Tributes flood in following death of 'larger than life' town crier in Shropshire and Staffordshire

Tributes have flooded in following the death this week of the much loved town crier of both Newport and Stafford.

Peter Taunton pictured at the Newport carnival in 2021
Peter Taunton pictured at the Newport carnival in 2021

Peter Taunton's family say that they are shocked and devastated following the death of a man who was so full of life and laughter.

Mr Taunton, aged 76, who had been a town crier for 25 years died, on Wednesday.

"It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post," said a family member in a statement.

Peter Taunton was Newport Town Crier

"Needless to say, the family are shocked and devastated that this man, who was always so full of life and laughter, has left us.

"Mum is staying with me while we come to terms with this news. She is unable to talk to anyone at the moment."

A spokesman for Newport Town Council said: "It is with deep sadness that we have learnt of the death of Peter James Taunton, who passed away yesterday.

Peter Taunton was also Stafford Town Crier

"Peter was appointed as Town Crier to the Newport Town Council in 2008 and officiated at all our events including the reading of the Proclamation of His Majesty King Charles III just a few weeks ago.

"Peter was a larger-than-life character who loved his job with a passion, a kind and gentle man who served the counties of Shropshire and Staffordshire selflessly and who leaves a void that will be hard to fill.

"He will be sadly missed by all that knew or met him, and we send our sincere condolences to his wife Maureen and the whole family.

"May he rest in peace."

Newport Councillor Peter Scott said: "Very sorry to hear of the sad passing of our Town Crier Peter Taunton who served Newport with enthusiasm and grace. Rest in Peace mate."

A spokesman for Newport Carnival said: "This beautiful legend has grown his wings. Absolutely devastated.

"Raising a glass to you this evening Peter Taunton. You stood graciously by your wife's side, you led us on numerous events and occasions, you were a renowned character in Newport and the town will not be the same without you.

Rest in peace. As the great Sir Tom once sang.... 'I won't crumble with you, if you fall' And you did that right til the end. Sleep tight."

Stafford Walking Street Music/Food Festival spoke of their deep regret and sadness.

They described Mr Taunton as a "larger than life character who loved his job with a passion, a kind and gentle man who has left a huge gap in this town and county and the county of Shropshire which probably will never be filled

"He will be sadly missed by all that knew or met him and we send our sincere condolences to wife Maureen and the whole family."

The Childhood Cancer Parents Alliance said: "Our hearts go out to Maureen and all of his family as the world is a little greyer without his presence."

Other town criers sent their condolences.

Isabel Ashman, the Ilkley Town Crier, said: "A few weeks ago I competed in Sleaford and had the pleasure of competing with and against and staying in the same hostelry as town crier Peter Taunton. We enjoyed a lovely breakfast together on the day of the competition. Life is short."

Mr Taunton had announced his retirement on September 13.

In the Shropshire Star earlier this year Mr Taunton spoke of his pride at being involved in reading the proclamation for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. He told the paper that he only had one lung but had learned a technique that meant it did not matter.

“When I started off I was left exhausted but was told 'use your diaphragm' and trained to do that,” said the former Coldstream Guard, tank driver and coach driver.

He produced a video for the jubilee so that towns and villages that don’t have town crier could play it on screens or just the proclamation.

“I can be in Yorkshire, London and other places at the same time as I am in Newport reading the proclamation at 2pm," he said.

He told the paper: “I have the most wonderful job in the world. There is nothing that beats it."

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