Witham: Birthday bells for John, 90

Braintree and Witham Times: Mr Watson has been ringing the bells for nearly 40 years. Mr Watson has been ringing the bells for nearly 40 years.

Is John Watson the oldest church bellringer in Essex?

Great-grandfather Mr Watson, of Munro Road, Witham, turns 90 today but is still ringing the bells at St Nicolas Church, Witham.

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

Nearly 40 years later and Mr Watson still regularly climbs the spiral staircase in the church tower to ring the bells.

He said: “It’s a dedication, bellringers are very dedicated.

“I find it more difficult now getting up the stairs as I broke my ankle last year but otherwise I can still ring just as well as always.

“I won’t give it up until I can’t get up the stairs which hopefully won’t happen for a good few years yet.”

He celebrated 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 and ring the bells today.

He said: “It’s quite special to be able to ring them on my birthday.”


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