Giant bell set for Suffolk coast

AN artist has outlined his innovative vision that could see a giant bell installed off the Suffolk coast.

Marcus Vergette is hoping to create the sculpture for the shoreline at Orford, near Woodbridge.

The bell, which he created with colleague Neil Mclachlan, is unique because one strike creates a string of different notes one after another as a melody.

It would be installed at the high tide mark and the movement of the waves would cause the clapper to strike the bell - creating a series of different notes and a constantly shifting pattern of sounds.

Mr Vergette is hoping to install 12 bells in different locations around the coastline of Britain as part of his Time and Tide Bell project.

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As the effect of global warming increases the periods of bell strikes will become more and more frequent, and as the bell becomes submerged in the rising water the pitch will vary.

He met with residents of Orford on Thursday night to discuss his plans.

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“Because its a thing that’s never been tested before a lot of people came with their own preconceptions and there were a few people mildly against it,” he said. “However there were others who were more open minded and by the end there was fantastic support.

“At each site I want to encourage people to have a creative engagement.

“Through consultation and workshops the residents will be invited to create an inscription to imprint their identity onto the bell and there will also be discussions on the actual site, the frequency of the ring, volume levels and quality of the sound so the bell says what those who experience it want it to say. I want to create something the community can be proud of.”

The first of the Time and Tide bells was installed at Appledore, in Devon, with the help of visual arts organisation Appledore Arts.

Director Fiona Fraser-Smith said: “The project generated a lot of interest with a wide range of people getting involved from engineers and sailors to the local arts community.”

Mr Vergette said he chose his locations because they each brought something different.

“Each of the sites bring something particular and unique to the whole group,” he said. “I chose Orford because the coastline there is changing and it has such an interesting history in terms of its military uses and its fishing days.

“The idea is to create, celebrate, and reinforce connections between different parts of the country, between the land and the sea, between ourselves and our environment.”

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