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Town crier uses iPad as virtual high street becomes reality in Somerset

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 10, 2012

It was a case of ‘Oh App, Oh App, Oh App’ as the deafening shout of a town crier adapted to announce the birth of a new online era for the High Street. Wells town crier Len Sweales showed the city is looking to the future as he substituted an iPad for his traditional parchment scroll to announce the launch yesterday. Traders in Wells and Castle Cary are the first to sign up to MyHigh.St , pioneered by Wells toy shop owner Loaye Agabani

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The historic city of Wells got a shot of modern technology yesterday, as the traditional scene of its town crier swapped his parchment for an iPad.

The spectacle of the hi-tech device backed by the city’s honey stone walls, was to launch an online shopping “fightback”, on the myhigh.st site, with 50 shops from Wells and Castle Cary, Somerset, and will continue across the UK as soon as individual high streets can gather a minimum of ten shopkeepers to participate.

The site’s founders, one of whom is a former buyer for Marks & Spencer and a toy shop owner, hope to help retailers reverse the impact of recent bad weather and increasing rents, rates, refuse and parking charges combined with the soaring popularity of online shopping.

Loaye Agabani, who owns Junior Toys, said: “Whatever the weather, myhigh.st is open 24/7, enabling people to shop on their High Street from the comfort of their own home.

“Every store is staffed by personable, knowledgeable shopkeepers so that customers can enjoy online the personalised service and sense of community that make our High Streets great. Now time-pressed shoppers have more choice and flexibility and can feel good because they’re supporting their local shops.”

Wells MP Tessa Munt said: “Wells has a long and proud heritage of independent shops and it is one of the reasons it remains a great attraction for the thousands of visitors who come here every year.

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