Time’s ticking to repair Don’s clock in time for birthday

PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 September 2018

Don Ryan with his clock. Ref sho 38 18TI 1511. Picture: Terry Ife

Don Ryan with his clock. Ref sho 38 18TI 1511. Picture: Terry Ife


It would be a birthday present like no other for one former Ottery shop owner as he races against time to restore his 91-year-old pendulum clock before his birthday.

Don Ryan says the clock is ‘one of the family’ after his dad purchased it on the day he was born nearly 91 years ago.

The clock recently stopped working so Don has begun a search to repair it in time for his birthday on October 7.

Don said: “My dad was waiting for me to be born and he had a flash of inspiration as he went past a shop he saw this clock in the window and it took his fancy and he bought it.

“It was £26 which was a lot of money in those days, as the average wage in those days was £3 a week. It’s been part of the family ever since.”

As a youngster, Don worked for Langdon and Sons in Liverpool making duffle coats for the navy and dinghy sails.

With the help of the clock, it helped him to get to work on time and on a cheaper train fare.

The 90-year-old said: “I remember I used to watch the clock when I was working at Langdon and Sons as I used to need to get the train for two minutes to eight to get a workman’s fare, if I caught the train after eight the fare was almost double.”

He then went on to serve in the Royal Navy and was stationed at Lympstone as a sick berth attendant.

The clock remained with his parents until their death before passing on to Don and Margaret, his wife of 64 years.

The grandfather-of-five, who is also a keen photographer, said: “It [the clock] has stopped and it would be nice to get it as good as new again.”

His son Jon added: “Dad is hoping to find someone who may be able to get it going again in time for his 91st birthday next month.”

Don and Margaret moved to Ottery in the 1960s and ran three businesses across the town including the former Godfrey’s shoe shop.

He recalled that he bought the business while walking around town asking owners to put up Christmas trees and lights before walking back to tell his wife he’d bought it.

Don is also known for running a men’s outfitters and agricultural clothing store. He also helped to set up the Twinning Association.

If you can help Don fix his clock contact the Herald on 01392 888511.

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