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Council asked to step in as Dungannon waits six months for clock repair

By Cate McCurry

Time has been standing still for six months in a Co Tyrone town after its central clock stopped ticking.

The hands of time on St Anne's Church clock in Dungannon ceased last year shortly before 9am/pm.

Now the race is on to get the clock moving once again.

The matter was raised during a meeting of Mid Ulster District Council when DUP councillor Clement Cuthbertson said it was time for the council to help the church out.

He explained that while the four-sided clock is owned by the Church of Ireland, it is widely viewed as the town's timekeeper.

However, local councillors and staff at the church face a challenge as there are no local specialists with the skills to repair the broken clock.

In a further twist, it has emerged that the workman who last serviced the clock in October passed away around the same time that it stopped working.

Mr Cuthbertson said that the clock was part of one of the main tourist attractions in Dungannon.

"The church and the clock is the thing that visitors see when they come into the town - people here do class it as the town clock," he added.

"It's a great tourist attraction in the town.

"The office where I am based is on the same street and I see a lot of people and visitors taking photographs with it in the background."

He said during the meeting that the previous council provided the church with funding to help with repair work.

It is understood the church has booked a specialist to travel from England to the town in hope of bringing the clock back to life.

The DUP councillor added: "That church is open all day, every day and their visitor book shows that they get more callers there than the council's own facilities.

"In October last year they had someone from England to service it , but then when he died the clock stopped working.

"It was working perfectly well until then, so it's a bit ironic."

The church could face high costs for the repairs as Northern Ireland lacks the skill-set.

"It's strange that no one here can do it. I've searched for different firms in Northern Ireland who work with grandfather clocks, but no one on their websites say they can service church clocks," the councillor added.

"It's a great feature in the town that we have and we want to get it working.

"We hope to see it up and running in the next few weeks."

The Tyrone Courier reported that the last time the clock was repaired, it cost between £500 and £1,000. During the council meeting it was agreed that it would look into what assistance could be offered to help the church with the clock repairs.

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