It took a monumental effort but the cannon that sits alongside Wellington Monument is back on its carriage – thanks to a team of National Trust volunteers.

The three-ton 35-pounder naval cannon had been lying on the ground since being lifted off its concrete plinth and its carriage during the Monument restoration project.

“We were very pleased to be able to get it back up,” said one of the National Trust volunteers, John Greenshields, whose home Park Farm is directly beneath the Monument.

John, his wife Jo, their family and six other volunteers – Andy Lucker, Anita Kacerovskis, Peter Fear, Gary and Bea James, and Vivienne Stock-Williams – have all been giving their time to the re-opening and gathering donations for the last bits of work to be done to the Monument.

A team of them were on-site for three days as the cannon went from prone to upright, thanks to the time generously given by Bussell Plant Hire, of Sampford Moor.

The cannon has been painted to the specifications of the National Trust conservator: “It does look nice,” said John. “It has been coated with proper tar paint. It was a naval cannon, so it would have been below deck. It seems cruel to leave it out in all weathers.

“Thanks to all the people in Wellington who helped make the travel. The general public, local people and residents have been really, really helping us in every way they can.”

The cannon was donated by Wellington Rotary in the 1980s, as was the carriage: “We’ve restored it so that it should last another 25 years,” said John.

Now the Wellington Monument cannon sits pointing proudly – but unable to fire – towards the town.