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Man's 40ft ladder climb to wind church clock could soon be over

St Peter & St Paul Church in West Newton is rasing money for a new clock in its tower. The clock has to be wound once a week to keep it going - Richard Ward climbing the 40ft ladder. Picture: Matthew Usher.

St Peter & St Paul Church in West Newton is rasing money for a new clock in its tower. The clock has to be wound once a week to keep it going - Richard Ward climbing the 40ft ladder. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2015

For more than a century, it has been the weekly job of a villager living near West Newton's church to mount the daunting 40-step ladder into its tower to manually wind up its clock.

But those arduous days may now finally be coming to an end, as an appeal has been launched that would see an automatic winder installed. Locals are trying to raise £10,000 to fully renovate the clock, in the tower of St Peter and St Paul Church, and ensure it is fully automated.

Richard Ward, 46, who has been the winder for the last five years, said: “I don’t mind doing it, but it’s not great for health and safety.

“The ladder is not that safe. An older person used to do it and it would be harder for someone who was not physically fit.”

Mr Ward is a mechanic on the Sandringham estate and also a retained firefighter at the Sandringham station, based at Dersingham.

Churchwarden Jayne Windsor said: “It’s a piece of history. The clock has been telling us the time for over 100 years so it deserves to be cared for and looked after, for the benefit of us all now and for future generations of West Newton residents.

“Margery [Hooke, the other churchwarden] and I have been heartened by the immediate and generous support of our friends and neighbours. Many donations have been accompanied by notes expressing a great deal of affection for the clock.”

They have not approached the Queen for help in fundraising, even though she can probably hear the clock chiming from her bedroom at Sandringham House. Mrs Windsor added: “This is a community project and we want local people to get involved and help raise the money.”

A series of events is now planned to top up the appeal fund.

Are you fundraising to save a bit of our heritage? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk



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