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The female vendor walked into Southon’s office to show her the 1960s timepiece that turned out to have an intriguing provenance to one of Britain’s favourite comedy actors.

Williams (1926-88) was in in 26 of the 31 Carry On films produced, more than any other actor.

The vendor says: “I had always been a bit of a fan and once wrote to him after he recited a poem that made a reference to West Wickham and I got a lovely letter back from him. Then I happened to go to a fundraiser for one of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's sailing adventures in 1978 and the auction included this clock, which had belonged to Kenneth Williams, so I simply had to bid for it.”

She was successful and with the clock came a letter by Williams saying: “This dear old clock has unfailingly wakened me since 1960 for every early film call I've had.”

Thrilled about her purchase, she wrote to Williams again and got another response from him pointing out: “It's a good alarm... and never let me down + I am a stickler for punctuality!”

Southon holds her auctions at Farleigh Court Golf Club, Croydon. The Swiza clock will be sold together with all three letters by Williams to the vendor and is estimated at £60-100.