North Tawton residents gathered in the town centre on Saturday (June 22) to celebrate the completion of the restoration of the clocktower roof and the repair of the church lych gate.

The celebratory event, which also included cream teas and cake, marked the end of a nearly two-year period in which the clocktower had been in disrepair after the roof skirt of the town's iconic structure collapsed in September 2022.

A subsequent survey revealed that water ingress had damaged the wooden support strut in the southwest corner, causing the collapse. The unexpected collapse meant the council was short of the money required to repair the damage. A successful campaign to raise money to fund the repair work followed. The campaign met its fundraising target in September last year, and repair work started soon after.

Speaking on behalf of the town council at the opening, North Tawton Town Councillor Carol Burrow, said: "The clocktower is a focal point of our town and our community. Several generations of townsfolk have gathered around it, meeting friends, setting the world to rights and maybe indulging in a little gossip. I wonder what tales it could tell? Following the collapse of the clocktower roof in 2022 and the need to undertake work to repair the lych gate, the council was posed with a problem - there was a shortfall in the funds available to undertake the renovation work. It was, therefore, a huge relief when we were approached by a local resident, Grahame Flynn, offering his experience to help raise funds to renovate both structures. It is fair and honest to say that we could not have done this without Grahame's enthusiasm and extensive experience in public fundraising and, of course, [residents'] generosity."

The event included reopening the lych gate at the entrance to St. Peter's Church, which needed repair. As part of the fundraising campaign for repairing the clocktower, some money also went towards fixing the lych gate. This was necessary because the Church of England does not provide grants for repairing closed churchyards under a local authority's responsibility.