Eric marks 40 years of clock winding

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WHEN Eric Bauly was asked to take the job of winding the church clock, he agreed to do it ‘for a couple of years’.

But on Sunday, St Mary’s Church, Mendlesham, marked 40 years of Eric’s clock care with a celebration after morning service.

“I’ve told them I’ll do it for another 40 years, but they might have to instal a stair lift in the tower,” he joked. “My aim is to do 50 years.”

Eric was a 24-year-old farmer and mechanical engineer when he took over from David Hendry, who was too arthritic to manage the 42 twisting steps to the clock chamber.

The date Eric began was written in the clock box, along with important events like its starting on May 26 1886 and that British Summer Time began on May 21 1916. Eric says it was first set against a sundial but today he uses his mobile phone.

“It keeps time to about 30 seconds a week, which clock experts tell me is good for an old clock,” he said.