Cromer church bells appeal launched by flower festival
A �30,000 appeal to repair Cromer's parish church bells has been launched with a flower festival.
Rusting ironwork among the bell fittings and framework in the imposing town centre tower is giving rise for concern.
Barring some new bearings fitted in 1974, the bells had not had any major work for nearly 140 years said bellringer Maureen Gardiner.
There were 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.
'We want to raise the money as soon as possible and do the project in a six week gap in ringing.
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'But if they break in the meantime and we have no money they could be silent for a couple of years,' said Mrs Gardiner.
'The bells are as important to Cromer as they are to the church. They are part of town life and have marked what has happened in Cromer over 500 years - from festivals and funerals, to weddings, carnival, Christmas lights and New Year fireworks.'
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Grant funds will be sought for the repair cash, but the appeal was kicked off with a three-day flower festival today (Thursday).
More than 30 displays on an Around the World theme have been fashioned by members of the Cromer Flower Club whose secretary Jill Breeze is also a bellringer.
'We were aware of the need for money for the bells, so I suggested a festival - which has not been held at Cromer church for years, and we began planning in January.'
After spending the winter making and sourcing the accessories - from little hand-made leprechauns to giant metal globes, they finished the flowers this week.
The displays include a French one with onions and beret, an American totem pole and cactus and a Canadian diorama of the winter Olympics.
Organisers were pleased with the opening day and had to send out for a reprint of extra programmes due to demand. The festival continues Friday and Saturday.
To help the appeal contact Mrs Gardiner on 01263 825779 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about Cromer Flower Club from Jill Breeze on 01263 579699 or Hazel Bright on 01263 513408.