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Sacked Skipton town crier vows ‘I will not be silenced’
11:34am Thursday 27th September 2012 in News
Skipton Town Crier Kevin Griffiths has vowed he will not be silenced.
Despite the town council revoking its consent for him to act as official town crier to the parish of Skipton, Mr Griffiths says his voice will continue to be heard on the streets of Skipton.
He is seeking alternative backing – from Skipton Castle as Lord of the Manor or one of the local churches who can appoint their own bellmen – or failing that he will act in his other capacity as town crier for Bradford.
“If necessary, I will act as an independent crier and will fight for my rights in court,” he declared.
But, the town council’s withdrawal of support does mean he will not defend his position as News of the World National Champion at Hastings in two weeks’ time.
“The town council used to give me £500 in expenses and I used that to cover the costs. Without it, I can’t compete,” said Mr Griffiths, who has been Skipton’s town crier since 2006.
He described the town council’s decision as totally and utterly ridiculous and claimed he was the victim of a personal vendetta.
“All the people in the town are behind me; it’s just the council. They have got rid of me for doing my job,” he said.
At issue has been his use of Craven District Council's town centre car park, where he meets coaches and advises visitors where they can get refreshments.
It is claimed it is a breach of bylaws which prevent commercial activity on council land.
The matter was discussed by the town council behind closed doors on Thursday.
It later issued a statement, which said: “Skipton Town Council has withdrawn its permission for Mr Kevin Reid Griffiths to act in the capacity of town crier to the parish of Skipton.
“The council has been in receipt of numerous complaints, over a lengthy period of time, relating to activities being undertaken by Mr Griffiths while acting as town crier.
“The quantity of complaints received, together with the repeated refusal to adhere to the reasonable requests and instructions of the council, and a failure to follow the rules of membership of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers has made the position untenable.
“The position of town crier to Skipton is an honorary position in the gift of Skipton Town Council.
“At a meeting of the full council, held on September 20, members discussed the situation in full, including the complaints received by the council and the responses from Mr Griffiths to requests made previously by the council in an attempt to find a constructive way forward.
“The decision of members was to revoke the town council’s consent for Mr Griffiths to act as Skipton Town Crier, with immediate effect.”