Town crier who overcame stammer wants to 'inspire'

Rich Whincup wearing a suit and holding a clipboard while shouting in the town
Rich Whincup overcame a stammer to become the Tewkesbury town crier [Simon Ashley]

Tewkesbury's new town crier says he wants to inspire people with a stammer to show there is hope to overcome the condition.

Rich Whincup, 44, has been chosen to take on the ceremonial role in the town, after the previous town crier stood down following 26 years in the role.

Mr Whincup, a rugby coach and lecturer at Hartpury University, said he had battled a stammer for 25 years and at one point "couldn't say very much at all."

He said he was "honoured and privileged" to accept the role.

"It was a bit of a laugh at first," he told BBC Radio Gloucestershire, adding: "The more I thought about it, I thought, 'actually yeah, its a big challenge for me personally for various reasons'.

"I went for it, got through to the auditions... then ended up doing the live cry on Sunday."

Mr Whincup said public speaking was a challenge for him, after being born with a chronic stammer which left him almost unable to speak until he was 19.

He said he had spent the last 25 years overcoming the speech condition.

"I've tried to make myself uncomfortable as often as possible... we only grow where we feel uncomfortable," he said.

"25 years ago I couldn't say very much at all, and you never really lose sight of that so it felt like an opportunity I couldn't turn down.

"If I can inspire people with a stammer... that's a really good knock on."

Mr Whincup said the Tewkesbury Mop Fair will be his first event.

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