athletes as they assembled in the Olympic Village during their preparations for the opening ceremony. The busy Olympic schedule continued with greetings for the Closing Ceremony of the Modern Olympics as well as similar roles with the Paralympics.
The Town Crier of Colchester, J. Everett.
Reprinted from the Essex County Standard, December 7th, 1907
Photo by Deacon of Colchester
Includes Town Crier's Proclamation on December 1st:
"Cold December hath set in;
Poor men's backs are clothed thin;
Trees are bare, the birds are mute;
A pot and toast would very well suit."
This tradition was revived on 1st December 2010 when the Mayor of Colchester, Councillor Sonia Lewis invited the Town Crier to re-create the proclamation as part of her Mayor's Charity Evening in the town centre. Born at Coggeshall in 1851 and raised by his newagent uncle William and aunt Mary, by the time he was nine years old John was working in the family business at Sudbury. When the family moved to premises in George St. Colchester he continued to be employed by his uncle in the newsagent's business. John married Grace Sarah Simms at St. Martins Church, Colchester in 1874, together they had seven children, all supported by John's activites in the newspaper agency. As an extra he would progress around Colchester town centre with bill boards advertising local shop wares. His uncle William died on Jan 1st 1883 and although literate it was only then he discovered the family name was Everett and not Everitt. All his children had been registered as Everitt but the last son born in 1883 was registered as Everett and John used that spelling thereafter.
In 1900 the post of Colchester Town Crier became vacant and John was appointed. He was the last official crier of the medieval line; a post he held until his death in July 1917. He was a Colour Sergeant in the local militia, based at Stanwell St, Colchester and, during the Great War, 1914-1918 acted as recruiting sergeant for Colchester.
John apparently lived well, he suffered from gout and it was an infection from this ailment that caused him to have blood poisoning which caused his death. He was buried in a pauper's grave, joined later by his wife Grace in 1938. They are buried behind the Angican Chapel at Colchester Cemetery and on the 90th anniverary of his death many of his decendants gathered around the grave to dedicate a memorial stone to his and Grace's memory.
( Recorded by his great grandson Frederick Charles Everitt)
If you require any further information, please contact me at:
Mr Robert Needham
'One of the Nations top Town Criers'
1 Feedhams Close
Colchester CO7 9HZ
tel 01206 824446
Site first established June 2003