A RETIRED schoolteacher has been picked as Chester-le-Street's first town crier.

Marjorie Dodds was the only woman out of five candidates short-listed for the post, all of whom were put before an impromptu audience of town centre shoppers and judges last Friday.

But it was Marjorie's performance that shone through, which the former teacher attributed to her experience of commanding the attention of a class.

She said: "I am thrilled to bits to have been chosen as Chester-le-Street's first-ever town crier. I relish the prospect of promoting Chester-le-Street town centre to visitors and locals alike."

Marjorie's first official appearance for the council will be on November 30, to help launch Chester-le-Street's Christmas celebrations. The event will include Santa's arrival and the switching-on of Christmas lights.

The Traders' Association are to supply her with a £2,000 outfit.

* Five finalists - See Page 1