Thursday, October 11, 2012
A church bells appeal has reached a third of the way towards its target - but is asking for help to cut its costs.
Plans to repair and rehang bells at Cromer’s imposing town centre tower have seen the initial estimate rise from £30,000 to £45,000 as the job becomes more complex.
Local fund-raising is going well, including a recent £154 donation from the Anglia Co-Operative foodstore, which donated 1p for every till receipt from shoppers during a recent campaign to help the cause.
Church steeplekeeper Maureen Gardiner said £10,000 from church reserves and £5,000 from 18 months of fundraising was boosting the appeal. It was now making grant applications, which would be helped by the show of community support.
A variety of scheme options - including having to anchor the frame to the belfry floor and walls - were being explored, as were ways of trying to save money through do-it-yourself efforts, such as providing some “muscle” to help move the bells, she added.
But Mrs Gardiner said they would welcome anyone who could help provide interior belfry scaffolding, and transport of the bells, which could save £5,000 to £10,000 off the total cost.
The bells have been ringing in Cromer for more than 130 years, but their fittings have become fragile through wear and tear, making it increasingly difficult to ring them.
There are problems with iron straps on the bells and frames, a need to re-tune the six bells and make them easier to ring by young people and the less fit.
Co-operative store manager Mark Dixon said: “Our customers really got behind the campaign and handed in more than 15,000 till receipts.
“Like us they recognise that Cromer’s church bells are such an important part of the town’s heritage.”
Cromer tower captain David Wakely said: “We are very grateful for the generosity of the store and its customers. It’s another sign of how much local people value their bells and want to support the Cromer bells project.”
Other local fund raising planned includes a antiques roads road and plant sale next year.
● To help the project contact Maureen Gardiner on 01263 825779 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org