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He gave up teaching four years ago to retrain in horology, which had been an amateur enthusiasm for many years, gaining the St Loyes College Certificate in Horology, then a Post Graduate Diploma in Conservation and Restoration of Antique Clocks at West Dean College, Sussex.

Winning a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship means he can now study for the Professional Development Diploma. Only two horologists a year are accepted on the course.

Queen Elizabeth Scholarships are designed to advance education in modern and traditional crafts and trades in the United Kingdom and are open to men and women of all ages. Scholarships are awarded twice a year and this autumn seven awards have been made totalling £37,000.

Dr Coles explained: “The course will allow me to study and restore 17th century lantern clocks and some of the movements which developed from them. Often these clocks were kept running by relatively low-grade repair work as they were always the cheapest clocks of their day. Today many are in need of major work when they come into a repairer’s workshop, often with original components missing. I hope to benefit from this course by developing a range of repair techniques which will allow as much as possible of the original craftsman’s movement to survive.” In the long term, he would like to run his own workshop, concentrating on lantern and 30-hour clocks and possibly train an apprentice.