Is this the oldest ringer in town?

Essex County Standard: Is this the oldest ringer in town? Is this the oldest ringer in town?

Great granddad John Watson will turn 90 on Sunday but is still ringing the bells at St Nicholas Church in Witham.

He started ringing the bells at the church when he moved to the area with his wife Eileen in 1974.

Mr Watson still regularly climbs the spiral staircase in the church tower to ring the bells.

Diane Davy, Mr Watson’s eldest daughter, said: “He used to play the bells before he came to Witham.

“When they moved they started going to the church and he was soon ringing the bells and is still doing it now.

“He doesn’t go quite as often now because he doesn’t always feel up to it.

“He broke his ankle very badly last summer and it never healed properly so he’s not always able to walk as easily.”

Mrs Davy said the most difficult part is the climbing the belltower’s spiral staircase.

She said: “The steps are quite steep but his friends support him and look after him.

“It’s kept him fit because it’s all about using the body for the bellringing but you have to use your mind too.

“It’s great for him and occasionally we get to go up to the tower with him, which is lovely.”

Mr Watson, of Munro Road, Witham, will celebrate his birthday with his four great-grandchildren, two grandchildren and the rest of his family and friends with a lunch party but will also attend a church service on Sunday.

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