'The greatest honour of my life' - why a Gloucestershire town crier has decided to retire after 25 years

Tewkesbury town crier Michael Kean-Price with his uniform he was given in 2002
Tewkesbury town crier Michael Kean-Price with his uniform he was given in 2002 -Credit:Will Luker

"This is something I've wanted to do since 1953" is the reflection one town crier in Gloucestershire has after 25 years of service. Serving as Tewkesbury town crier since 1998, 81-year-old Michael Kean-Price has decided to retire for reasons that are perfectly understandable.

An advert for a new town crier by Tewkesbury Town Council has been and gone with applications now closed, but for the very person who has been in the role for quite some time, Mr Kean-Price says it has been an "honour".

Known as 'Pricey' by another of this fellow town criers in Gloucester's very own Alan Myatt, Michael is leaving the role due to the sheer physical task.

READ MORE: Cheltenham student returns to American football team as coach after spinal cord injury

READ MORE: Mum in epic 111-mile canal run bid to raise money for her daughter's school

The cherished tradition in the town is something Mr Kean-Price is passionate to talk about when we meet him at his home. Since the formation of the role, the town crier does a duty in leading Tewkesbury's Remembrance Parade where the Town Council are summoned to attend. Mr Kean-Price says it is a unique role because Tewkesbury's town crier is the only one in the entire Commonwealth that has to climb Tewkesbury Abbey tower for proclamations, especially royal ones.

"It has been a long hard decision but in the end the town is more important than me", Mr Kean-Price said. For many years royal proclamations such as the wedding of the now Princess of Wales to Prince William in 2011 saw Michael climb the tower but "for as long as I've done it, the climb has nearly killed me. From a physical point of view my legs are giving way and it has got a little too much now."

Mr Kean-Price adds: "I can't do the core of the job anymore but the Town Council have been very kind and I will be happy to have a place in Tewkesbury's history. This has been the greatest honour of my life and something I've wanted to do since 1953,"

1953 was of course a significant date in British royal history, the year Queen Elizabeth II was crowned queen and the year where Mr Kean-Price saw former town crier Ted Preston at work announcing the late queen's coronation. Aged 10 at the time, Michael said: "If I can no longer do the tradition it will disappear and I'm not going to allow my ego to get in the way."

Mr Kean-Price is a subscriber to Household Cavalry Journal and loves the idea of tradition. After 25 years of service as Tewkesbury Town Crier, the physical task of the role has become too much
Tewkesbury's town crier, Mike Kean-Price

Reflecting on 25 years of service, Mr Kean-Price says highlights of the paid role include making a trip to Tewkesbury in the US state of Massachusetts. In 2002 he says the death of the Queen Mother was the only time "I shed a tear."

But what about the next town crier. From what Mr Kean-Price knows the next town crier has to be in place for Tewkesbury Remembrance Parade later in the year. What advice does he have for his successor? "They need to love the job and put the time into the role. You have got to be an egotist and be the centre of attention."

"I have loved the job and my dear mother used to say I liked the sound of my own voice and the bigger the crowd the better!" he adds.