The world’s tallest town crier hopes to represent Shrewsbury in the World Invitational Town Crier Championship in Canada next summer if he can raise the £1,200 he needs to take him there.
Standing at 7ft 2ins, Martin Wood is easily recognisable wherever he goes and has proudly represented Shrewsbury as its town crier for 26 years, as well as acting as a double for Hagrid, the giant from the Harry Potter films.
He would love to compete with the best in the world in a competition split between Canada’s old and new capitals, Kingston and Ottawa, from July 27 and August 6, 2012. Having recently been presented with a smart new official uniform, he’s dressed and ready to make the transatlantic trip to spread the word about the wonders of Shrewsbury.
The new uniform, based on authentic 18th century regalia, cost £2,500 to make, with special braid and leather buttons imported from the United States by seamstress Jan Murray from Jackfield, Telford.
The cost of the uniform was covered by sponsorship from within the town, led by caravan dealership Salop Leisure and caravan parks owner Morris Leisure, who each donated £500.
“A key part of town crier competitions is the regalia, which has to have a connection with the town you represent,” explained Martin. “That’s why we have worked the blue and gold civic colours of Shrewsbury and other town features into the new regalia.
“The new uniform is like a shot of adrenalin, as the old one, which was made in 2001, had started to look a little tired. I have been very proud to represent Shrewsbury for 26 years and I hope the town is proud of me.”
He thanked Salop Leisure, Morris Leisure and all the other sponsors. “If it were not for their support I wouldn’t be where I am today with my new uniform,” he added.
Edward Goddard, Morris Leisure’s managing director and vice chairman of Shrewsbury Tourism Association, which organised the uniform fundraising campaign, said: “Martin is a great ambassador for Shrewsbury and it’s important that he always looks his best when representing the town.
“Shrewsbury is unique in that the town can lay claim to having the world’s tallest town crier, who undoubtedly helps to attract visitors. He truly is a gentle giant.”
Salop Leisure’s chairman Tony Bywater said: “Martin does a fantastic job for Shrewsbury and certainly stands out in a crowd. It was essential that we provided him with new robes that befit his high status in the town.
“Both Salop Leisure and Morris Leisure are grateful for all the work that he does to put the town on the map.”
For more information contact Edward Goddard, Morris Leisure, on Tel: 01743 232200 or Tony Bywater, Salop Leisure on Tel: 01743 282400.
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