“I love the town so much” - Les hoping for another 20 years as Halifax’s town crier after two decades in the role

Town crier Les Cutts says he hopes to be in the role for another 20 years after two decades shouting from the rooftops about Halifax.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 2:30 pm
Les Cutts. Picture : Lorne Campbell / Guzelian

Les, 62, is originally from Rotherham but moved to Halifax aged 16, and lives in Pellon.

“I do class myself as a Halifax person because I’ve lived here longer than where I originate from,” he said.

Les became town crier after spotting an advert for the role in the Halifax Courier.

Les (centre) with other two criers at an event in Hebden Bridge

“A girl who worked in my office at the time said I should go for it, so I rang up and went for an interview,” he said.

“I’d been raising money for a charity for many years where I’d do race nights in pubs and there were auctions, but there’d be no microphone, so it was a case of me shouting above everybody.

“I suppose that gave me the inkling I could do it.

“But they weren’t looking to see how loud I was at the interview, it was whether I had the passion, because it’s not about having a loud voice, it’s a passion.

“You’ve got to love the town you live in, you’ve got to be able to talk to people and get on with people.

“It’s a mix of everything that makes you a town crier.”

Reflecting on the last 20 years, Les said: “It’s been a rollercoaster, absolutely fantastic.

“I think the first one I ever did was for Action Halifax, for an event opening at the Imperial Crown, and the next one was an event at Square Chapel.

“As years have progressed, I’ve entered competitions, got third in the European Championships in 2008, got second prize in Edinburgh, I’ve got trophies coming out of my ears for different things, best dressed, best content of cry, best ambassador.

“I’ve travelled all over, met different people and promoted Halifax, I’ve done television programmes, been in the World Championships.

“I brought the British Championships to Halifax in 2003 in the Piece Hall, from that I became Bellman of the Borough of Calderdale.

“Then in 2012 I became Crier to the Town Council of Hebden Royd, and I’ve been North Eastern representative of the loyal company of town criers, and I’m the vice chairman of the loyal company of town criers.”

“I was set on by the town centre management, so I was never totally enveloped by the council.

“When they call on me to do things, I will, on behalf of the council, but most of the time, it’s more independent, through the Piece Hall or Halifax BID or other organisations.

“I’ve done work with Harvey’s, Sainsburys, Lidl, I opened their store in Brighouse recently, so there’s commercial work too.”

Les, who works at Parfetts, says he would love to remain in the role for another 20 years.

“Oh yes, definitely,” he said.

“I love the town so much, I just love Halifax and Calderdale, I think it’s superb, I really do.

“I love meeting people. When I was at the Piece Hall for Yorkshire Day, the amount of people coming up asking ‘can I have a picture with you?’, I really enjoying talking to people.

“And the camaraderie with other town criers, promoting the town, I want people to visit us because there’s so much here.”