Dorset’s town criers met to honour the county town’s record-breaking former occupant of the role and carry out their annual competition.

Town criers from all over the county gathered at Brewery Square in Dorchester to pay tribute to the outgoing Cllr Alistair Chisholm.

The gathering took place on Saturday, March 16 where Cllr Chisholm, mayor of Dorchester, was presented with a set of Thomas Hardy films and a staff, commissioned for the occasion, inlaid with badges representing the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers, Dorchester’s town crest, and the flag of Dorset.

Dorset Echo:

The group then competed in the Stanley Mansbridge Perpetual Trophy, an annual competition for Dorset-based town criers.

The winner of last year’s trophy, Chris Brown of Wimborne Minster, incorporated the 2024 competition into the day and criers were asked to deliver a cry under the title Alistair Chisholm.

Dorset Echo:

Cries were judged upon their content by Serjant of Musket and Deputy Town Crier of Wimborne Minster, Mel Gudger, who also judged the best dressed award, The Kevin Knapp Best Dressed Dorset Town Crier. 

The resulting cries were informative and amusing, covering Cllr Chisholm's adventures and many amusing moments.

The escapade mentioned the most was the time he delivered a cry upon Studland nudist beach, wearing just his tricorn hat, scroll and bell.

However, it was abundantly clear from all the cries that the county’s criers hold a lot of love for Cllr Chisholm, and his partner Kate.

Chris Brown, Town Mayor's Serjant, Crier and Freeman of Wimborne Minster and Colehill, said: “Alistair is held in high regard by his compatriots and is without doubt the most successful town crier in competitions around the country and further afield as well as being a supportive and inspiring friend to all.

“Thanks to Andrew Fleming, town crier of Swanage for organising the day and Hannah Fleming-Hill for photographing the escapades.”

The best cry was judged to be the one delivered by Liz Rawlings of Blandford Forum.

Dorset Echo:

The Best Dressed prize was given to Jacqui Hall of Wareham, which was presented by Karen Knapp, the daughter of the late Kevin, who was town crier of Sturminster Newton and who the trophy is named after. 

Dorset Echo:

Cllr Chisholm stepped down from the role officially on New Year’s Eve last year. He had been in the role for 27 years, which historically is the town’s longest-serving crier on record.

In that time, Cllr Chisholm tied the record for most national awards in crying, winning the national competition 11 times. 

He was replaced by Anthony Harrison, who is expected to give his first public cry for an event to commemorate the eightieth anniversary of D-Day.

The winning cry: 


It’s fair to say that Alistair Chisholm

has perfected the art of Town Crierism


You don’t need a microscope a spoon or a prism

to find the good egg in Alistair Chisholm


His stellar career needs no endorsement.

as his trophy shelf needs reinforcement

His trophies and prizes fill many a shelf

but he’s a true champ – not full of himself


engaging and dramatic, a masterful hoot.

The Greatest Champion Town Crier – no dispute

A comedian and improvisor, he’s lightening quick

A learned man with gravitas and disarming wit


With Kate by his side they were a couple renown

But his weekly Ghost Walk scared most of the town

God Save the King