Long Stratton church bells return following restoration

The bells of a south Norfolk church have started ringing again following a restoration project.

The six bells in the tower of St Mary's Church in Long Stratton were removed to be repaired in January following a �34,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

But the church has begun chiming again following the maintenance work by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London to replace the clappers and install new tower fittings.

Rev Elizabeth Spry, the assistant priest at St Mary's, said the bells sounded much clearer following the restoration.

'We are very pleased to have them back and everyone has said how nice it is to have them ringing again. The bells are now much easier to pull and we hope to attract more bell ringers to the church,' she said.

The bells were reinstalled by Neil Thomas and his team of volunteers including Gilbert Larter and Tony Baines from the Norwich Diocesan Association of Ringers just in time for Easter.

All of the Long Stratton bells have a long history, some dating back to the 17th century, while two were created in 1734 by Thomas Newman. One of the bells is believed to be the oldest in Norfolk, dating back to 1320 when it was built by the Norwich Foundry and bought by dignitary Sir John Styrmin to be used at the church.

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