Bells at Anmer in Norfolk will ring out for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

As the country unites to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, two of the oldest church bells in Norfolk will ring once more after being painstakingly restored.

The historic bells at Anmer Church, on the Royal Estate at Sandringham, were removed late last year after one broke and a determined band of parishioners raised �12,000 to have them repaired.

The bells – cast in the 15th and 16th centuries – were returned to St Mary's Church today and a team of workmen, helped by gamekeepers from the Sandringham Estate, raised them back up the tower along with a third bell which has been donated by a neighbouring church.

Churchwarden Bill Walker said: 'I'm really pleased to see the return of our two bells and to welcome our new bell, which came out of St Andrew's Church at Bircham Tofts.

'When we started the appeal, we wondered what the response would be but it was fantastic and it didn't take long to reach our target.'

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He added: 'It is going to take a couple of days to get the bells in position and there will be a special service at the church on June 3 where the bells will be rung. We are still raising money for the maintenance of the bells and there are plans to put another one up there.'

Among those to donate to the appeal were the Queen and Prince Charles. The bells were restored by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, makers of Big Ben and the Liberty Bell.

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Bell hanger Neil Thomas, who led the operation at the church, said: 'I can't believe how quickly we've been able to get the bells back up the town.

'I don't often have a gang of gamekeepers come along to help but still to get the three bells up in half hour is pretty good going.'

The service of celebration and dedication of the resident bells will be held on June 3 at 4pm.

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