A WOMAN from Whitchurch has been judging an unusual competition ‘Down Under’.

Christine Bebington joined Mike Shanahan in Echuca, Australia, recently to take part in the World Invitational Town Crier Tournament.

Former Shropshire resident Mike played a starring role in the 10-day competition that saw town criers from five nations compete for the title of Champion of Champions.

Resplendent in his pipers uniform for the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, Mike was popular with the crowds wherever he appeared.

Mike was front and centre of all the parades and formal activities and although retired as town crier for Bishop’s Castle, he won the People’s Choice Award for an impromptu cry at the village of Lockington, where he called on residents to help save the local pub from closure.

“Practically all town criers have a close affinity with their local pubs so it was the right thing to do to try and save the Lockington pub from closing,” said Mike.

Meanwhile, Christine had the unenviable task of judging the sustained volume and clarity of some of the best town criers in the world as one of the team of judges for the six rounds of competition.

Christine, who is a serving member of the Royal British Legion, was also accompanying Mike as his former consort during his town crier duties.

She added that Mike was a “well-known character in Shropshire” having spent time in the army cadets.

He later retiring at the rank of Major.