‘We really want to do it justice’ - Renovation work begins on historic Fakenham bell tower after Get Well Bell campaign

Renovation work on Fakenham Junior School's bell tower has begun. Picture: AOT Engineering Ltd

Renovation work on Fakenham Junior School's bell tower has begun. Picture: AOT Engineering Ltd - Credit: Archant

The restoration of an historic school bell tower has begun in Fakenham following a campaign to raise the funds needed to secure its future.

Renovation work on Fakenham Junior School's bell tower has begun. Picture: AOT Engineering Ltd

Renovation work on Fakenham Junior School's bell tower has begun. Picture: AOT Engineering Ltd - Credit: Archant

After scaffolding went up around the tower at Fakenham Junior School it was lifted from the roof by a large crane.

It marked the start of the vital work needed to restore the bell tower, which is over 100 years old and has fallen into disrepair.

The school launched its Get Well Bell campaign to raise £35,000 for the repairs in September 2016 but a local tradesman and ex-pupil said some of the costs involved appeared to be 'astronomical' and offered to take on the work at a reduced cost.

Darren Anthony, director and co-owner of AOT Engineering Ltd, said: 'I felt sure that with the contacts that I have, together we could reduce the costs hugely and I would be able to offer the management of the project a reduced rate.'

Renovation work on Fakenham Junior School's bell tower has begun. Picture: AOT Engineering Ltd

Renovation work on Fakenham Junior School's bell tower has begun. Picture: AOT Engineering Ltd - Credit: Archant


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That came to £23,000, more than £10,000 less than the school had anticipated, and while their campaign is currently £5,000 short of this amount Mr Anthony has agreed to take on the work and cover the money until additional funds are raised.

'I contacted the school and put this to them and I was awarded the contract as principle contractor, so with asking a few local lads that I know, one of which is JRP Contruction of Fakenham, we are replacing the bell tower old for new.

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'All the companies involved are local, which is great for keeping this in Fakenham and it makes a huge difference to me.

'There will be too many people involved to list but without their help it wouldn't be possible to do the job.'

Renovation work on Fakenham Junior School's bell tower has begun. Picture: AOT Engineering Ltd

Renovation work on Fakenham Junior School's bell tower has begun. Picture: AOT Engineering Ltd - Credit: Archant

After the bell tower was removed on Wednesday it was taken to Wensum Joinery and over the next five weeks everything will be re-made except for the bell and weathervane, which will be restored from original parts.

'We really just want to do it all justice,' Mr Anthony said. 'The work is extremely extensive, the bell tower is being completely remade.

'The bell itself had been painted black but its actually solid brass so we will be stripping this back and re-polishing it to its former glory.'

The team hope they will have the bell ringing out over Fakenham again by the final week of the school summer holidays.

Renovation work on Fakenham Junior School's bell tower has begun. Picture: AOT Engineering Ltd

Renovation work on Fakenham Junior School's bell tower has begun. Picture: AOT Engineering Ltd - Credit: Archant

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