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Alderney Week is last for town crier

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A NEW States President, a pageant queen and an outgoing town crier officially marked the start of the 71st Alderney Week on Saturday.

Alderney’s town crier, Robin Whicker, performs the opening ceremony for Alderney Week 2019 on the Butes. He revealed afterwards that he is stepping down after 30 years. (Picture by Emma Pinch, 25426375)

The opening signals the start of seven days of around 150 free family events – the largest festival in the Channel Islands.

The theme of this year’s entertainment is animal magic, so dragons, wizards, unicorns, witches and a Noah’s Ark of creatures are expected to be roaming freely on the cobbles of Victoria Street at today’s headline event, the cavalcade.

Town crier Robin Whicker, flanked by States of Alderney President William Tate, formally pronounced the event open – and afterwards revealed that after 30 years of performing the role he would be hanging up his bell for good at the end of this year’s festival.

Mr Whicker will lead the cavalcade and the event’s closing parade, the torchlight procession, as well as making public announcements and letting youngsters try their hand at the art during the week.

He said he would savour his final Alderney Week as town crier.

‘It’s been enormous fun,’ he said.

‘But I’ve been doing it now for more than 30 years and this is my last time.

'I’ll miss it in many ways but I’m looking forward to seeing a younger voice and younger man or woman take over my role in this most enjoyable and largest of all the Channel Island festivals.

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‘We all get something out of Alderney Week and it’s been enjoyable to put something in as well.

‘I shall enjoy every moment of it, but the magic of the torchlight procession, that wonderful river of light flowing down Victoria Street and onto the Butes, and then the splendour of the bonfire and the fireworks, that will be a wonderful goodbye.’

Abbie Chandler, 16, was crowned Miss Alderney 2019 at Easter and she and consort Lilli Knight and their families have been busy constructing a float to convey themselves down Victoria Street at the head of the cavalcade parade.

‘I’m so excited that Alderney Week is finally here,’ she said. ‘We’ve been waiting so long for it.

‘The whole week looks really good. We are still putting the finishing touches to our float and I’m excited for everyone to see it. We’ve put so much work into it. We’ve only gone to one element of the theme – you’ll have wait and see what it is’

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