Mystery bidder donates town crier's MBE and war medals to keep them in Scarborough

The MBE and war medals belonging to Scarborough’s former town crier Alan Booth, which were put up for auction, will remain in the town, The Scarborough News can reveal.

By George Buksmann
Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 4:50 pm

Mr Booth was the town crier in Scarborough for 31 years and passed away last October. A lot including his MBE and war medals was auctioned off by his family on March 4 at Ryedale Auctioneers in Kirkbymoorside.

Lot 80, which included his MBE, associated certification, and other medals including his Malayan Campaign medal and Freedom of the Borough of Scarborough Certificate in its silver presentation case, was estimated to reach between £400 and £600.

After a series of bids, the lot made more than double its top estimate with the hammer falling at £1,350.

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Heritage centre Chairman Mark Vesey gives his best Oyez! with Mr Booth's crier bell.

After fees and tax were applied it is thought that about £1,700 was paid by a mystery bidder, who has donated the possessions to Scarborough’s Maritime Heritage Centre.

Mark Vesey, Chairman of the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre, said: “They’re supporters of the Maritime Centre and they thought it would be the best place for it as it would be on public display with the town crier bells.”

Mr Vesey also revealed that a town crier hat belonging to Mr Booth has been loaned to the museum.

“Hopefully in the summertime visitors and children will be able to come in and put the hat on and ring the bell, and do an Oyez Oyez (pronounced oh yay!) and get into the spirit of it!

Alan Booth in his town crier finery.

“We’ve got a special glass cabinet exhibition space, so his medals and MBE will be in that cabinet in pride of place with a photograph and more information about town criers.”

The exhibition will be on public display when museums are allowed to reopen under the Government’s roadmap on May 17.

“We’re very honoured to receive them," said Mr Vesey. "Mr Booth was a greatly appreciated man in the town, his work was amazing and he made events very special for everybody. It’s an honour to carry on his name.”

Mr Booth was a well-known ambassador for Scarborough with his work taking him across the world to promote the town.

Mr Booth's MBE, which has been donated to Scarborough's Maritime Heritage Centre.

He was awarded an MBE in 2005 for his years of service as Scarborough town crier. An RAF veteran, he auditioned for the position of town crier after his return in 1968.

A spokesperson for Ryedale Auctioneers said: "The value of medals is magnified due to who and what they were awarded for. Alan Booth was a very important part of Scarborough's history and therefore we estimated them at an increased value of £400 to £600.

"Having said that if a few people want something at auction then the sky is the limit, you can't go buy another one!"

Mr Booth was national town crier champion in 1988, 1989 and 1994 and European champion from 1990 to 1992.

Mr Booth's town crier bell, MBE and Freedom of the Borough silver presentation case.
Mark Vesey with Mr Booth's Freedom of the Borough certificate.