A 19th Century church clock is to be dragged into the modern era with a new digital face.

As many of you guessed, this story was an April Fool.

The clock in the spire of St John’s Church, Burgess Hill, is to be refitted with a modern automated system to make the clock more accurate.

Church wardens have said the current clock mechanism is difficult for clock engineers to access for routine maintenance and to change the time twice a year.

The old iron and brass mechanism was originally hand wound by raising weights but these have since been electrically wound up to keep the clock functioning.

The clock does keep reasonable time but has to be changed manually twice a year and when the winding gear fails.

However the new automated system is incompatible with the traditional clock face and so the display will have to be replaced with a digital read out.

Plans to replace the clock's chimes with a synthesised alarm were also proposed but were rejected at the last minute because of historical concerns.

Churchwarden Graham Todd said: “The restoration will be most welcome and with the new digital clock faces the town will benefit from both time and air temperature information, visible day and night.”

Special exceptional permission has to be sought to change the clock as the tower is a Grade II* listed building.

Burgess Hill Town Council has agreed for the work to be done and has now contacted the Parochial Church Council for permission to carry out the restoration.

Subject to formal approval by the Diocese Chancellor, the work should be completed in the summer.

David Carden, the town clerk at Burgess Hill Town Council, said: “The town council were keen to utilise the latest technology.

“One major advantage of the new electronic system is that the clock can be altered by means of a remote control from the churchyard, which saves climbing the steeple.”