A campaign to get one of Morpeth’s most famous timepieces returned to its former glory is receiving strong support.
And Morpeth’s floral clock is now on the move to allow investigation of its condition and options for its possible restoration.
Despite a number of repairs over the years, the feature in Carlisle Park has not worked since 2008.
It was presented to the Borough of Morpeth in 1972 by James Fairbairn Smith, then of Detroit, USA, to commemorate Alderman Bertram Jobson’s four years of office as Mayor of the borough.
Earlier this week, the clock was carefully removed. It has been taken down to renowned clockmakers Smith of Derby for detailed analysis on whether the mechanism can be repaired.
Northumberland County Council was approached about the possibility of reinstating it by The Friends of Morpeth’s Floral Clock and is working with the group to explore options and costs that would be associated with this – and how they might be met – including the possibility of sponsorship.
The goal of the group, which recently became fully constituted and set-up a bank account for public donations, is for the feature to be restored in time for the summer judging of the 2018 Britain in Bloom competition.
The Friends of Morpeth’s Floral Clock chairman Barbara Ross said the group has received donations totalling £2,000 in just the last two weeks.
She added: “It has been wonderful to see this project coming together and we are delighted at the positivity and encouragement that we have received from Northumberland County Council, and the partnership we have forged.
“The support so far has been amazing. People in Morpeth have told us how much the clock meant to them when they were a child and we’ve had messages wishing us well from all over the world.
“Options will need to be explored depending on the assessment, but the main thing is that we have a working and reliable floral clock up-and-running again in Carlisle Park.”
If it is restored, the group’s preferred plan is for traditional carpet bedding to be used.
Smith of Derby clock engineer Craig Park said that once the assessment has been carried out, a report will be sent to the county council.
Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services at the local authority, said: “We are pleased to be working with The Friends of Morpeth’s Floral Clock to explore what will be required to restore and maintain it in the future.
“Smith of Derby has a history going back more than 150 years and will be able to advise us about the options available.”
Morpeth town councillor Alison Byard, part of the team that visited Whitby to look into how the floral clock there is managed and financed, added that any restored or replacement feature must be more secure than what was there before.
People can donate to the group at TSB Bank in Newgate Street, by BACS to sort code 30-95-76, account number 31912568, by cheque payable to The Friends of Morpeth Floral Clock, send it to 13 Pottery Bank Court, Morpeth, NE61 1DS, or online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/morpethfloralclock