AN ANCIENT tradition is being faithfully kept alive in Richmond by a town crier passionate about the history of the role and writing his own cries in verse.

Town crier Barry Heap is dressed to impress after taking delivery of his first new costume in 14 years in time for his St George's Day cry on Tuesday, April 23 – when he will also ascend to Master of the Guild of Fellmongers of Richmond.

Mr Heap, also a member of Richmond Town Council, said he made the role his own when he took it on, and ordered his own custom-made outfit after previously having to use general costumes from a local theatre group.

He said: "The original was black, white, and silver to reflect the Quaker influence in Richmond and it has served me well – I have worn it for countless town cries and two septennial Richmond Boundary Walks, which include 15 town cries around the course.

"When I was looking for the new one I wanted to use a local supplier, and I chose a burgundy waistcoat to update the look to the Georgian period, and it is a local colour. Brookes Tailors in Barnard Castle created the coat and waistcoat for me and it took six hours to complete the intricate detailing of the embroidery.

"The role of town crier is to inform and entertain, and I like to try and further embrace visitors to the town.

Mr Heap has a wealth of knowledge on the history of town crying – including the point that the town cries are given at the four points of the compass, with NSEW being an anagram of 'news' because the town crier's role was to deliver the news.

Mr Heap gives cries every Sunday between June and September at noon, and on other special occasion days such as St George's Day.

He added: " My suit will get its first outing, and that evening I will ascend to Master of Fellmongers in Richmond which is a great honour." There will be a ceremony at the town hall followed by a parade to St Mary's Church at 6.50pm.