Oyez! I bring ye Harry Turburville...the youngest town crier in the world!
- Credit: Archant
While many boys his age enjoy playing football Harry Turburville has a slightly different hobby which holds a lot of tradition.
For the 11-year-old is Thetford’s junior town crier - and is believed to currently be the youngest town crier in the world.
In 2014 the East Harling youngster entered a competition to find a junior town crier for Thetford after his mother recommended it. He has not looked back.
“I just thought I would do the competition and that would be the end,” said Harry, who lives with his mother and father, Cheryl and Pierre, and sister Emily.
“It is bringing back history. People in the past liked town criers because they did not have radios.”
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He added: “I like town crying because it is a little but like being famous. I like getting attention and people watching me. I like wearing the outfit and it makes me feel proud.”
Mrs Turburville said the whole family is proud of Harry and that he is a natural.
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“He has done so well and we are really proud of him,” she said. “Before he did this he would not have even thought about it. We had no idea how this was going to pan out. But he is just a natural.
“He transforms when he gets that outfit on. He is very professional.”
The youngster is set to have a starring role alongside fellow town crier Mike Wabe when they take part in the national Battle’s Over - A Nation’s Tribute.
The event, on November 11, will mark the end of the First World War and Harry and Mr Wabe will participate in A Cry for Peace in Thetford.
Mr Wabe, who has been the town crier for four years, said: “Harry is just absolutely brilliant at it. He is great and he is really keen is up for it all the time. It is brilliant someone so young wants to remain involved. He took to it like a duck to water.”
The East Harling Primary School pupil said that he has no plans to stop taking part in town crier events.
“It is a bit nerve wracking at the start but when I get going it is really fun,” he said. “It is great fun and you get to stand out from other people and you get to meet different people.
“I am proud of what I do. My teachers encourage me and that is why I like to keep going, as my headteacher is proud of what I am doing.”
History of the town crier in Britain
Town criers in Britain can be traced back to the Norman Invasion in 1066. Two town criers (men with bells) are featured on the Bayeux Tapestry.
The current position of town crier began in the 17th century.
They were paid to inform people of news but would also cry about an event, obituary notices, news of plagues, victories in wars and royal births and deaths.
‘Oyez’ comes from the French word for ‘listen’ or ‘hark’.
It starts any proclamation by a town crier and is repeated three times.
The cry ends with a salutation to the monarch, with the words ‘God Save the Queen’.
Once he had read out the message, the town crier would then attach it to the door post of the local inn - posting a notice.
They were protected by law and because what they did was done in the name of the monarch it was an act of treason to harm them.