Dr Who returns to the nation’s TV screens this spring. But the housing society already has its own ‘time lord’ in Revd Neville Pugh. However, Peter Capaldi needn’t worry. Nev’s powers are strictly making grandfather clocks.
Stepping through the side door of his garage in North Wales is like entering the Tardis. But the doctor’s time machine is replaced by knotted wood, sawdust and the roar of power tools. This is where ‘Nev the Rev’ – as he’s affectionately known – creates his clocks.
FED WITH PIPETTE
Nev’s clockmaking started when he was a minister in Yorkshire. He was visiting a church member whose husband was a joiner and undertaker. Nev noticed the house was filled with clocks at different stages of development.
‘I thought to myself, “Oh I’d like to make one of those!”’ he recalled.
After reading about clockmaking, Nev needed to build one. A visitor to the manse saw the result and asked Nev to make her one, too. He borrowed £300 to buy a machine that trims wooden boards. ‘Every time I made a clock I’d buy a machine, so it made it a little bit easier,’ said Nev.
Time wasn’t always on his side. Nev was born in 1937 at Kingsley near Frodsham, Cheshire. Deprived of oxygen, baby Nev appeared lifeless and had to be fed with a pipette.
‘I had an impediment of speech as a boy,’ he remembered. ‘Only my elder brother could understand me. So at school he was the interpreter.’
Nev became a Christian at seven on a mission in Kelsall Methodist Church led by Cliff College evangelist Tom Butler. ‘Gradually my speech improved,’ Nev recalled.
On leaving school, he went through a series of jobs from working on a poultry farm to running a contract cleaning business. All that changed when he heard famous missionary Gladys Aylward speak at Cliff College in 1954. ‘I said to the Lord, “I’ll do anything for you,”’ Nev recalled. (You can read Nev’s full story in the Spring 2017 edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots)