Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Man employed to sit on Big Ben and shout ‘BONG!’ every hour

Big Ben

A man has been employed to sit at the top of Big Ben and shout “BONG!” very loudly while the bell is being repaired.

Jonathan Squires, 57, of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, has to live 24/7 in the clock tower and shout into a megaphone on the hour, every hour.

News that the traditional bell would be silent for four years was met with howls of protest by people with too much time on their hands.

Even Prime Minister Theresa May interrupted her work on important global crises to say it was wrong for Big Ben to be quiet during a lengthy restoration project.

Parliamentary officials decided the best compromise would be to employ a man to shout “BONG!” so tourists would still experience the charm of Big Ben’s chimes.

Mr Squires, a former geography teacher, was selected after proving he emitted the loudest and most realistic “BONG!” out of all the candidates.

He will be paid £24,000 a year, plus meals and accommodation in the 96-metre clock tower, which was built in 1859.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference to unveil him today, Mr Squires said: “I’m looking forward to keeping the nation abreast of the time.

“It’s a simple enough job – I just have to shout “BONG!” into my megaphone the required number of times, on the hour every hour.

“It is an honour to serve my country in this way, and I hope the Prime Minister is satisfied.”

Mr Squires takes up his position next Monday.

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