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Local Council Personalities

Town Crier – Al Mitchell

The Town Crier has an important role in Great Torrington.  He is there to bring order to various celebrations and events.  He announces the Mayor and the Town Clerk and his loud voice is essential when there is a noisy crowd to silence, particularly during the Proclamation of the Mayfair.

Al Mitchell has held the position for many years.  He worked at Dartington Crystal and now since he has retired helps maintain the Commons which is another important job.  Al  is also well known as a musician and has been in a number of bands over the years.  He is an excellent instrumentalist on guitar and sings a range of types of music.

As well as being the current Town Crier and Flag Raiser, Al has also agreed to take on the role of Town Marshall for the Town Council. The Town Marshall assists the Town Council at civic events where a parade takes place.  It is the Town Marshall’s role to ensure the correct order for the parade and that it departs on time.

Mace Bearer – Tim Cloke

Tim spent the entirety of his happy childhood in Great Torrington and has always been a proud Torringtonian. At primary school, he was never happier than on Mayfair day when dancing around the May pole. From the age of 8 until he turned 18 he was a member of the Silver Band and proudly recalls taking part in civic events and marching through the town, and has been fortunate to be able to continue playing with the band on occasions even after moving away from Torrington to go to university and start his teaching career. 

In 2004 he left Torrington to study history and to qualify as a history teacher. Although his first teaching job took him to historic Kent, he continued to visit his friends and family in Great Torrington and never stopped considering Great Torrington as ‘home’. Indeed, from the moment he accepted the job in Kent he held returning to Great Torrington as a long-term ambition. Happily, in 2017 he was able to realise this ambition and was delighted to accept the role of history teacher at Great Torrington School and move back to Great Torrington. Teaching has always given him satisfaction, but the chance to return home and inspire Great Torrington’s young people to take an interest in their heritage – and to teach in his former school – has proved to be the greatest satisfaction of all. 

His knowledge of Great Torrington’s history is a passion that extends well beyond his profession, he well appreciates the historic significance of the town maces and the role of the town council in Great Torrington’s vibrant civic calendar. He is therefore delighted to have the opportunity to further contribute to the life of Great Torrington; the home town which has done so much for him and feels truly honoured to repay his debt to the town in this way.

Mace Bearer – Carole Weeks

Our first female Mace Bearer (as far as we know!), Carole has lived in Great Torrington all her life. She comes from a family who have resided in the town for several generations. She loves its traditions and is keen to play her part in keeping them alive.

A huge fan of Mayfair, she joined in with the maypole dancing and the guard of honour for the May Queen and her entourage as a child.

She has had several jobs over the years including working for School Pictures at Greenbank, the meat factory, social services, and Dartington Crystal where she met her husband, Paul. Indeed, her connection to the glass factory goes back to when her Swedish step-father helped to set up the glass factory in the 1960s.

Carole now runs her own cleaning business, a venture she embarked on nearly 20 years ago.

Carole applied to be a Mace Bearer as it is important to her that the traditional roles of the town are carried out by local people. She was delighted to take up the post in 2022 and now attends the Town Council’s numerous civic occasions.