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Marlborough’s remarkable 81-year-old Town crier Alfie Johnson is staying on in the job

Alfie Johnson with Christine SmithAlfie Johnson with Christine SmithAlfie Johnson, Marlborough’s much admired Town Crier for the past 18 years, is back on his feet – well almost – after suffering a stroke at his home in London Road and being rushed to the Great Western Hospital. 

He has been told by Edwina Fogg, Marlborough’s Mayor, that he has to take up his duties again once he is fit and well.  And 81-year-old Alfie told Marlborough News Online: “I’m really, really grateful.”

Alfie, who considers himself fortunate to be alive after collapsing from a stroke and a friend calling 999 just as an ambulance was passing his door, came out of hospital on Thursday.

And at the weekend he was back in the High Street so familiar to him being pushed in a wheelchair by family friend Christine Smith (pictured).

“I am a lot better thank you than I was the other day,” he said. “I was talking a load of garble after the stroke.  Nobody knew what I was talking about in the hospital.

“They were firing questions at me – who are you, how old are you, where do you live?  I didn’t know a thing.”

But he made it into an ordinary ward after initial intensive care and was sent home on Thursday.

“They released me from hospital earlier than expected,” he explained.  “An influx of emergency cases come in and I was the one walking around the ward.  So they said you can go home.”

But there was another calamity before he was back from Swindon to Marlborough, where he was born.

“My wife Annie went into hospital the same afternoon as I came out but she came home on Friday night,” he revealed.

“She suffered a stress attack, one of those panic attacks after I was taken ill.”

“But they have sorted her out and she’s back home too and beginning to feel a little bit better now.”

As to his future, he added: “They’re keeping me on as Town Crier.  The Mayor came to see me on Friday.  We had a little chat . ‘Have I got to give up’, I asked? but she said,  ‘No, when you’re fit to come back, you come back.'

“And I’m very thankful for that, really, really grateful.”

The Mayor too is amazed at Alfie’s resilience after his lucky escape.  “It was almost as if nothing had happened,” she told Marlborough News Online today (Monday).  “He looked no different at all.”

“There is no reason why he shouldn’t continue as our Town Crier once he is ready.  He was very pleased to hear that.”

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