Concerts to raise money for bells

The village of Fressingfield, near Eye, is to hold its first festival later this month as part of fundraising to restore the peal of eight bells in St Peter and St Paul's parish church.

A music festival is to be held to raise money for a peal of church bells.

The village of Fressingfield, near Eye, is to hold its first festival later this month as part of fundraising to restore the peal of eight bells in St Peter and St Paul's parish church.

The oldest dates back to 1460 and was cast in Norwich, while the other seven date from up to 1850.

About £100,000 is needed to restore the bells and their timber frame.

Keith Lawson, chairman of the festival committee, said they were silenced 12 years ago after the frame became unstable.

Fundraising started in 2002 and phase one, to enable the bells to be taken out, is complete. Phase two, the timber work and bell restoration, is due this year.

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“We're getting on to half way. With various pledges that will come in it's probably about £60,000.

“People have been very generous and there has been a huge amount of hard work,” said Mr Lawson.

“There are a number of bodies that have come forward with grants. The financial support for the project has been very broad based. There is considerable enthusiasm to have the bells ringing again.”

They hoped to be launching a sponsor-a-bell scheme to give people “a sense of ownership”.

Concerts will take place in the church. The choir of Christ's College Cambridge will include works by Bach and Vivaldi on Thursday September 29, and a jazz concert with Jaqui Dankworth and James Pearson is on Friday September 30.

The ensemble Badinage will perform music by Mozart for flute and strings on Saturday October 1.

Afternoon rehearsals will be open to school children by prior arrangement.

Tickets (£8 in advance, £20 for all three) are available from Fressingfield Post Office and the Mace store, or call 01379 586269 or 586537.

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