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How William Keeps Ticking Over

Bury Free Press 1988

How William Keeps Ticking Over

Bachelor William Stutters, 74, who is the Clock and Bells Keeper for All Saints' Church Wickhambrook, winding the church tower clock [Credit Bury Free Press]

One man who has not let time pass him by is William Stutters of Wickhambrook.

He has kept the village church clock ticking since it was installed back in 1947 and the church bells ringing for 58 years.

Ill health prevented the sprightly 74-year-old from ever attending school. But despite his unfortunate start in life, William has grown from strength to strength much of his time walking and gardening.

This firm and resolute bachelor who is also a tea-totaller is the first to say no thanks when passers-by offer him a lift.

"I don't like travelling in vehicles and never will. I prefer travelling in my Dr Martins. My boots are made for walking," he said.

William is out walking most of the day. "Five or six miles is a good average. I prefer that than sitting down anyday. I find it difficult to think what an ailing child I used to be."

Twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays he goes to the church and climbs the winding stone staircase to the belfry where he winds the clock which was installed in remembrance of all those locals who died in the two world wars.

The magnificent clock was made by Gillett and Johnson Ltd of Croydon, Surrey. The dial measures 11ft 6in and the hammer strikes the tenor bell which is one of the five bells hanging in the tower. Two of the bells are now out of commission.

"I pull two bells with my hands and one with my feet," said William. "There is no stopping me. No, no, stopping me once I get going. I love it and get paid quarterly for my services £13 a quarter."

He has no intention of retiring from the village church which is his first love.

When he has any spare time he will whether he likes it or not sit in a chair and read one of his 20 books on aeroplanes, three on dogs and three on cats and five on birds.

Footnote by Mike Chester: "William (Jack) Stutters doing something I found exhausting while I was more than twenty years his junior. The cutting is from the Bury Free Press 1988, from memory William continued this role until about 1997, until becoming ill and dying in 2001."

Last Modified Saturday 09 June 2012