New sign for Clippesby was based on the original

Clippesby new village sign

Clippesby new village sign - Credit: Archant

The birthday celebrations for the Queen had special significance for Clippesby people – with the unveiling of a new village sign to mark the occasion

The original sign, unveiled in 1978, had been showing signs of deterioration and Fleggburgh Parish Council agreed to let Clippesby parishioners remove and restore it.

However, when Paul Guise-Smith and his helpers Malcolm Guymer, Lee and Ben Clarke and Dan Farman took it to his workshop they found it was beyond repair so Mr Guise-Smith decided to create a new one.

He found Brazilian mahogany for the top of the sign, which was used for the first one, and Johnnie Lindsay gave him Clippesby oak for the post and the rest of it.

Mr Guise-Smith spent hours in his workshop in the old tithe barn attached to his cottage, working for 200 hours all told.


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The sign itself has been carved and faithfully replicates the original in every detail. The supporting arms are Mr Guise-Smith's own design with carved shields of John Clippesby's coat of arms on either end of them and with carved wooden supports rather than wrought iron ones as the original sign had.

After the top of the sign had been carved and undercoated it was given over to the original sign's designer Mandy Youngs, and Frances Lindsay-Smith, to be painted and varnished.

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In the year of the Coronation, she and her Clippesby schoolfriends Karen Williams and John Carter had submitted their designs and suggestions which were incorporated into the original sign by Sqd Ldr Bill Hidden. He organised it then using money left over from the Coronation celebrations and it seemed fitting to do this restoration in honour of the Queen's 90th birthday. There is a brass plaque on the post to commemorate this.

Mr Guise-Smith repaired the flint and brick plinth and manufactured a stainless steel lining to hold the sign.

It was a proud moment for the nearly 100 spectators with Margaret Alston performing the unveiling – her late husband Willy gave the land for the sign.

Present among the Clippesby villagers and friends were borough councillor Haydn Thirtle, Fleggburgh Parish Council chairman Frank Brown and parish clerk Jenny Coleman. The ceremony finished with a blessing of the sign by the rector, the Rev Karen Rayner.

Is your village sign being restored? Email newdesk@archant.co.uk

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