December 13 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
An ambitious project to continue an important part of Cromer’s heritage is £10,000 short.
The Cromer Bells Project to replace 140-year-old fittings around the six bells in the parish church and cast an extra two will cost £70,000.
Despite the project only starting this year the community has rallied round and organised fundraising events and made donations.
Maureen Gardiner, bellringer and steeple keeper for the town centre church, said: “Being forced to raise £70,000 was a bit of a shock. We have had tremendous support but we are looking for new ways to raise the money.”
Fundraising events have included a plant sale, a concert by King Henry’s Band, a dinner at the Constantia Cottage Restaurant in East Runton, a valuation day by Keys of Aylsham and a show by the Cley Amateur Dramatic Society Singers.
Dr Gardiner, 67, from the Boulevard, Sheringham, said: “The bells are part of Cromer’s heritage and have been rung in the town for at least 500 years. When big events happen the bells are rung. They are part of the fabric of the town.
“It is a combination of keeping an ancient art alive as an inclusive, friendly activity.
“What really drives us is it will be a loss for Cromer if the bells are lost. It would be a shame if they were silent now.”
The six current bells need retuning but the fittings are becoming worn out, which makes them harder to ring.
“In 10 years’ time we might find they slowly stop working and once they stop they are hard to restart,” Dr Gardiner added.
The work will be carried out in the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, makers of Big Ben and the Liberty Bell.
The foundry also made five of the Cromer church bells cast 140 years ago. They were paid for by Thomas Buxton, former owner of Cromer Hall, and were rededicated in 1874.
A medieval bell, weighing half a tonne, sits alongside them and dates back to the 16th century.
It is hoped the work will allow the large structures to ring for another 100 years and the two new bells, costing £7,500, have been paid for by two families.
The first has been paid for by Cromer fisherman and bellringer David Leeder and will be dedicated to his parents who, before their deaths, were heavily involved in the church.
Joan and Gilbert Larter, from Happisburgh, have paid for the second one in memory of Diss engineer Tony Baines, who worked on bells, and died earlier this year.
To get involved call Dr Gardiner on 01263 825779.