State-of-the-art centre to train bell ringers could open in Norwich next year thanks to more than £260,000 in funding

Steeple keeper Peter Sawyer with the bells at The Church of St Peter Mancroft.
Picture by SIMON FIN

Steeple keeper Peter Sawyer with the bells at The Church of St Peter Mancroft. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A state-of-the-art centre which will train bell ringers in Norfolk is to open next year thanks to more than £260,000 in funding.

The Mancroft Appeal 300 was launched in 2015 to mark the anniversary of when the 'first true peal' in the world was rang in Norwich.

Since then, more than £150,000 has been raised by local bell ringers to help fund the creation of the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre.

Based at the Church of St Peter Mancroft in Norwich, the centre will enable people to learn about the city's rich history of bell-ringing.

It will also serve as a state-of-the-art training centre to teach new and existing ringers in the eastern counties.

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The project has now been awarded £260,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund - enabling construction work to begin later this year.

Simon Rudd, chairman of the appeal, said: 'The ringers at St Peter Mancroft, their friends, families and ringers from a wide area have worked incredibly hard in the last two years to support and raise funds for this amazing project.

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'The fantastic support from the National Lottery both in financial terms and in advice and encouragement means that the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre will now become an exciting and unique heritage venue at the very heart of the 'Fine City' of Norwich.'

It is hoped that the centre will open in summer 2018.

Once complete, there will also be the opportunity for it to host a range of events for visiting groups.

The church boasts a peal board, which is the earliest known record of a 'full peal', successfully completed by ringers in 1715.

A full peal is when ringers successfully ring a tower's bells in every possible order without repeating any sequences.

Robert Avery, vicar of St Peter Mancroft, said: 'We are delighted that through the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre, St Peter Mancroft will be able to share its love of bell-ringing and celebrate the importance of ringing in Norwich with even more people.

'We are also much excited by the prospect of helping to train new generations of bell-ringers in the Eastern Counties and beyond.'

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