TOWN criers will have to bite their tongues in this year’s national championships — as it will be held in complete silence thanks to Covid.
They will instead write down their shouts — using a maximum of 140 words.
The annual event sees town criers from across the UK yell their traditional “Oyez, Oyez” — but the pandemic has meant they cannot gather this year.
Organisers had initially wanted contestants to video their cries but some found it difficult to get quality recordings.
Hopefuls must now submit a written entry on a “nature and the environment” theme.
Loyal Company of Town Criers’ chair Carole Williams said it was a skill to write a cry to a theme that does not bore listeners.
Ten-time winner and current champion Alistair Chisholm added: “In some ways it is absurd. It is a bit funny but if it helps cheer people up, that’s fine.
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“The composition side of the town crying is a skill in itself so it is a good alternative way of judging a competition.”
The championships were axed last year because of the pandemic.
Organisers have received hundreds of entries for this year’s event, to be held next month.