Boost for Bells Appeal

More money has been raised to boost the appeal for the restoration of the church bells at St Mary’s church, including £1,000 from an anonymous donor.

The Wittenham Warriors Safari Supper in the middle of September raised £1,200 and the recent “Bingo for Bells” event in the village hall raised £287.  The anonymous donation of £1,000 came through the Just Giving website.

So far almost £30,000 has been pledged or promised towards the restoration of the six bells but the previous target of £35,000 has had to be raised: now an extra £5,000 will be needed for new wheels, guides and ropes.

The bells are being restored by Whites of Appleton, one of the country’s few remaining bells restoration companies.  Whites say the restoration work has been scheduled for December next year but if there is a cancellation on other projects an earlier slot may become available.

Leading the campaign is Julia Sargent of Little Wittenham who explained why a new target had been set:  new bell wheels should be installed instead of mending the old ones; rope guides would help the ringers with the long rope draught; and there has been a request for new bell ropes with more suitable tops for the new bell fittings.

“All this seems sensible to do in one hit whilst the bells are down rather than things going wrong in the future, though we will need to discuss these changes in detail.  The additional costs for the wheels, guides and ropes are £5062.

“We are still waiting for one grant application to be considered but hope to reach our revised target by the end of the year and it is important that we also factor in a contingency fund for this project.  The Just Giving web site will stay open until the end of November and hopefully the parish council will contribute as well.”

Mrs Sargent thanked the Wittenham Warriors and organisers of the Safari Supper for their support.  More than seventy people took part at twenty homes in the village.  Tory Edwards, one of the main organisers of the event, thanked the hosts for their contribution.

Over the years the Safari Supper has raised thousands of pounds for village organisations and continues to be one of the most popular events in the village’s social calendar.  The next supper will be in two years’ time.

You can donate to the bells appeal on the Just Giving website:

www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/long-wittenham-bells-appeal

For more information about the appeal contact Julia Sargent at julia.sargent@little-wittenham.co.uk.

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