Bells at Suffolk church to chime for the first time in 200 years

Little Cornard Church

Little Cornard Church - Credit: Archant

Around £130,000 has been raised to ensure bells at a Suffolk church can chime for the first time in 200 years.

Derelict belfry in Little Cornard church tower.

Derelict belfry in Little Cornard church tower. - Credit: Archant

The campaign to restore the bells at All Saints Church, Little Cornard, was launched three years ago and many fundraising events were organised.

On top of fundraising, the bells committee received a number of grants and donations to reach the £130,000 target for the ambitious project, and it is expected that the bells will be re-hung at the church by June.

Electrically-driven chime hammers will also be installed as part of the project, for use when bell ringers are not available, to ensure regular ringing of the new bells.

The project was set up in honour of former local mayor, clergyman and district councillor Tony Moore, who died in 2013.

A coach party of supporters for the restoration project travelled to Loughborough on February 1 to take a guided tour of the museum at the John Taylor Bell Foundry to watch the casting of the new sixth bell.

The bell has been purchased by former Sudbury mayor Lesley Ford-Platt and is dedicated to the memory of her son Michael Ford, who died in 2010 aged 30.

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The bells at the Grade I-listed church have not been rung full circle in living memory, but members of the bells committee and the Parochial Church Council (PCC) are confident the new bells will be rung on November 11 this year to commemorate the armistice of World War One.

Work began in October to repair the tower, reposition the font in a new bapistry area, and remove and remodel some of the pews.

It was then possible to take down the ancient bells in mid-November – in order for them to be transported to John Taylor’s Bell Foundry for restoration and re-tuning.

It was a historic moment given that the bells – with the oldest dating back to 1399 and the youngest from 1712 – have not been restored for many years.

It is hoped that a service of celebration will be held during the summer, with all supporters of the project and funders invited.

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