Oyez, oyez... there’s going to be more noise than normal in Farnham town centre on Saturday.
Three people will be shouting for all they’re worth as they try to prove they have what it takes to become the new town crier.
They will be put through their paces in Castle Street between 10.30am and around midday.
Farnham has been without a crier since the retirement of Jonathan Jones in December 2019, after nearly 17 years of service.
Since 2003, Jonathan – a public speaker and actor by profession – helped promote events taking place in and around Farnham such as the Farmers' Market, Music in the Park, Christmas Lights, Christmas Market, Food Fayre, Heritage Days, Farnham Carnival and the switching on of the town's Christmas lights.
He could be seen out and about in Farnham town centre most Saturday mornings, doing 'shouts', and distributing typically about 600 sets of leaflets for town council events and local charities.
His three potential successors came forward after the town council advertised for a new crier earlier this year.
Applications were open to both male and female candidates over the age of 18.
The position is voluntary, but a nominal honorarium of £500 per year will be provided by the council, along with contributions towards wear and tear of attire not provided by the council.
The advert stated applicants should possess strong communication skills, a good knowledge of Farnham's history, and an outgoing personality.
It added shortlisted candidates must have proven reliability, a driver's license, and the ability to project their voice.
The successful applicant will be expected to attend a range of civic events throughout the year.
Town criers have a long history in the United Kingdom, dating back to medieval times. In those days, most people were unable to read or write, and so the town crier was the main source of information for local communities.
The town crier's job was to make public announcements in a loud, clear voice, typically in the town square or other public areas. They would read out important news, such as declarations of war, changes in tax laws, and other official decrees.
They were also responsible for announcing events such as public executions and markets.
In addition to their role as public announcers, town criers often acted as intermediaries between the townspeople and local officials. They were responsible for ensuring that laws were upheld and that the town remained orderly.
Over time, as more people learned to read and write, the role of the town crier began to decline. However, they remained an important part of many communities well into the 19th century.
Today, the tradition of the town crier is largely ceremonial, with many towns and cities employing criers to make announcements at official events and festivals.