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From writing with quills to using digital skills – Chester’s Digital Skills Academy supports Town Crier’s publishing career

Chester-based Cheshire Digital Skills Academy has teamed up with the city’s Town Crier in releasing his brand-new book The Word on The Street.

With a helping hand from the Academy Directors, Bev Cowperthwaite and Jayne Muspratt, Town Crier David Mitchell has enhanced his overall digital skills. This has allowed him to publish the book, which unravels the history of life as a town crier and all of the mysteries alongside it.

Many people recognise David Mitchell by his colourful outfit, loud voice and friendly personality. You may also have heard him ringing his bell throughout Chester. However, Chester’s Town Crier is also a writer of books. David has appeared in several TV and radio programmes, documentaries and films. It is safe to say he’s not afraid to portray his talents of acting and performing. With one book already released, David is keen to bring out another and educate people with his knowledge about the history of town criers. Alongside his renowned one-man show For Crying Out Loud!, David has added a second book called The Word on The Street to his repertoire. In a recent interview, he made it clear that this is different to the usual history of “boring kings and queens stuff!”

Cheshire Digital Skills Academy (CDSA), which is based at the University of Chester’s Riverside Innovation Centre, played a key part in helping David to produce his second book. CDSA is a small business that offers various courses in helping people to improve their digital skills. These courses are tailored to students’ exact capabilities. They are available for software such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. As David admits: “My previous skills were with quill pen and hand-bell so this has been a major leap for me from Tudor technology to the 21st Century.”

Directors Bev Cowperthwaite and Jayne Muspratt are fully qualified in teaching various software such as Word and Excel. Using their personal assistance, he was able to format his new book by learning advanced Word skills. David can now apply this newly-acquired digital knowledge to any book he writes in the future. He praised Bev and Jayne’s understanding attitude, saying: “I doubt you will find friendlier tutors anywhere!”

Director at CDSA, Bev Cowperthwaite, said: “CDSA thrives in helping individuals to succeed and accomplish their own digital goals. It’s been a pleasure to have played our part in helping him to finalise his latest publication.”

Co-Director Jayne Muspratt praised David’s work, saying: “If you have seen any of David’s award-winning performances, or are aware of his unique personality, you will know that this is definitely a book not to miss, and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to support him in making his vision a reality.”

The Word on The Street reveals many mysteries and, more specifically, the history of Town Criers. From patrolling the streets at night to ‘wife sales’, David uncovers every detail of their secrets. When he realised that there was no recorded history of town criers’ roles, he thought “If nobody has written it, why shouldn’t I?”

The Word on The Street is available in Chester stores: Chester Visitor Information Centre, Timpsons and Chester a Life Story. It can also be purchased online from David’s website here.

If you would like to improve your software skills or become as digitally advanced as Chester’s Town Crier, get in touch with Cheshire Digital Skills Academy. All ages and levels of digital experience are welcome. Visit here, or call 01244 515525 to arrange your own personal course today.  

Photo courtesy of Jeff Price.