Campaign launched to ensure church’s bells can ring over Sudbury
PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 November 2020 | UPDATED: 09:54 12 November 2020
An ambitious campaign has been launched to raise £60,000 to ensure church bells can keep ringing.
The eight bells at St Gregory’s Church in Sudbury were last refurbished by professionals more than 100 years ago and are in need of a “thorough overhaul”.
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Tower Captain Pauline Brown, who has been bell ringing for more than 20 years, said: “In the interim, Suffolk Guild members worked on the bells, and put the seventh and the tenor on ball bearings.
“These fittings are now wearing badly, along with the fittings on the other six bells and all are becoming difficult to ring. The parishioners are always pleased to hear the bells ring for Sunday services, and so the bell ringers are keen to have the bells overhauled without causing financial problems for the parish.”
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Unfortunately, the latest national lockdown has put church services back online and stopped bell ringing for the time being, but it had been going ahead with ringers wearing masks and socially distanced by ringing every other bell.
There are about 14 ringers, ranging from school age right up to 80s.
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Mrs Brown said: “We started to ring for Sunday services - I finally had enough ringers. People stop and say how nice it is to hear the bells.
“We have a keen band of ringers and we teach lots of people, not only for Sudbury but for surrounding parishes.
“I think ringers are quite disheartened they cannot ring for services let alone practise.”
The ancient church, in Gregory Street, is where St Edmund is believed to have been crowned King of East Anglia in 855AD.
Mrs Brown said the tower has fallen ‘silent’ before - until Suffolk Guild members made repairs in the 1970s - and it is hoped this situation can be prevented from happening again.
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The bells - seven dating to 1821 and one to the 1700s - would need to be taken off site to be thoroughly refurbished and tuned, with quotes coming in at about £60,000. She said a report deemed the work “necessary”.
Mrs Brown will apply for grants, but the coronavirus crisis has hit church fundraising and she doesn’t want to put any extra pressure on the parish.
She has launched a JustGiving page to get fundraising rolling. Visit here.
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