Oyez, Oyez, Oyez – celebrate as Geoff marks 20 years as Pocklington Town Crier

A popular public figure in Pocklington, who usually attends many events throughout the year, is set to celebrate a major landmark.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 4:07 pm
Pocklington town crier Geoff Sheasby has been supported in his role by Diane, his ‘long-suffering wife and consort’.
Pocklington town crier Geoff Sheasby has been supported in his role by Diane, his ‘long-suffering wife and consort’.

Pocklington Town Crier Geoff Sheasby will mark 20 years in the role this month.

Geoff was appointed the town crier in May 2001 following a public audition in competition with five other hopefuls.

During his many public appearances he has been supported by Diane, his ‘long-suffering wife and consort’.

Geoff Sheasby in his original outfit.

Geoff said he is immensely grateful for the support and encouragement he receives from Pocklington Town Council, who generously supplied him with a new outfit specifically to Geoff and Diane’s design.

A member of both The Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers and The Loyal Company of Town Criers, Geoff has entered several national town crier competitions.

In May 2017, Geoff was greatly honoured to receive the Town Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Long-Term Achievement In The Community.

Geoff proclaims at many diverse events such as shop openings, charity fundraising occasions etc, as well as formal civic ceremonies in Pocklington.

He introduces the three annual council-sponsored band concerts in Burnby Hall Gardens, appears at the annual council-organised Summer Fun Day, and also delivers a speech at the Pocklington Christmas Festival.

His position as town crier is entirely honorary – he receives no personal remuneration whatsoever.

However, contributions to the Mayor’s Charity Fund are gratefully received from retail, commercial, corporate businesses and private individuals who enlist his services.

Thanks to these donations he has raised more than £2,000 for Mayoral Charities.

He has two presentations: ‘The History of Pocklington Town Criers’, and ‘Confessions of a Town Crier’.

The latter is not for the faint-hearted or those of a nervous disposition, as Geoff demonstrates why a town crier cannot function with a floppy clapper... and why a stiff clapper is essential!

Geoff is the latest in a long line of Pocklington Town Criers.

The earliest reference dates back to 1792, when the assistant town crier was one Thomas Young. He was arraigned before Beverley Quarter Sessions for allegedly inciting the Pocklington population to cut down hedgerows for firewood.

Geoff said: “I am delighted to have served the esteemed Pocklington populace as town crier for 20 years.

“Whilst town criers in days of yore were the talking newspapers of their day, now the role is largely civic and ceremonial, and helps the promotion of tourism, charities, businesses and other valued organisations.

“I hope to continue in the role for as long as the town council will permit me or until I am sacked!

“I am a persifleur, persistently perambulating, prevaricating, pontificating, prolifically proclaiming.

“I’m a particularist purveyor of beauteous badinage, bantering. Cognitive, concomitant, clarifying, consistent comprehensibleness is my raison d’etre.”

Geoff has saluted his forebears through his research.

The fuller history of Pocklington Town Criers, as researched by Geoff, was serialised in The Pocklington Post in May/June 2014.