Jim's the Maine man

BIDEFORD town crier Jim Weeks has been spreading the word about his home town in the USA. Jim took time out from his holiday visiting relatives to fulfil an ambition to see the namesake town of Biddeford in Maine. He and his wife and their American relati

BIDEFORD town crier Jim Weeks has been spreading the word about his home town in the USA.

Jim took time out from his holiday visiting relatives to fulfil an ambition to see the namesake town of Biddeford in Maine.

He and his wife and their American relatives were served tea by Biddeford Mayor Joanne Twomey in her office and taken on a tour of the city.

Jim then performed a "town cry" outside City Hall: "Oyez, oyez, oyez. I, Jim Weeks, crier of Bideford and bellman for the bridge trustees, bring greetings from the Mayor of Bideford in the shire of Devon, England, to the Mayor and people of Biddeford in the county of York, Maine."


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He later carried out ceremonial duty at a council meeting. At the request of the Mayor, he led her into the council chambers at the start of the meeting and performed his cry again.

The Mayor later proclaimed Jim an honorary town crier of Biddeford.

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Jim, a former volunteer fire fighter, also paid a visit to the central fire station.

His time in America provided an ideal opportunity to show off his new town crier's uniform - an exact replica of the uniform worn by his predecessors in the mid-1800s.

He recalls how, 26 years ago, he first got the job after answering a town council advertisement and being told: "The job's yours if the uniform fits."

It did. It was far from new then and he wore it - sometimes held together with safety pins - until the new uniform arrived a couple of months ago.

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