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28 April 2021

This England: Shush ye! Shush ye!

This column – which, though named after a line in Shakespeare’s Richard II, refers to the whole of Britain – has run in the NS since 1934. 

By New Statesman

For the first time in their history, the British Town Crier Championships are being held in silence. The UK’s top shouters will be judged on their written cries alone.

Organiser and Bishop’s Stortford crier Carole Williams said it was “a return to the bare bones of crying”. Organisers decided to judge the 2021 competition without sound because not everyone is able to record a good-quality video, she added.

BBC South (Mark Ireson)


Bone appetite

A competitive eater scoffed a giant 5lb steak. Kate Ovens, 27, from Fleet, Hampshire, spent five hours grilling a £200 slab of tomahawk Wagyu beef on a barbecue as part of her “Flintstones Challenge”.

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She used a paintbrush to baste the steak with almost an entire stick of butter before plating it up with a mound of chips. Kate, 5ft 5in, then went on to demolish the entire 6,000-calorie meal in less than 25 minutes.

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Daily Mirror (Daragh Brady)

[See also: This England: Flight of fancy]

This bird has flown

Racing pigeons have flown over York as part of a tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh. The city was among 65 that saw ten pigeons each released to honour the life of the prince.

The tribute was arranged by the Royal Pigeon Racing Association because of the Duke’s love of the sport.

John Thompson, a third-generation pigeon racer, brought ten of his pigeons and released them in Memorial Gardens. He observed both coronavirus social distancing and avian flu restrictions. Currently, birds from different lofts are not allowed to mix.

The York Press (Doug Tune)


Each printed entry receives a £5 book token. Entries to or on a postcard to This England.

[See also: This England: Don’t get the small stuff]


This article appears in the 28 Apr 2021 issue of the New Statesman, The new battle of ideas