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Friday, May 6, 2011

I'll be back, says Town Crier

Something to shout about

I'll be back, says Town Crier

Last updated 05:00 07/05/2011
Christchurch's Town Crier has had little to shout about since the February earthquake.

Stephen Symons has been a fixture in the central city since the position was created in 1989, but the cordons and lack of tourists have left him "washed up".

"A town crier needs a town to cry in," he said. "Not having had a town since February 22, that's left me a bit washed up."

Symons has not relinquished the position and said he was in "constant contact" with his employer, the Christchurch City Council.

The lack of tourists meant his role was not required, he said.

"With all the furore, I'd only get in the way," he said. "When the need arises, the Town Crier shall return."

Symons was in Cathedral Square on February 22, but has not been back since. The scene left him "stunned". "I saw the [Christ Church] Cathedral come down. That was something that will be with me for a very long time," he said.

"Everything I knew and loved is pretty much a heap of rubble."

On the day, Symons found his wife, who worked at the now red-stickered Community House in Hereford St, and walked home through the "rubble and shouting". Their home was inside the red zone for four weeks.

"For the first month, we were under curfew and we had a tank outside our front door. I had to show my passport just to walk down the road to go to the pub," he said.

Finding another area in Christchurch to resume his work was not an option, Symons said.

"It's got to be the central city, but we're working on it," he said. "Nothing's going to happen anytime soon."

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