MORE than £1,500 has been raised towards repairing an historic church clock in time for this year’s Mayflower 400 celebrations.

A group of devoted residents are trying to raise £8,000 to see St Nicholas’ Church’s clock chime across Harwich once again.

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 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.

To help raise the £8,000 needed for the over haul, the group held a fundraising craft fair last weekend.

The event took place at the 1912 Centre, in Cow Lane, Harwich, from 10am to 4pm.

The event had the theme of clocks.

Mrs Rendell-Knights, who is the organist at the church, said: “Our event was very successful and a lot of people said it was for a very worthwhile cause.”

She said the event itself raised more than £700.

This amount added to other donations has brought the total to about £1,500.

“I have applied for a grant too,” she added.

“We need to get the money raised by the end of March in time for the Mayflower celebrations.”

This September marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship’s historic sail to the New World with the Pilgrim Fathers and captain Christopher Jones, who once lived in Harwich.

Mrs Rendell-Knights added: “It’s very important to get the clock working as it has been chiming in Harwich since the 1500s.

“Everyone in Harwich has noticed the clock has not been chiming, so it will be nice to have it working again.”

The fundraising group is planning on setting up a fundraising website for people to donate to in a bid to reach their target.

They are also holding a fundraising quiz night on March 10 at the Alma Inn, in Harwich.

Then, in May they are holding a dinner at the Harwich Sailing Club for residents to attend and support the cause.

Mrs Rendell-Knights added: “That’s it at the moment, but we will have a meeting in the future to see what to plan next.”