Milestone reached to allow church bells to ring for first time in 200 years
PUBLISHED: 15:55 24 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:44 24 September 2018
A major milestone has been reached in a restoration project to enable bells at a Suffolk church to chime for the first time in 200 years.
The campaign to restore the bells at All Saints Church in Little Cornard, near Sudbury, was launched three years ago and £130,000 was raised to fund the work.
A number of donations and grants were also received to reach the ambitious fundraising target.
Work on installing a new bell frame at the church will begin today before the restored bells are delivered on Friday.
A service of blessing, to be conducted by Rt Reverend Martin Seeley, will take place at 3pm on Sunday, September 30 and invitations have been sent out to those who supported the project.
During the service the bells, which have not been rung full circle in living memory, will stand on the floor near the tower so they can be seen by the congregation.
Work on the project – to restore the five ancient bells and add a new sixth bell (a treble) – will continue throughout October in readiness for ringing to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War on November 11.
The sixth bell, which was cast in February this year, 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.
She said: “We’re absolutely delighted.
“We gave ourselves an uphill task at the beginning but people worked really hard to fundraise with coffee mornings, open gardens and all the events which went on.
“So it was a lot of hard work by a very small group of people and it’s tremendous that it’s all come together.
“The irony is that the bells will arrive on Friday, my son’s birthday.”
Mrs Ford-Platt added that the bells, with the oldest dating from 1399 and the youngest from 1712, will be sounded at 9.45am on Armistice Day.
A service of dedication will also take place on Saturday, December 1, led by the Rt Reverend Mike Harrison, Bishop of Dunwich.
Supporters of the project are being invited to also attend that service to mark the completion of the project.
For more information on the project, visit www.littlecornardchurch.org.uk