Two rival town criers are locked in a ‘ding-dong’ row after one accused the other of invading his territory – by performing at the opening of a shop.
Mike Kean-Price, 67, has been the official crier for the Cotswolds town of Tewkesbury, Glos., since 1998.
But he is furious after Peder Nielsen, 65, a rival crier from nearby Bromyard, Herefordshire, performed at the launch of a new shop in his town.
Both men are members of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers and Mike believes that Peder’s actions have broken a moral code.
Retired civil servant Mike (pictured) said: ”It’s a moral thing. I’ve never gone into another town and taken the job of another town crier.
”Each town has their own [town crier]. I’ve kept to that. I don’t think he understands what this is about. I wouldn’t have done it.
”It reflects a change in the way people think. It’s a shame. It’s sad because there’s not a lot of work about for town criers.”
Mike, who rarely makes commercial appearances, also claims that Peder charges ”monstrous” sums of money for his services.
He said: ”I wouldn’t have complained as it would have been a restriction of trade. It was too late. It was already booked.
”I love the job. It’s the best in the world but I want to be Tewkesbury’s town crier more than I want to be a rich bloke. Some of the charges being made are monstrous.”
Peder performed at the opening of a Holland and Barrett health food store in Tewkesbury, Glos., on Friday.
Local crier Mike believes that Peder, who is contracted to the company to appear at openings, should not have accepted work on his ‘patch’.
But Peder claims that he contacted Mike and Tewkesbury’s town clerk to inform them that he would be attending the shop opening.
Former town councillor Peder, who won the Heart of England Champion 2010 award for his crying, added that Mike gave ”no indication that he was disgruntled”.
He said: ”If he had raised an objection of any description, I would not have done it.
”I contacted them and let them know what was happening. I spoke to Mike and we were very affable.
”He gave no indication to me whatsoever that he was disgruntled at all.”
By Ashley Hamer