December 12 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Hunter
Monday, November 26, 2012
A DEDICATED bell ringer whose chimes were heard for 80 years has left £120,000 in his will to ensure his legacy is felt for years top come.
Albert Driver had been bell ringing at St Mary’s Church in Redgrave, near Eye, for 80 years when he died in 2010, aged 95.
He was tower captain and followed a long family history associated with the church going to the 19th century.
Bob Hayward, 75, chair of the Redgrave Church Heritage Trust said: “He had told one or two of us quite a while before that he was thinking of doing it but the amount was a surprise.
“He was a pleasant chap who was very dedicated to his bells and that was essentially more or less his whole life. He rang bells at different churches throughout a 10 to 15 mile area, so anybody that knew anything about bells in East Anglia would have known Albert.”
Mr Driver, lived in Fenn Street, Redgrave, and before he retired worked as an arable farmer.
The 14th century church has now had planning permission for the bells approved which will add to the existing six.
The church was in a dilapidated state in 2005 but after a huge £500,000 renovation project between 2006-07, funded by the Churches Conservation Trust, the church is now a centre for the community.
“This is really another stage of the project because of Albert’s request we will be able to us the bells far more than we are at the moment,” Mr Hayward added.
“It will attract more bell ringers into the tower.”
He said he was expecting the bells to only be fitted by the end of next year because of the scarcity of people skilled in fitting the bells.
He said Mr Driver, whose father had also been a tower captain at the church, had been part of the renovation project up until his 90th year.