Wednesday, May 4, 2011

British town elects man with Down syndrome as Town Crier

From BBC News:

Chesham's new town crier is believed to be the first person with a learning disability to be elected to the position.

William Ellis (pictured), 32, who has Down's syndrome, was officially proclaimed to the public on April 27.

His first official duty was at the town's royal wedding celebrations on April 29.

Chesham Town Council, who elected him, said it believed he was the first town crier to have learning disabilities.

He was introduced to the public by Anthony Church, Town Crier of Banbury, who made a formal proclamation of William's appointment on the steps of the United Reformed Church in The Broadway.

Mr Church is a fellow member of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers and will be acting as William's mentor as he settles into this traditional role.

Mr Ellis lives in Chesham and is a service user at the local Endeavour Centre.

Shortly after the proclamation he revealed how he felt about being appointed.

"This is just a wonderful opportunity and I'm very proud to do it," he said.

"I am really looking forward to my year."

He already has experience of civic life as he has been one of the town's Mayoral Ambassadors over the last year, accompanying Councillor Jane Bramwell, Town Mayor, on many of her ceremonial duties.

Ms Bramwell said: "I'm thrilled that the Town Council recognises that a learning disability is not a bar to carrying out such a public role.

"As one of my ambassadors, he has shown a great talent for public speaking, and I'm sure he will have the confidence to support the Mayor and promote the town."

The duties of town crier will include promoting the town and attending community events, such as the Schools of Chesham Carnival and Christmas in Chesham.