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Royal Wootton Bassett town crier’s joy at latest honour
ROYAL Wootton Bassett’s town crier has something else to shout about after becoming the first person in the county to be made the prime warden of The Guild of Mace Bearers.
Owen Collier, who is a Sword Bearer and has been the town crier since 2005, was installed as prime warden during a ceremony at the Memorial Hall, in Station Road, yesterday.
Owen said he was honoured to be taking up the role, which will involve travelling around the country representing the Mace Bearers.
“I am the first Wiltshire Sword and Mace Bearer ever to hold the offices of renter prime warden and prime warden. The Mace Bearers were founded in 1189 so it is a great honour to be the first in the county,” he said.
“I am proud to be representing the people of Royal Wootton Bassett and the Guild of Mace Bearers in my year of office.
“As the head person of the guild, I hope to be travelling around to various places, including the Houses of Parliament and the Welsh and Scottish Assemblies.
“It is something that I am looking forward to and relish the challenge. It is a bit different to walking the streets of Royal Wootton Bassett ringing the bell.”
Owen is taking over from previous prime warden, Joe Caruana, of Hertford.
The Guild of Mace Bearers is the membership organisation for people who help civic heads across the country to carry out their ceremonial duties.
They help mayors, chairmen and provosts to continue the traditional customs of their area.
Royal Wootton Bassett mayor Mike Leighfield led the ceremony which made Owen prime warden yesterday.
Coun Leighfield said: “It is a great honour to be here. Owen and I have known each other for a number of years and I think he will do an excellent job.
“It is a lovely tradition and I am a great believer in tradition. Once you lose anything like this, the tradition of Mace Bearers, town criers and Sword Bearers, they never return.
“This country has great traditions which we have got to be proud of and we have got to keep that going.
“Owen does a great job here and I think he will do a marvellous job as prime warden.”
Mace Bearers from across the country were at the ceremony yesterday, which was part of a three day meeting.