THE ban that has left Carnforth's famous station clock at a standstill for ten months is still in place following last week's meeting of Carnforth Station Trust.

The board of trustees met last Thursday and discussed the ban imposed on retired railwayman Jim Walker, who had wound the late-Victorian timepiece twice a week for 15 years.

The clock has become something of an icon since appearing in David Lean's classic 1945 black-and-white film Brief Encounter, which features scenes filmed on Carnforth's station platform. Train passengers visiting Carnforth today see the hands of the unwound Joyce of Whitchurch mechanism stopped at 7.45.

Trust chairman Peter Crowther told the Gazette: "There's really no change in the situation. We are waiting for Mr Walker to return the winding gear to us so the clock can be wound."

Mr Crowther said Mr Walker was barred from Carnforth Station Heritage Centre after a visitor complained about "racist" language overheard when the clock-winder was discussing a Daily Mail newspaper article.

"Till he apologises for that and says there won't be another incident like that, he won't come back to the station," said Mr Crowther, adding that the trust was working out with the clock's owner a way for it to be wound.

Mr Walker, whose clock-winding role was voluntary, told the Gazette: "I don't know what they (the trust) are talking about. For me to wind the clock up, all I needed was an aluminium ladder, which I borrowed from the station, and the key, which I brought down with me, which I kept at home.

"The key was surrendered to Mr Peter Yates because I said I don't have any use for this any more. The ladder is back in store room where it lives."

The 72-year-old said he had been "expressing free speech and open forum" by backing up a newspaper column by Amanda Platell. The October 2016 article referred to the Jewish children who fled the Nazis in 1939 on Kindertransport trains, and child migrants arriving from the Calais Jungle camp.

Mr Walker said the trust imposed the ban without asking for his version of events first.

The pensioner continues to visit the railway station with wife Betty when catching the train to shop in Lancaster.

"Can you imagine how I feel?" he told the Gazette. "I'm a 72-year-old man, I've never been in trouble with the police or anybody, yet I have a written document and a map saying where I can walk and can't walk on the station."

He added: "How could anybody pass a ruling on a man that hasn't even been invited to attend anything, then send out a solicitor's letter? What about this adage that a person is innocent till proven guilty?"

Bolton-le-Sands photographer and outdoor writer Robert Swain has defended his long-time friend Mr Walker. "I consider that Jim has been very unjustly treated," he told the Gazette.

Mr Swain said the clock was first installed at Carnforth station in December 1895, and is there on loan from its owners, the Smith family of Guernsey.