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Londoner of the Day goes to a Havering town crier who beat off more than 10,000 people to close the Olympic Games in London.

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Tony Appleton, 75, is well-known in Romford for being a larger-than-life character with a big voice- and a bell and to match.

He applied for the Olympic job after seeing it advertised by the Games’ organisers LOCOG.

More than 10,000 people applied, and 2,000 were called back for auditions.

After two auditions before Christmas he was notified this week he has won the role of a lifetime.

Tony said: “I am ecstatic about it! What an honour to close the Games. I still can’t believe it and have to keep slapping my face.

“I have had lots of congratulations from people about it and it will be nice for the people of Romford when they see me there, because I will be representing their town.

“I don’t know much about what I will be doing in the performance, but I know the rehearsals will be quite extensive.”

The rehearsals are expected to start on June 9 in Three Mills, Stratford, and later at the Olympic Stadium.

Tony, of Great Baddow in Chelmsford, is better known for leading festivities at Romford military parades and St George’s Day.

He will also be in town for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

Tony has been town crier of Romford for five years, during a career spanning 20 years.

Tony, who is also president of the Guild of International Millennium Town Criers, said his biggest job had so far been the 2011 New Years Day Parade, which was televised to hundreds of millions worldwide.

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