HASTINGS, England, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Though they seem a relic from the past, town criers remain popular in Britain where they compete to see who can be the clearest -- and the loudest.
A veteran crier's voice can reach a deafening 120 decibels, The Sunday Telegraph reported, noting contestants also are judged on diction, clarity, inflection and dress.
"It's a good life. I get a firkin (small barrel) of ale a year from the council, and you're always first in the buffet queue," said Michael Wood, 54, a three-time world champion from East Yorkshire.
Contestants at the National Town Crier Championship, in Hastings, East Sussex, begin with the traditional "Oyez, oyez, oyez!" -- a corruption of the French word for listen, ecoutez -- and end with the national anthem, the British newspaper reported.
Town crier Doris Eastwood, 75, a former pub worker, said she honed her skills yelling at hard-drinkers to go home.
"It's been a wonderful life," Eastwood said of her career as a town crier.