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Hear ye, hear ye! Qualicum Beach town crier set to retire

Len Mustard says 2023 may be his last year in position
Qualicum Beach town crier Len Mustard and wife Marie address the Tour De Rock 2023 riders when they stopped at the town square. (Michael Briones photo)

Qualicum Beach town crier Len Mustard is considering retiring after 25 years of serving the community.

The 82-year-old, with his deep, booming, resonant voice, has been barking out good tidings and heartfelt greetings to many visitors to the town.

“Twenty-five years is a very long time,” said Mustard, who came out to greet and welcome the 2023 Tour de Rock riders at the town square this week. “But it’s time for me to retire. I told (Mayor Teunis Westbroek) this may be my last year.”

It has been a longtime role for Mustard, who only took it on when nobody else showed interest. He said the idea of having a town crier was initiated by the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce, with the support of the town, years ago. At the time, Mustard was the president of Echo Players and he was asked to approach the membership to find out if anyone would be interested in becoming a town crier.

“I circulated it to the membership and there was no interest at all,” Mustard recalled.

A competition was held to give residents an opportunity to try out as a town crier.

“They announced a competition for people to write a cry and deliver it,” said Mustard. “The winner would be appointed town crier. As it happened, I was the one left standing. Everybody else backed out. Nobody else gave a cry.”

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That was 25 years ago. And since then, Mustard has been a familiar face in the community.

He has appeared in a myriad of town events, fundraisers and celebrations. You couldn’t miss him as he donned a tailor-made outfit based on the actual clothes worn in the 18th century in England.

Mustard said his outfit was sewn together by a member of the Echo Players who followed every detail of the 18th-century style and used trimmings and tassels that are 100 years old.

Throughout the years serving as a town crier, Len’s wife Marie has played the role of consort. She too is sad to see their roles come to an end.

Mustard said he will approach the theatre and hopes someone will take over the position.

“We have some people there, actors of course, with natural voice and projection,” he said.

Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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