Bells Appeal Reaches Target

Nearly £44,000 has been raised towards the restoration of the six bells in St Mary’s church.  Work on the project by Whites of Appleton is expected to start next summer.

The amount raised is £43,756.  The revised estimate of the cost of the works by Whites is £36,700 so there will be a contingency fund of £7,000.  The whole restoration package includes restoration of the bells, new bell wheels, new ropes and rope guides and transportation of the bells to the company’s works.

The appeal has been headed by Julia Sargent from Little Wittenham who said: “I would like to thank the overwhelming generosity and support of villagers, organisations, friends and bell ringers.  Thanks are also due to a number of national grant-giving charities.  We look forward to bells which are a joy to hear and ring, and of course welcoming new ringers.”

The last time the bells were restored was in 1923.  Five of the six bells in the tower of St Mary’s were made by a London company in 1765.  The sixth bell, cast in 1923, is the tenor, weighing 9cwt and has a diameter of 37 inches.  The treble bell weighs 4cwt with a diameter of 27 inches.  The sanctus bell which is chimed before church services dates from 1799.

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