August 2021
from the St Peter & St Paul magazine

Appeal of Bells – update

 

July has been a busy and encouraging month for our Appeal.

 

Following the hard work of our quilters and a very successful raffle £1000 was raised for the Appeal.  The Cabaret in the Country event was great fun, thoroughly enjoyed by all and even managed to avoid the showers! Cabaret raised, nearly £1600 for the Appeal in ticket money and a ‘bucket’ collection at the event.  Huge thanks to all the quilters, Andrew Meehan and George Jones.

Churchwarden David Akerman and I held discussions with the church architect and structural engineer on the building works necessary to instal the bells.

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Our existing steel beams are old and need inspecting for rust and deterioration whilst their housing in the tower walls also needs checking.  Once we receive their report and specification for any necessary work we can tender it to historical stonemasons so we ensure good value for money.

We have invited tenders for our bells from four reputable firms.  One of these is Matthew Higby of Radstock.  We visited Stoke St Milborough in Shropshire to hear similar bells to those he specified for us.

Mike Hansford, Diocesan Bells Advisor, and Adrian Whatmore, Tower Captain at Pitminster, accompanied us to assess the quality and sound of the bells.  The team at Stoke St Milburga church was very helpful and hospitable and a cup of tea was enjoyed on The Old Rectory lawn!!

 

A visit was also made to Nicholsons Engineering at Bridport.  Again Mike and Adrian accompanied us to view their operation.  They are a long established company with wonderful old machinery. This includes a giant lathe from the now defunct but highly respected Whitechapel Foundry: this is used to tune their bells.  A great afternoon hosted by Andrew Nicholson amongst the wonderful smell of wood, grease and iron and some very large bells!!

 

Finally, many of you have asked how much we have raised so far.  I am pleased to say, as at 30th June the amount in the Bells Appeal account was £30,000 and we have since received more pledges  A great start and huge thanks to all who have donated or contributed to an event. The Appeal target of £150,000 is a lot to raise but if we pull together as a community we can and will do it.

 

I would like to emphasise that this is a Community Appeal as the bells have been at the centre of village life for centuries.  They are part of our heritage and culture and a way of bringing us all together again whether you are church attendees or not.  To illustrate this: a hundred people (that we know of) out of our small village have made direct donations so far, and more are in the pipeline.  Many others have chipped in anonymously and have given help in kind – from gifts of jumble, cake sales to Sam and Harry Stroud who delivered our leaflets to every house in the parish.  Our thanks go to all of them.

 

Let us once again hear the wonderful sound of the bells ringing across village and moors very soon.

 

Geoffrey Dart

Chair, Appeal of Bells Committee