Stowmarket fundraisers aim to raise £100,000 for desperately needed church bell repairs

The fundraisers want to repair and replace the bells in St Peter and St Mary's Church. Picture: CONT

The fundraisers want to repair and replace the bells in St Peter and St Mary's Church. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

The money raised will go towards a new metal frame desperately needed to reinforce the structure, as well as a replacement for the current treble bell, and two new, even lighter, bells to make a ring of ten and a more musical front six.

Fundraisers in Stowmarket are aiming to raise over £100,000 to bring their church bells back into working order.

Lynda Rochester and her team have set a target of £112,000 to cover a number of repairs, plus two new additions to their light bells collection at St Peter & St Mary’s Church.

Ms Rochester said: “St Peter and St Mary’s Stowmarket has a very heavy ring of eight bells set in an old, patched up wooden frame. When rung, the bells all swing in the same direction, putting great stress on the structure of the tower.

“If this is not changed, the tower will eventually become unusable.

“Some of the bells are very old - the fourth is pre-reformation, made in the fifteenth century and four others are from the seventeenth century: they will have witnessed many changes in Stowmarket and it would be tragic if ringing had to stop because the structure of the tower was endangered.”

The team are planning a number of fundraising events in the coming months, including a murder mystery dinner in March, followed by a beetle drive, a bumper plant sale, and a showing of Paddington 2 at The Regal cinema.

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Ms Rochester added she hoped that the project would not only repair the bells for current users, but encourage a whole new generation of bellringers to get involved.

She said: “We are in the process of applying for grants, but would like to encourage publicity not only to gain funds, but also to encourage people to show an interest in ringing the bells.

“We desperately need new people to come and have a go.”

The Stowmarket bells ring out every Sunday morning and on all of the great occasions of the church year. They have also previously marked the Christmas Tree festival and Remembrance Sunday procession.”

The first fundraising event, a murder mysery dinner held at St Peter’s Church Hall, will take place on March 3 at 7.30pm.

For tickets, contact Lynda Rochester on 01449 781619 or email

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