Rye Clock Appeal gets off to ‘good start’

A CONCERT to launch the fundraising appeal to repair Rye’s parish clock was a sell out success on Saturday.

Early estimates of money raised are £1,700, with some private donations still arriving.

It will be put towards the overhaul of the working parts and hopefully the commission of a new glass case for the clock, the oldest working church turret clock in the UK, so that it can be better viewed by visitors.

The audience were delighted by tales from Sir Donald Sinden who reminisced about his past and those he had worked with.

The packed audience also heard pianist Helen Ridout beautifully performing a repertoire from Haydn, with a sonata that was written in the same year that the Quarter Boys were installed at Rye Church, to a jazzy version of bats in the belfry.

Helen accompanied young violinist Holly Gurney, a former Rye College student, now studying for ‘A’ levels at Lewes College.

Also performing was another former student of Thomas Peacocke, Rebekah Gilbert, who rounded off the evening’s music with entertaining caberet songs by Kurt Weill and old favourites by Gershwin & Cole Porter.

The concert was introduced by local historian, and former Rye Mayor, Cllr Jo Kirkham who gave the audience food for thought about how the clock was originally installed and all those who have viewed it.

The concert was closed by current Rye Mayor Cllr John Breeds, who had been one of the last people to manually wind the clock some years before.

During post concert refreshments served by the Friends’ of St Mary’s, the audience were able to view beautiful new black and white photographs of the clock’s cogs & wheels by photographer David Purdie of Purdie Gallery in Rye, and a ‘portrait’ of the clock painted by local artist Martin Bradshaw.

Concert organisers John Gurney and Rebekah Gilbert said: “We are grateful to so many people coming along to support this appeal and they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy the evening.

“We hope we can soon see the clock fully restored to its former glory & be enjoyed by residents and visitors to Rye for many more centuries.

“A good start has been made towards achieving our anticipated final cost of £30,000. Further donations would be welcomed by the Friends’ of St Mary’s and should be addressed to The Clock Fund.”