CHURCH-goers hope to time the arrival of their new vicar with the sound of bells from Saltburn town clock.

For more than a year, the quarter-hour chime has been silent, in need of repair. Although housed in the tower of Emmanuel Church, with running costs met by the church council, the owner is the borough council, which has been reluctant to give it priority funding.

So, with a long-awaited new vicar due next month, an appeal has been made for the £1,300 cost of a new motor.

The clock and its chimes have several times been blessed by generous townspeople.

It began in 1902 when cash was raised for a town clock to commemorate the reign of Queen Victoria. It was to be on the site of the former post office, but as Emmanuel Church tower was being built, it was sited there.

In the Eighties, nearby residents complained of the noise and loss of sleep. Tests deemed that the night noise level was above the limit and the chimes were reduced to a 12-hour day.

Church warden Malcolm Holmes said that they had a little team scampering up and down the stairs of the tower to stop and start the chimes.

Even the vicar, the Rev Ian Parkinson, was in the team but then an appeal for donations for a timing mechanism was an immediate success.

Early next month, the Rev Guy Donegan-Cross, his wife and four children will move to Saltburn.

Mr Holmes said the town had always been generous and several donations had been received. Anyone interested in helping can contact him on 01287 624454.