Long-serving town crier given MBE

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 January 2015

Axbridge's town crier Yvonne Chamberlain.

Axbridge's town crier Yvonne Chamberlain.

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A TOWN crier who served her community for 35 years has received an MBE for her charity work.

Yvonne Chamberlain, aged 81, was named in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for her fundraising for the Royal British Legion, support of the RNLI, activities with Girl Guiding and her work as Axbridge’s town crier.

Since 1947, she has raised thousands of pounds for the legion, and often raised the most in the district.

She said she was ‘shocked’ when she received the letter through the post.

She said: “I wanted to tell people but I was told to keep it quiet.

“I have always raised money for the Royal British Legion. My mother took me round in a pram and when I was 16 I could take my own tray and do rounds.”

Yvonne said she had never wanted to be a town crier, but her cousin entered her into a competition.

She said: “First of all I said I was not going. Then my mother said I had to go because my cousin had entered me.

“I was going down the church steps and half way down The Square when my friend said ‘you had better go back, they are calling your name’.

“I was supposed to be town crier for a week and then they asked if I would do it from June to Christmas. It stretched out to about 40 years, so it was a rather long week.

“I had a marvellous time. I really enjoyed myself. I saw parts of the world I never thought I would see.”

During her time as the town’s official crier, Yvonne travelled to Australia, Canada and Belgium for competitions.

She was also a standard bearer for the Royal British Legion for the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday service, and carried the standard from the age of 47.

She also gives talks to schoolchildren about the work of a town crier and the history of Axbridge.

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