Carnforth town crier was a man of the people

Frank Barton.
Frank Barton.
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A prominent voice was sadly absent from this year’s Lancashire Day celebrations.

Frank Barton, town crier of Carnforth, traditionally read out the Lancashire Day proclamation on the steps of the City Museum in Lancaster.

But this year Frank was too ill to proudly carry out his annual duty.

Frank, a devoted servant of Carnforth and the district as a whole, passed away just days later on Sunday, aged 83.

As town crier, his voice and his bell were heard at Carnforth community and civic events for more than 25 years.

Ken Bond, mayor of Carnforth, said: “It’s hit me hard, I’ve lost a good friend.

“He was a man of the people. He did so much for Carnforth, a lot of which was unknown to the public.

“I and my colleagues and staff at Carnforth Town Council are saddened because he still had so much to offer.”

Born in Barton near Preston of a farming family, Frank moved to Millhead near Carnforth in 1960. He was a lorry driver and later set up his own building and landscaping business.

A keen gardener, he could often be found down at the allotments which were his pride and joy. He had also recently been restoring an old Ferguson tractor, which he finished just prior to his death.

As town crier, he led the Carnforth Christmas lights switch-on parade, and often read proclamations at the opening of local businesses.

Frank was there in his town crier regalia when the Olympic torch passed through Carnforth in 2012 and organised an annual town criers’ competition attended by practitioners of the role from all over the country. He also presided at events in Kirkby Lonsdale.

He was treasurer of the Carnforth Chamber of Trade, compere of the Railway Club for many years and a former mayor of the town, and was also on Carnforth Town Council.

Frank was also a founder member of the Carnforth Twinning Association, and wore his town crier uniform on visits to France, leading to him becoming honorary town crier of Sailly-sur-la-Lys.

Pat Wooff, Carnforth town councillor, said: “He was a mainstay of the town, very well known and well liked.”

Frank was married to June. He had two daughters Catherine and the late Christine, two stepsons Kevin and Alan, six grandsons, one great grandson and a great granddaughter.