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Restored bells from St Margaret’s church in Ipswich back in tower

PUBLISHED: 14:16 17 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:31 17 March 2018

John Girt with the refurbished bells at St Margaret's Church. Picture: GREGG BROWN

John Girt with the refurbished bells at St Margaret's Church. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The restored bells of St Margaret’s Church in Ipswich have been tested for the first time – and should be ready to ring in Easter in style.

St Margarets Bells were returned to the church at the start of the month to be rehung.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSt Margarets Bells were returned to the church at the start of the month to be rehung. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

They arrived back at the church during the snowstorm at the beginning of this month after undergoing a 10-month restoration at a specialist company in Holland.

They have now been hung in a new mechanism in the church tower and this was tested on Friday afternoon by bellringers’ captain John Girt and his team to make sure everything was in working order.

There are still a few final adjustments to be made, but it is hoped that a full peel will be rung over the next few days to fully test them before they herald in the Easter Day services on April 1.

Stan Gaskin from St Margaret’s said: “We were able to test them a bit on Friday but it was not a full peel or anything. They do need to be tweaked and tuned. One needs to have a clapper adjusted.”

But he was confident that everything would be ready well in time for the church’s busy Easter schedule.

He said: “It’s good to have them back in place. Everything is going well.”

The eight bells date from 1630 and have been a crucial part of the church’s life for nearly 400 years.

They were repaired after St Margaret’s was awarded almost £164,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to repair them and make the church itself more accessible in a major refurbishment programme.

The bellringing team at St Margaret's Church who rang the bells for the first time on Friday. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe bellringing team at St Margaret's Church who rang the bells for the first time on Friday. Picture: GREGG BROWN

As well as repairing the bells, the award will allow the church to improve its security which will enable it to be open to the public during the week as well as during church services.

It has also given the church the chance to build a new cage for the bells slightly lower down the tower and a new bellringers’ gallery so they can be seen in action from the church.

The changes should ease the stress on the 700-year-old church tower and the new gallery will enable the church’s bellringers to pass on the skill to more people – especially attract more young people into the hobby.

The repaired bells were blessed by St Margaret’s vicar Canon David Cutts during a service earlier this month and should once again become a feature of the Sunday mornings and other special celebrations in Ipswich town centre.

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