Hundreds of people are supporting a campaign to restore Morpeth’s Floral Clock.
Despite a number of repairs over the years, the feature in Carlisle Park has not worked since 2008.
But after hearing that Northumberland County Council is looking at a plan to renovate the park, a group has been formed to raise awareness of the clock and seek funding so it can work again and also previous issues can be addressed.
They believe it is only one of four floral clocks in England, along with others in Whitby, Blackpool and Hove, and its restoration would boost Morpeth’s tourism offering and future bloom competition entries.
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.
Barbara Ross, one of the people who set up the group, said: “We think that there are people in Morpeth who will remember the floral clock with great affection and will regard it as part of their heritage.
“If it was fully functioning again, it would be a great boost for tourism in the town and Northumberland.
“We recognise that the clock would be expensive to repair and may even need to be completely replaced if it is beyond repair.
“It would also need to be planted and tended and maintained and serviced.
“So we’re delighted with the reaction so far from the public as we’ve had numerous pledges of support, both financial and in kind. We now have approximately £4,000 in pledges.
“We’ve had a very positive response from the county council in terms of it being willing to explore different options.
“We have a meeting this week with the council to discuss the various issues, which also includes how best to protect the clock from vandalism.
“We have recently been in touch with Friends of Pannett Park in Whitby, and we’re looking to arrange a visit there to see its clock and speak to the members of that group face-to-face.”
She added that she understands the link between Bertram Jobson and James Fairbairn Smith is that they went to school together.
The great niece of James Fairbairn Smith and Nigel Jobson and Joanne Simpson (Bertram Jobson was their great uncle, although they both called him Uncle Bert) are members of the Friends of Morpeth’s Floral Clock Facebook group that has hundreds of members.
Nigel said: “Uncle Bert was part of the Jobson’s family business that had a store in the Market Place, he did a lot of charity work as he was very active in the local Freemasons and rotary club and he was a former President of Morpeth Conservative Club.
“He was Mayor of Morpeth twice and his father, George John Jobson, my great grandfather, was also Mayor of the town.
“The floral clock is a unique feature that has so much to offer the town and I’m quite taken aback that the has been so much support for the initiative to restore the clock.”
Joanne said since being made aware of the campaign, she has been trying to get in touch with the relatives of Bertram’s daughter, Elizabeth, who married Michael Hackett – the inventor of Lindisfarne Mead.
She has spoken to a family member this week and hopes to speak to others soon.
You can leave details of how you would like to help the initiative at The Sewing Box, Newgate Street.
Residents can also find out more about the campaign by emailing Morpethfloralclock@gmail.com