THE time is nigh for a 74-year-old who has decided to step down from winding his town’s clock after two decades in the role.

Gareth Hughes, from Corwen, has been visiting St Mael and St Sulien’s Church twice every week since 1988 to keep its clock up to date.

The pensioner, who was born in Corwen, took on the role whilst self-employed in ground maintenance and was responsible for the church's grounds and three cemeteries, before his retirement eight years ago. Now approaching his 74th birthday, Mr Hughes feels now is the time to pass it on to another generation.

He said: “The Corwen town clock is getting old and I’m getting no younger.

“I’m 74 in January and it needs a younger person – the driving weights are quite heavy and too much for me now!”

Mr Hughes said he has “an interest in clocks, particularly tower clocks”, which has given him the motivation to stay in the role for so long.

But with today’s technology his successor may not be surplus to requirements.

He said: “One answer would be to have an automatic winding mechanism, geared electric motors operated by trip-switches. Many tower clocks have them now but it would not come cheap.

“In the 20 years of my winding it and doing minor repairs as needed, I’d say it’s due for a proper overhaul by a tower clock specialist.

“It has blips, sometimes the striking mechanism slips or the striking time-wheel lever jumps the stop slot, causing continual striking until stopped manually.

“Thankfully this hasn’t happened in the dead of night – yet.”

Mr Hughes will depart from the position in March next year.

“I will certainly look back on it reminiscing,” he said.