Ripon Hornblower hangs up the horn after 12 years

The Ripon Hornblower,  George Pickles,  who is one of the recipients in the Yorkshire Post's 2014 Christmas Honours.  23 December 2014.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

The Ripon Hornblower, George Pickles, who is one of the recipients in the Yorkshire Post's 2014 Christmas Honours. 23 December 2014. Picture Bruce Rollinson

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Ripon’s Hornblower has hung up the horn after 12 years in the historic job which entails ‘setting the watch’ every night in the Market Square.

George Pickles joins the long list of Hornblowers who had carried out the nightly duty for several centuries.

The Wakeman blows the horn at each corner of the Obelisk and then seeks out the Mayor of the City to inform him that the watch is set before blowing three more times.

‘Setting the watch’ is the longest ongoing unbroken daily ceremony in the world and the Mayor of Ripon, Coun Mick Stanley, said Mr Pickles had been a ‘superb ambassador’ for the city.

He said: “I want to pay tribute to George Pickles who has decided to retire on Saturday after 12 years as Hornblower.

“Hornblower. George joined the municipal officers team of Bellman, Mayor’s Sergeant, and Sergeant at Mace in 2003 and has been a superb ambassador for the City for the past 12 years, ensuring at all times that the watch has been set in he Market Place, and coming to tell the Mayor of the day it has been set wherever the Mayor is in the City.

“He has gone to visit other societies, clubs and organisations across the North of England to tell them of the unique daily ceremony that is ‘setting the watch’.

“He regularly has a large audience in the Market Place and visitors come from across the globe as he tells me each night.

“George, just like all of the previous Hornblowers is unique and cannot be replaced, but the role of Hornblower will continue with Jim, Paul and Wayne undertaking the duty until the Council decides on another.

“My thanks to George for his dedication and the exemplary manner in which he has carried out his duties. George you will be missed.”