DEVOTED residents have formed a group to help raise £8,000 to repair and restore an historic church clock especially for the Mayflower 400 commemorations.

The church clock fund has been formed by four Harwich residents - Lavinia Hamer, Sue Watts, Cathy Offord and Anna Rendell-Knights - who are determined to see the St Nicholas’ Church clock working again.

The three-faced clock has been the timing reference for Harwich for at least since 1570.

It has been repaired at intervals, but has been silent for more than a year.

It now needs a complete overhaul and the cost is estimated at about £8,000.

However, work is also urgently needed on St Nicholas’ Church roof, which has to take priority over the clock.

Now the women have formed a separate clock fund group.

Mrs Rendell-Knights, who is the organist at the church, said each individual in the group was working hard to raise money for the clock’s restoration.

She added: “The clock has been with the church for more than 400 years.

“This is a town project in a way, because the clock was chiming for us for many years, and it really needs this work done.

“It’s important to have it repaired for the Mayflower 400 celebrations because the clock was chiming back in the day when the Mayflower ship, whose captain was from Harwich, took the first pilgrims to America. It would be nice to have it chime for the 400th anniversary.”

Mrs Rendell-Knights said the clock is crucial for the whole town because it has one face towards the town, one across the station and one towards Dovercourt.

“All of us have taken it for granted, but if you were in the town, you always knew what was the time,” she added.

The group has already raised £800, but its plan is to raise the total of £8,000 by the end of March.

Several events have been planned to raise funds, and the first one will take place on Saturday.

A craft fair has been organised at the 1912 Centre, in Cow Lane, Harwich, from 10am to 4pm, where a wide range of displays and items will be up for sale from wooden toys and embroidery to stained glass.

The event will have the theme of clocks.

There will also be refreshments including homemade soup and many more tasty treats.