Home Breaking News Londoners pay tribute after death of town crier Bill Paul

Londoners pay tribute after death of town crier Bill Paul


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Friends are remembering London’s self-styled town crier Bill Paul as a larger-than-life entertainer and a proud Londoner through and through.

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Though he wasn’t London’s town crier in any official city hall capacity, Paul carved out a niche for himself as a friendly and familiar face at local events big and small, with his tricorn hat, hand bell and town crier battlecry, ”Oyez, Oyez!” His death was announced publicly by friends and associates Sunday morning.

Paul was someone Londoners would find at events around town, as a RibFest judge, emcee or out of the spotlight, making balloon animals for children.

“Bill Paul was everywhere and now, sadly, nowhere,” London magician Peter Mennie wrote in a post on Facebook Sunday.

Mennie remembers Paul from Central High School and his various pursuits over the decades, including a radio show on Fanshawe College’s CIXX-FM to a local cable broadcast.

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Mayor Ed Holder said Londoners who might not know Paul by name would know him for his “beaming face and booming voice.”

“Over the years, Bill selflessly and enthusiastically brought joy and laughter to countless numbers of Londoners,” Holder said on Twitter Sunday morning.

“The best way to honour his memory, in my view, is to spread laughter and joy ourselves, the way Bill did for decades to friends, family, and strangers alike.”

London realtor George Georgopoulos remembered Paul as someone who was “never without a smile.”

Paul made a point of collecting the phone numbers and birthdays of the people he met so he could give them a call on their big day.

“For over 45 years he would call and sing Happy Birthday on the phone,” Georgopoulos wrote in a Facebook post. “I know I wasn’t the only one he did this for. If you needed any type of entertainer, it was one call to Billy.”

A “town crier” was a official who would make public announcements as needed, a role dating back in some form to ancient Rome. As literacy became common, and especially with the development of communication tools and mass media, such positions faded away. Paul sought to keep it alive in London – one of the few Ontario cities with a citizen like that.

Sunday, the London Public Library applauded the lasting impression Paul made on the city.

“Thank you, Bill Paul, for your creativity, care and dedication to our community,” library officials wrote on Twitter.