Town crier still in fine voice after 20 years in Blackpool

TOWN crier Barry McQueen remains in fine voice aged 74.

Stalybridge-raised Barry has just celebrated 20 years of making public announcements at Blackpool where he became the town’s first-ever crier.And before that Barry, a former pupil at St Paul’s and West Hill High School, held the same post at Birmingham where during the G8 summit, which the city hosted in 1998, he was fanfare trumpeter and met world leaders including Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin.

Barry, a retired comedian/entertainer who had a cabaret double act with his late wife Vivienne, was earlier town crier at Ludlow and Bridgnorth in Shropshire.

And Barry’s talents also extend as he is a toastmaster and fanfare trumpeter, the latter seeing him accompany the Queen on the final day of her golden jubilee tour.

He met the royal party at Preston and accompanied them to Carlisle and he decided the fanfare he would play at each station was the one which marks the official opening of a new parliament.

Barry said: “The Duke of Edinburgh remarked how did I know it was his favourite tune?“The Queen’s lady-in-waiting told me I had been spoken about at lunch. It was a proud day for Lancashire and Cumbria and one I will never forget.”

It has been an extraordinary journey for Barry who explained his musical roots were sown at West Hill when in 1958 he joined the school band at a corner player and participating in the Whit Friday brass band contests.

After leaving West Hill, he later joined Mossley Band with whom he continued his love of music and Morecambe Band when he moved away from Stalybridge in 1968.

Barry, who returned to birthplace Blackpool in 2000 to become town crier, has appeared on Strictly Come Dancing at the Tower Ballroom where he introduced Peter Kay, Michael Ball and Alfie Boe.

In his various roles, Barry has worked with many well-known names including Dame Vera Lynn, Cliff Richard, the late comedian Sir Norman Wisdom.

He has also been employed by the British Tourist Authority for a 10-day trip to Los Angeles and Chile.

Barry is also the town crier for Virgin Trains and Boddingtons Brewery as well as being Tameside Council’s honorary crier.He also is the host for the annual Blackpool Town Crier Championships.

The bagpipes, guitar, ukulele, trumpet, fanfare trumpet and post horn all feature in Barry’s act.

He has been toastmaster and fanfare trumpeter at many events, including the weddings of former Liverpool and England footballers Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.• Barry was also president of the defunct Millbrook Whit Friday band contest committee.

He still has the deportment trophy with Dobcross Band the first recipients in 1984.

Barry contacted The Correspondent because he wanted to get in touch with the band to offer them the trophy to put on display.

And Barry will meet band secretary Andy Black, who works for The Correspondent, when lockdown is over to hand over the trophy for them to keep.

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