November 2021
from the St Peter & St Paul magazine

Progress and plans

 

Over 40 people came to a meeting in October to hear about the progress of the campaign to date and what will happen next.

 

Choosing a supplier has been a long, complex and careful business.  Three suppliers provided detailed initial quotations for replacing the bell frame and recasting eight bells.

 

Each quotation was of course set out differently, so the suppliers were asked to revise them to a standard specification, which meant the committee could compare like with like. 

 

Two committee members drove all over the west of England listening to different bells and taking advice from tower captains.

Why go to all this trouble?  Partly because it is good practice: the renovation of the bells will be funded mainly with public money – donations from you and other residents of North Curry – and the committee owes it to you to use your money prudently.  Partly because other bodies expect us to do so.  The Charity Commission, the diocese and grant-giving trusts and foundations all want to see that we are getting good value for your money, all £150,000 of it. 

 

A careful process for selecting the supplier, that is as objective as possible and based on comparative quotations, is how we do this.  And the final reason for the process is to control the potential suppliers’ costs through competition.  Some projects have a single large benefactor who covers the cost of the whole scheme.  North Curry doesn’t have this and so we are using competition to reduce the price we will pay whilst maintaining an acceptable level of quality.

​There is an subjective element at play here as well.  It’s unavoidable.  Some people are uneasy that two of the three suppliers would have new bells cast in mainland Europe, or that bells which have hung in the church for 200 years should be recast at all.  Keeping one or more old bells in addition to a new peal of eight (perhaps as a chime for the clock) would put up the total cost sharply.  Finally: bells from each supplier would sound slightly different from the others: a bit brighter or more sonorous, say, or with more or less ‘hum’.  What is best?  It’s a matter of opinion – but we have taken note of all these views.

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Prints of this drawing of North Curry church (A3, black on white) are on sale to support the Appeal of Bells: £20.  To buy, email m@martinhorrox.co.uk

​Once the supplier has been chosen, we will place a formal order when we have raised at least 60% of the money and can take the leap of faith that we shall raise the rest.

 

And once the supplier is known, we can start to apply for grants from trusts and foundations, because we shall then have a full and clear story to tell them.  It will not be straightforward.  St Mary’s Bridgwater, for example, had to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) three times before it received a grant.  St Mary’s Taunton also applied to the HLF but received nothing.  And Covid has affected how some trusts dispense their grants – or even whether they still have money to dispense.

 

Thanks to everyone in the village (and some from outside) who have contributed money, time and events, the first £50,000 has been raised quite quickly.  Raising the final £50,000 will be harder and slower.  So please continue to support us!  Come to the events!  Run your own fundraising event!  Urge your friends, neighbours and relatives to do the same!  It’s been a fantastic start: now let’s have a fantastic finish.