Express & Star

Black Country church clock appeal ticks past halfway mark

Parishioners with time on their hands are halfway to reaching their goal of restoring an historic church clock.

Roger Whitehouse, Paul Millward, James Brookes and Karen Chaplin mark the milestone in the fundraising bid

An appeal to return the clock dial to its former glory after it was rescued from St Luke’s in Cradley Heath before the church was demolished was launched in February last year.

The plan is to install it the renovated timepiece in the tower at St Peter’s in neighbouring Cradley.

In the past 18 months, the campaigners have raised £7,000 through concerts, sponsored marathons, teddy bear parachute jumps from the church tower, sponsorship from local businesses and community grants.

Their target is £14,500 which will also restore the clock’s chimes, although these will be turned off at night. The group also saved the organ from St Luke’s and had it restored. Members have since expanded their vision for the campaign.

James Brookes, from St Peter’s, said: “ Since we started, our project has grown to include restoring heritage features to the tower including a replica weathervane, flagpole and illuminating the church at night with LED floodlights for a few hours.

“The weathervane will be an exact copy of the one that was on the tower from 1875 until the mid-20th century and will hopefully be made by local craftsmen.”

The weathervane work has been priced at £3,000, the flagpole £2,500 and the floodlighting £6,000.

A lightning conductor has also been added to the list, at a cost of £5,000.

The group hopes to raise the rest of the cash through corporate sponsorship of bi-monthly concerts, with company logos featuring on posters, leaflets and programmes, plus mentions on their Facebook posts.

The campaign’s Just a Minute Appeal is still open, inviting people for the price of a donation to choose a specific minute and write in no more than 100 words why it is important to them.

Mr Brookes said: “We have had lots of lovely memories so far but we still have room for more. It is hoped that at the end of the project, and once the clock is installed, we can put all the contributions and names into a book and have it on display in the church for future generations.”

Entries can be sent to: Parish Office, 32 High Street, Halesowen B63 3BB. Include a name and contact email address or phone number along with a cheque for the donation made payable to “PCC of Cradley Parish” marking the Clock Fund.

The envelope should be marked “Just a Minute Appeal”.