£35,000 appeal is launched to save Fakenham’s iconic school bell

The bell tower at Fakenham Junior School. Picture: Keith Osborn

The bell tower at Fakenham Junior School. Picture: Keith Osborn - Credit: Archant

For more than 190 years, the Junior School bell has called children to their lessons and summoned them back to their classrooms after lunch.

But its distinctive tower is falling into disrepair and may have to be taken down unless the money can be raised for remedial work.

Now staff, governors and friends of Fakenham Junior School are launching a Get Well Bell campaign to fix the structure.

'We'd like to do it in a year, I think it's do-able in the time frame,' said Karen Rodgers, business manager at the 297-pupil school.

'Part of what we're going to do is a heritage lottery grant linked win with the history society, so we're looking to meet people who've rung the bell and get their stories.'

The bell has traditionally been rung by one of the pupils at the school, on Queens Road, for 10 minutes between 8.40 and 8.50am, and five between 1.30 and 1.35pm.

'There have been a few breaks,' said Ms Rodgers. 'The bell has broken on a few occasions when the children have pulled the rope off.

Most Read

'But there must be so many people with stories about the bell. We've got a lot of children whose parents or their grandparents came here.'

A letter announcing the campaign to parents says: 'Our school bell has called children to school for more than 100 years.

'You may have rung it yourself if you were a pupil here. The distinctive bell tower is one of the few remaining in the UK and it's even featured on oiur school logo.

'For many people, it's one of the things that make Fakenham such a special community.'

Plans include a bell trail around Fakenham, with bells designed by children sponsored by businesses like the Go Go Dragons trail in Norwich.

There will be a themed tree at Fakenham's Christmas Tree Festival and fund raising fairs, discos and other events.

'It's going to be a challenge and we need all the help we can get,' adds the letter to parents. 'If you can give time, skills and ides, we'd love to hear from you.'

Do you have a story about ringing the bell, or can you help the fund raising campaign? E-mail office@fakenham-jun.norfolk.sch.uk.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter