Hear ye, hear ye! story of Wimborne town crier's stolen bell to feature on TV show

Bournemouth Echo: Wimborne Town Crier Chris Brown with his bell that he had stolen last year but was reunited with two weeks later when a kind soul dropped it off in his driveway allowing Chris to alert people to the news Wimborne Town Crier Chris Brown with his bell that he had stolen last year but was reunited with two weeks later when a kind soul dropped it off in his driveway allowing Chris to alert people to the news

WIMBORNE’S rock ’n’ roll town crier Chris Brown is set to appear on a national television series after the theft of his bell last year.

Mr Brown, who is also known as his alter-ego DJ Dapper Dan, will appear on BBC One series Robbed, Raided, Reunited.

The show will cover the theft of his historic bell, which was used to warn troops of gas attacks in First World War trenches, and its subsequent mysterious return.

It went missing from a bag as the town crier was performing a DJ set at the White Hart Pub in Cornmarket for last year’s Wimborne Folk Festival.

Mr Brown said: “It’s all a bit of a mystery.

“Around two weeks after the bell was taken, the town crier of Royal Wootton Bassett was calling in for a coffee on a visit.

“He came in and said to me, ‘Looks like your bell has fallen out of the back of your car’, and I told him it had been nicked. He replied that it looked like it had dropped out of the back of my car, and went out to get it for me. It was outside in its bag.”

The bell was in a bag printed with Mr Brown’s Wimborne address.

He said: “I suspect it was all a drunken prank, and someone made the decision to return it to me.”

The bell is one of just six of its kind to survive the war.

It was created in London’s East End, and Mr Brown bought it over the internet from a woman in America whose grandfather brought it back from the war.

“It was my very first eBay purchase,” he said.

“The lady I bought it from was very pleased it was coming back to England, as she knew it was from here originally. It is quite rare – many of them were buried in the trenches.

“I have only ever seen two others on the internet. One is owned by a town crier in Canada, and the second was on eBay. It was very badly damaged.”

Mr Brown took part in filming for the BBC series in the summer.

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